Effective February 28, 2022, proof of vaccination will no longer be required for entry into New Brunswick businesses. This is good news for salons, restaurants, bars and cinemas that have been required to enforce proof of vaccination requirements. For these businesses, the only remaining COVID-19 restriction will involve the wearing of face masks. However, while every other business will be able to benefit from loosened restrictions, the New Brunswick government will require retailers to maintain their current physical distancing restrictions until March 14, 2022.
Effective March 14, 2022, all remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. This will include masking and physical distancing. It is only at this time that retailers will be given the same courtesy as all other businesses.
New Brunswick considers the retail sector to be essential and thus, it currently does not allow retailers to utilize proof of vaccination for customers to enter a retail store. Instead, retailers are mandated to make best efforts to enforce physical distancing among customers and employees in retail stores. This practice continues to be difficult as retail employees regularly deal with confrontational customers who refuse to follow COVID-19 restrictions.
The government’s decision to end proof of vaccination requirements will put a target on the retail sector for most of the remaining anti-COVID restrictions / anti-authority sentiment in the province. As of February 28, 2022, retail will be the only public facing business sector that still has to maintain physical distancing and thus, limit the number of customers in store. Retailers of all sizes will continue to have to absorb the costs of not being able to maximize their space. Retail employees will continue to deal with verbal abuse from customers who refuse to follow the rules regarding physical distancing. Singling out the retail sector is unfair and needs to be changed before March 14, 2022.
Public Health will continue to provide guidance on how New Brunswickers can make individual decisions that can lower their risk of contracting COVID-19. Government feels this is the correct approach as society learns to live with the virus. RCC agrees and would like retail businesses to be afforded the same decision-making ability that has been given to the rest of the business sector.
RCC has communicated its concern with senior officials in the government of New Brunswick and with the media.
Government understands RCC’s concerns but has yet to indicate any willingness to provide this fairness to the retail sector.
For more information, see press release.
For questions or more information contact
Director, Government Relations (Atlantic)