State of emergency reinstituted in New BrunswickSeptember 27, 2021
On Saturday, September 25, 2021, New Brunswick reinstituted its state of emergency in response to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. See press release and mandatory order.
Under the mandatory order, Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and cinemas are not deemed essential thus, these businesses must ensure that every person working inside their venue is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or is tested regularly (See Section 2 – Page 2 of the mandatory order). The government has yet to provide a definition of ‘tested regularly’.
Last week’s introduction of proof of vaccination for customers of ‘non-essential’ businesses remains unchanged by the mandatory order. Cinemas and QSRs must ask for proof of vaccination from cinema customers and QSR dine-in customers. QSR take-out is exempt from proof of vaccination rules.
Under the mandatory order, retail is deemed essential thus, it is exempt from the employee vaccination / frequent testing rules for employees. Retailers are encouraged though, to have their own vaccination / frequent testing policy. Retail is also exempt from the proof of vaccination requirements for customers. However, the mandatory order states that these businesses are required to take every reasonable step to require physical distancing of two metres or more between patrons (See section 5 – Page 4). Spas, salons and barber shops are exempted from the physical distancing requirements while working with clients.
Last week’s reintroduction of mask requirements applies to all in-door, public spaces.
All businesses in New Brunswick are encouraged to re-implement and tweak their COVID-19 operational plans to ensure compliance (in particular regarding physical distancing).
Businesses can access rapid testing kits through their local Chamber of Commerce.
Anyone entering New Brunswick must pre-register through the New Brunswick Travel Registration Program. Note: Commercial trucking is exempt from this registration.
QSRs in Shopping Malls
Public Health initially suggested that it should be the responsibility of the QSRs at shopping mall food courts to check customers for proof of vaccination. RCC has pushed back, noting that QSRs are not responsible for the food court seating area. RCC suggested that many QSR customers in a food court get their food ‘to go’ thus, it would be needlessly time consuming and unfair for QSR staff to ask each customer if they plan to sit and eat / whether they have proof of vaccination.
RCC has suggested that once customers choose to sit at the food court, it should be the responsibility of mall staff / security to check the seated customers for proof of vaccination. Other divisions of the government agreed with the RCC position and thus, the government has decided to not give official direction regarding who is responsible for checking proof of vaccination requirements at a food court in a shopping mall.
RCC encourages QSR members to speak with your shopping mall landlords in New Brunswick regarding this issue.
For questions or more information contact
Director, Government Relations (Atlantic)