FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has announced that all of New Brunswick will move back to Level 2 of the winter plan to manage COVID-19 on Friday, Jan. 28, at 11:59 p.m.

“As of tomorrow, we will have spent two full weeks in Level 3,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “It has not been easy, but, thanks to those who have done their part and significantly limited their contacts, we have seen new hospitalizations slow down over the past 14 days to a much more manageable level than was predicted. We still need to be vigilant as we move to Level 2 by keeping our contacts low, wearing a mask in public, keeping a safe distance from others, getting vaccinated and getting a booster dose.”

Businesses that needed to close under Level 3, including spas and salons, entertainment centres, gyms and restaurant dining rooms, will be permitted to reopen in Level 2 at 50 per cent capacity and with physical distancing. People must limit their contacts to a maximum of a Steady 10.

Guidance on formal gatherings has been changed in Level 2. There is no longer a limit on the number of people permitted, but venues are limited to 50 per cent capacity and people must remain seated and wear a mask at all times unless actively eating or drinking. Entertainment venues, such as theatres, sports venues, casinos, etc., can resume operating under Level 2 guidance.

Changes have also been introduced to sport, music and recreation activities in Level 2 to allow some activity to resume.

“We know that organized activities for children are important for their growth and development, and for their physical and mental health,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “Public Health has determined that some sports, music and other recreational activities can be done safely, as long as measures like masks or distancing are in place.”

A full list of the changes is available online.

Outbreaks in provincial jails

Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared at the four provincial correctional centres where adult male inmates are held – Madawaska (Saint-Hilaire), Dalhousie, Southeast (Shediac) and Saint John. These locations have a combined capacity of 450 beds and the current population is close to that maximum. A total of 176 adult males have tested positive.

About 100 correctional officers, about one-quarter of the staff, are currently required to self-isolate either because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone who has.

Staffing levels are strained but all basic needs are being met, including time outside.

Some inmates who are vaccinated and who have tested negative for COVID-19 have been moved into a vacant space at facilities in Miramichi. While this property also houses adult women and youths in custody, steps have been taken to ensure there is no interaction between these groups.

The Department of Justice and Public Safety has advised both the Ombud and the Child and Youth Advocate of the steps taken.

Vaccination update

New Brunswickers are encouraged to book appointments for a second dose or booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Children aged five to 11 are eligible to receive their second dose eight weeks after getting their first.

Booster doses are available to everyone 18 and older, as long as five months have passed since their second dose. Evening and weekend appointments have been added in certain areas of the province.

To date, 41.3 per cent of those eligible have received their booster dose.

Appointments can be booked online at vaccination clinics offered through the Vitalité and Horizon health networks.

Many pharmacies across the province are also offering vaccine clinics. Appointments can be made by contacting a participating pharmacy directly.

Those unable to book an appointment online, or who need assistance booking through a health authority clinic or pharmacy, may call 1-833-437-1424.


Public Health reported there are eight people in intensive care and another 133 in hospital for a total of 141 people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Eighty-three of those currently hospitalized were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19.

Of those in hospital, 111 are 60 or over, and one person is on a ventilator. Four people 19 and under are hospitalized. The seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

“We know who is at greatest risk of not only ending up in hospital but needing to be in an ICU or requiring a ventilator or, sadly, dying due to the virus,” said Higgs. “Those at greatest risk are people who are not vaccinated, partially vaccinated or have not received their booster within six months of their second dose. People who are over the age of 70 and have a pre-existing risk factor, such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, in which COVID-19 has then exacerbated their situation, are also at high risk. Those cases have accounted for 76 per cent of our deaths from COVID-19 since Dec. 1.”

There are currently 479 health-care workers who have tested positive for the virus and are isolating.

The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated and those who are over six months from their second dose. Information about the rates of cases and hospitalizations based on vaccination status, the age and origin of new cases, and additional information, is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Three people who had COVID-19 have died: a person 70-79 in Zone 1 (Moncton region), a person 90 and over in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) and a person 70-79 in Zone 4 (Edmundston region).

Learn more

The entire province is currently in the Level 3 phase of the winter plan to manage COVID-19. More information on the COVID-19 alert system, including guidance on public health measures, restrictions and the mandatory order, is available online.

Other useful links: