Following the New Brunswick government’s release of its latest mandatory order on Friday, January 22, 2021, RCC expressed significant concern with many aspects of the order. RCC was able to secure a number of changes to the mandatory order on behalf of retailers in the province. This mandatory order will still require difficult changes to be made to retail business operations thus, RCC will continue pushing for changes. The latest version of the mandatory order is different from the original version. There are significant changes related to ‘essential’ goods, curbside pickup and active screening (of patrons, employees and visitors). Please refer to the updated information below, which includes links to the updated mandatory order.
The mandatory order implements many changes with regards to COVID-19 protocols all across New Brunswick. The most significant changes relate to the current lockdown in Zone 4 (Edmundston area) and the Red Level in Zones 1 (Moncton area).
The updated, bilingual mandatory order document can be found here.
The lockdown measures can be found at this link.
Of note for retailers who have stores in Zone 4:
Who is ‘Essential’?:
The only retail businesses that can allow customers are those whose goods for sale are predominantly food, toiletries, items necessary for personal hygiene or for cleaning or sanitizing, products necessary for household safety, medication, fuel, office and telecommunications equipment and supplies, hardware, construction supplies, vehicle parts or animal or fish feed are permitted to admit patrons in strict compliance with all guidelines of WorkSafeNB and of the Chief Medical Officer of Health but must not offer for sale and must not sell goods other than those specified in this subparagraph. (Page 21: Section 33 (b) (i))
RCC has also received the following clarification regarding essential goods:
- Cosmetics will be considered in the category of toiletries/personal hygiene and thus, are considered essential.
- Furniture is not considered essential but appliances are considered essential.
Curbside Pickup and Delivery
Any business is allowed to sell goods online or by phone for contactless delivery to purchasers. (Page 21: Section 33(b) (i) and (iii))
Curbside pickup is only allowed for essential goods. Non-essential goods are allowed for delivery but not allowed for curbside pickup (Page 21: Section 33 (b) (i)). Curbside pickup is also referenced in the Lockdown document.
RCC has received confirmation that in all zones, the customer screening can be done at the order counter (see requirements for active screening in workplaces in red and lockdown levels section below).
- For All Zones in New Brunswick: When admitting patrons to a venue at which seating is offered, restaurants are required to maintain an accurate record of the names and contact information of all persons who attend and the date and time of their attendance. Restaurants must make these records available to Public Health Inspectors. This collection of information is not necessary for take out. (Page 2: Section 2) RCC has received confirmation that in all zones, the customer screening can be done at the order counter.
- Restaurants in Red Level Zones can only offer take-out, delivery or drive through service. (Page 18: Section 32 (a))
- Restaurants can only offer take out and delivery during lockdown in Zone 4 (Edmundston area). (Page 21: Section 33 (a))
- Restaurants that are not in Red Level or Lockdown zones can offer on-premises seating but must take all reasonable steps to avoid having patrons who do not reside together, sitting or standing within 2 metres of each other. (Page 16: Section 28)
Liquor and Tobacco
- Tobacco retail, corporate and agency ANBL stores can open during the lockdown in Zone 4 (Edmundston area). (Page 22: Section 33(b) (ii))
Other retail sectors of note
- Repair shops for vehicles, bicycles, telecommunications technology are allowed to admit patrons during the lockdown in Zone 4 (Edmundston area). (Page 22: Section 33(b) (iv))
- Laundromats and dry cleaners can open during the lockdown in Zone 4 (Edmundston area). (Page 22: Section 33(b) (vi))
- Cinemas, barbers, hair stylists, esthetic service providers, tattoo parlours cannot admit patrons during the lockdown in Zone 4 (Edmundston area). (Page 24: Section 33(c))
- For all zones: barbers, estheticians, hair stylists, tattoo artists, non-regulated health professionals and other business operators whose business involves close contact with patrons must ensure active careening of patrons and effective barriers between patrons, and must not allow patron access to waiting rooms.
