Following earlier moves by Quebec and Ontario since late December, New Brunswick has become the latest province to ban indoor dining amid the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Starting January 14, dining rooms across New Brunswick will be closed as just one of numerous new restrictions introduced.
The provincial government announced on January 13 that all of New Brunswick is moving to Level 3 of the COVID-19 winter plan for an initial period of 16 days until January 30.
Restaurants may provide drive-thru, takeout, and delivery service only.
Premier Blaine Higgs said that these measures were “not a step anyone wanted to take” but stressed now is the time for action to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and mitigate the impact on the province’s healthcare system.
“Think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain,” Higgs said. “We need our businesses open and for business owners to be able to make a living.”
New Brunswick had only moved back into Level 2 of its Winter Action plan on December 28. That had resulted in capacity restrictions of 50 per cent in restaurants and retail facilities.
In light of the move to Level 3, the most restrictive level of the province’s plan, Opportunities NB is launching a third phase of the New Brunswick Small Business Recovery Grant program and extending it until the end of February. Eligible businesses can receive a one-time payment of up to $10,000. Applications can be made online between January 24 and February 28.