New Brunswick eases COVID-19 restrictions, but not precautions

As New Brunswick moves into the second phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan, some restrictions have eased, but precautions have not.

One condition from the government announced Friday, was that face masks will be required in public if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

"All the experts are saying now that everyone should be wearing a mask," says Dieppe resident, Peter Henry. "Especially now that we're starting to open up here in New Brunswick. It's even more responsible for everybody to wear a mask."

The N.B. government is asking people to limit close contact to those within their two-household bubble. While several activities and gatherings are now being permitted, those new permissions are only granted if physical distancing measures are maintained. However, some residents say that's been a problem all along.

"I was completely surprised, that when I was doing my grocery shopping, I was the only person in the store wearing a mask," says Henry. "That includes the other customers, the workers."

While there have been concerns about mask shortages across the Maritimes, many residents have taken it upon themselves to make their own.

Fredericton clothing company, Jeff Alpaugh Custom is now adjusting its fashion line to include masks specified to CDC guidelines. Already, some of the company's masks have gone towards helping reopen the economy.

" I just got off the phone with a guy who owns a restaurant in town, and he's like 'can I get thirty black masks for my staff, it's the only way we're going to reopen,'" says Jeff Alpaugh Custom CEO, Jeff Alpaugh. "He's going to get those masks, and he's going to reopen."

Some residents say masks should be mandatory in public at all times, not only in spaces where physical distancing can't be guaranteed. Many people are raising legitimate concerns as the province enters phase two of its COVID-19 recovery plan with relaxed restrictions – which could bring a second wave of cases if rules aren't taken seriously.

"I believe a hundred per cent in my heart it could actually start a flare-up again," says Henry. "There's a lot of things that can probably start up a flare-up, but this one for sure is something we can control."

Meanwhile, the N.B. government is developing a website – available soon – that will feature a list of suppliers providing personal protective equipment to private industries.