Travel into New Brunswick
Regular commuters entering New Brunswick from another province for work; from which they return to their homes without overnight stay in New Brunswick and restrict their activities in New Brunswick to attendance at work can continue to work without self-isolating for 14 days. However, they must test negative for COVID-19 weekly and comply with all other Public Health rules for commuters. Note: The weekly COVID-19 test can be done in any province. (Page 8: Section 10 (b) and Page 4: Section 7 (b))
Travel within the lockdown in Zone 4 (Edmundston area)
Residents of Listuguj First Nation and of Pointe-a-la-Croix, Quebec can travel to Campbellton, NB for essential goods and services. They are limited to one crossing into New Brunswick per seven days (except for education, medical, child care and custody). All travel is conditional on pre-registration under paragraph 8 and on testing negative for COVID-19 weekly. Those traveling to Restigouche County are restricted to only traveling within this county between the hours of 6am and 10pm. (Page 9-10: Section 11)
- Commercial vehicles are exempt from the order but must submit to periodic COVID-19 testing. (Page 6: Section 7(h))
- Commercial vehicles are allowed across the border but must stop, when instructed to do so by a peace officer. (Page 7: Sections 8 and 9)
- Commercial vehicles are allowed to travel into New Brunswick. (Page 8: Section 10(c))
Protection from liability
Absent gross negligence, essential service workers are not liable for damages resulting directly or indirectly from an individual being infected or exposed to COVID-19 while the worker is providing the essential service. (Page 15: Section 25)
Wearing of Masks
For all zones except zones 1 and 4, a person with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask is exempt from the mask wearing rules. For zones in the Red level or lockdown of the COVID-19 protocols, this medical exemption does not apply. WorkSafeNB has provided background information (French version available) and an FAQ document (French version available) to bolster the government’s ability to mandate such action. Note: Employers still have the duty to accommodate and consider alternatives (e.g. home delivery for a customer, modified duties for an employee). (Page 12: Section 15)
To assist, the New Brunswick government provided the following clarification via email regarding active screening requirements in Red level and Lockdown zones:
From: Easton, Andrew (JPS/JSP) <Andrew.Easton@gnb.ca>
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2021 11:35 PM
Cc: Jones, Douglas (WS-TS) <Douglas.firstname.lastname@example.org>; Crawford, Tyler (DPS/MSP – Consultant) <Tyler.Crawford@gnb.ca>; Laird, Melanie (JPS/JSP) <Melanie.Laird@gnb.ca>; Pye, Adam (JPS/JSP) <Adam.Pye@gnb.ca>; Steeves, Matt (FTB/FCT) <Matt.Steeves@gnb.ca>
Subject: RE: Order Interpretation: Active Screening – Lockdown and Red – UPDATED
By way of update, I am sending this to ensure that the Retail Council and its members have the most current interpretation of this element of the Mandatory Order. These updates result from questions from some of your members or yourselves, and a desire to ensure consistency with existing workplace responsibilities already set out in WorksafeNB operational plan requirements.
Any changes are highlighted in italics.
Requirements for active screening in workplaces in red and lockdown levels
The January 23 Mandatory Order introduced new requirements for proprietors and managers of workplaces located in the areas of the province that are in the red or lockdown alert level.
The following interpretation provides clarity around the application of these provisions. This interpretation remains in effect until modified by or terminated, pursuant to requiremens set in the Mandatory Order in effect.
For employees, contractors and any admitted visitors to the workplace, proprietors and managers are required to:
- maintain a record of employees and any admitted visitor including contractors who enter the workplace and actively screen all who enter. This record must be created daily and maintained for 28 days, (electronic scans of employees entering and leaving workplaces are sufficient records);
- ensure that all who enter the workplace are continuously wearing a face covering except while eating or drinking;
- sanitize their hands before entry, and
- that lunch rooms, break rooms and cafeterias are either closed or monitored continuously to ensure compliance with distancing, mask wearing as required and maintenance of records of names and times of those in attendance.
Where patrons may enter any place where the public is welcome, proprietors and managers are required to:
- actively screen all who enter,
- actively manage the number of patrons permitted in the facility to ensure COVID-capacity limits as outlined in the operational plan are respected
- make all reasonable efforts to ensure that patrons maintain 2m of physical distancing with others who are not in their bubble
- ensure that all who enter are continuously wearing a face covering, and maintain 2m of physical distancing with other who are not in their bubble
- ensure all who enter sanitize their hands before entry in addition to all other guidelines of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and WorkSafeNB.
For example, a retailer is required to maintain a record of names of employees coming to work including contractors, visitors, etc., but they are not required to maintain a record of patrons entering the facility.
As part of their operational plan, employers are required to take steps to reduce human interactions where possible and to take steps to consider the safety of patrons (e.g. accommodating some patrons in indoor lobby spaces where possible instead of waiting in line outside in cold weather).
Active screening means that the workplace must assign resources to ensure that necessary screening questions are asked of persons entering the facility. The questions may be asked one at a time by the screener, or the screening questionnaire can be made available to the person entering the facility, such as posting it, and the workers or patrons who are entering can read and provide their responses to the screener.
For employees, contractors and permitted visitors entering the workplace, the screener must also record the name, time and date of entry. These records are to be maintained for 28 days.
The screener must also ensure that the workers and patrons entering the facility are wearing a face covering which covers their nose and mouth and that they follow all other public health guidelines including disinfecting hands before entry and physically distancing.
For greater clarity, in certain commercial operations, it may be suitable for a single worker behind a counter to actively greet patrons, contractors and authorized visitors, and ensure all other public health requirements are met before any person may proceed beyond the initial screening point. If control measures to respect capacity limits as outlined in the operational plan are required, additional resources may be necessary to manage this.
More information on active screening can be found in WorkSafeNB’s Embracing-the-New-Normal.
Remember to visit www.gnb.ca/coronavirus regularly for the most up-to-date and accurate information on COVID-19
Provincial Security Advisor/ADM
Security and Emergencies Division
Justice and Public Safety
RCC has stated that active screening should not be mandatory for customers given the many COVID-19 protocols already being followed by retailers. RCC has noted that this rule could result in long lineups (in the cold) given the additional time it will take to do such screening. Given that only certain businesses will be allowed to open in Zone 4 (Edmundston area), the line ups could be even longer than in Zone 1. RCC was pleased that it was at least able to convince government to allow retailers the ability to accommodate some patrons (pre-screening) in indoor lobby spaces instead of making them wait in line outside during inclement weather.
RCC will continue to push for this order to be amended to eliminate active customer screening and allow curbside pickup for non-essential goods.
For more information contact Jim Cormier at email@example.com or 902-422-4144.