What this looks like and our government’s plan to slowly return to normalcy
I live in New Brunswick, Canada and we are on the track to freedom!
We have only had 118 cases of the COVID-19 virus, 0 deaths, and 11 active cases.
As of today, April 25, 2020, we have had no new cases of the COVID-19 virus in seven days.
In comparison to our sister province of Quebec, we are doing quite well. Unfortunately, Quebec currently has 23,267 active cases of the COVID-19 virus and 1,446 people have died due to the virus in the province.
New Brunswick is a poor province and it’s also a small province. Presumably, we have fewer cases than the other provinces because our residents were not traveling as much as in the affluent provinces and we have a smaller population.
Also, as soon as the other Canadian provinces began to accumulate cases of COVID-19, Premier Higgs closed our borders quickly and enforced social distancing.
He acted quickly, with purpose and it paid off.
Some outdoor activities are now restored
Yesterday, Premier Blaine Higgs, announced that New Brunswickers are being granted some leniency in regard to social distancing.
Phase one of the recovery plan begins immediately and is focusing on getting us outside and away from our couches!
Golf courses will be allowed to open while keeping their clubhouses and restaurants closed, fishing and hunting seasons will go forward and the use of outdoor spaces will be permitted.
“With proper physical distancing, people can now enjoy outdoor spaces including parks and beaches. It is understandable that New Brunswickers are getting increasingly anxious to return to some sense of normalcy”
- Premier Blaine Higgs.
This is good news for many of our residents, who love to hunt and fish, but the best announcement was yet to come.
A system of two-family household bubbles
This is what we have all been waiting for: Seeing our loved ones.
The premier announced that it would now be acceptable for two households/families to come together in a common area for visits without physically distancing!
The family you choose must give consent to the visits and the family chosen is not interchangeable. This means if you pick someone, you cannot change your mind and switch families.
Now we are going to find out who all the parent’s favorites are.
Seriously, I feel sorry for people who have two (or more) adult children and have to choose between them. That’s a tough choice.
My brother and his wife have more family members close by than my husband and I (they live in a tight-knit native reservation) so my parents decided to come to see us yesterday!
It was so wonderful to see their smiling faces again. We missed them a lot.
This was a happy announcement for many of us. It almost felt like we were being rewarded for good behavior!
Additional restrictions were lifted
Premier Higgs has made it clear that we will lose our privileges if people “go rogue” and decide to break the rules.
If there's an increase in cases or a surplus of calls to our “snitch line” (phone line to report people for not social distancing), our new privileges will be revoked.
Premier Higgs announced that other restrictions would be changed:
- Carpools will now be allowed, with a limit of two people per vehicle with the passenger riding in the back seat.
- Post-secondary students will be able to access their campus if it’s determined safe by the institution.
- Post-secondary programs that have hands-on requirements will be permitted to operate with strict controls. Educational officials say that graduates from practical programs that require manual training are in high demand and are needed in the province of New Brunswick.
- For our spiritual New Brunswickers: Outdoor or “drive-in” religious meetings will be allowed to take place.
“These are first steps, large gatherings such as festivals and concerts will not be allowed until after Dec. 31, though this is a subject that will be reviewed depending on circumstances.”
-Premier Blaine Higgs
The “new normal”
I presume that a return to our previous lifestyles will not occur until a vaccine has been developed, which will likely take 12 to 18 months.
Until then, the province is counting on physical distancing, physical barriers, handwashing, and masks to be part of the new normal.
Thankfully, our provincial borders will remain closed to outside travel until a vaccine is available for COVID-19.
According to this chart, New Brunswick is currently in the “trigger to lessen” phase.
We have a long road ahead of us but this is what the “new normal” looks like.
I am assuming the leaders of your respective areas will use a similar model when it’s time to lift restrictions in your province or state.
I hope everyone gets to enjoy the small freedoms New Brunswick is celebrating, in a timely and safe manner.
It happened here and it will happen in your region when the time is right!
Amy Cottreau is a freelance writer who hails from a small city in Atlantic Canada. She enjoys interacting with fellow writers, dreaming of ideas for her next article, and researching a myriad of topics.