Province reverses decision to make masks mandatory in public buildings

The New Brunswick government is backtracking on a decision to make wearing masks mandatory to enter public buildings. 

The new rule was set to come into effect on Tuesday, but the province has scrapped the precaution just one day after the rule was announced. 

“Cabinet has reviewed the decision and it was not the intent to place an additional expectation on businesses or the public regarding wearing a face covering in a public space,” said a news release from the province on Saturday. 

The province does say people must wear masks if they are in a public space where social distancing cannot be maintained. 

Children under the age of two, children attending a licensed early education and child care facility and anyone unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons would have been exempt from the new rule.

No new cases

Public Health recorded no new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Saturday, keeping the total number of active cases in the province at 14.

All active cases are in the Campbellton region.

Four people with the virus have been hospitalized, but no patients are in ICU. 

To date 33,335 tests have been conducted and 121 people have recovered from the virus. 

The province recorded its first COVID-19 related death two days ago. 

The cluster of cases in the Campbellton region has been linked to a medical professional who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons and didn’t self-isolate for 14 days upon his return.  

Fewer restrictions

Most of New Brunswick advanced to the next step of its recovery plan Friday, which involved fewer restrictions. 

As of Friday, indoor gatherings of up to 10 people in homes are allowed across the province, except in the Campbellton area, which is under the orange phase of the province’s recovery plan.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people and religious services are also allowed.

Weddings and funerals with up to 50 attendees are permitted. Long-term care facility residents are allowed to visit two people outdoors with physical distancing. 

Low-contact sports are allowed. Swimming pools, saunas, gyms, waterparks, yoga and dance studios, rinks and indoor facilities, pool halls and bowling alleys can now reopen.

Public Health has recorded 136 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March.

Read more at CBC.ca

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