HULTON, Maine – The New Brunswick government tightened border restrictions again last week, so that even family members of Canadian citizens can no longer enter the countryside through Maine border crossings.
The new restrictions, imposed on January 8th and last updated on February 27th, came when the entire province entered an “orange” phase of public health warning – the next highest level in a four-phase system – due to rising COVID-19 cases and concerns on the potential for more infectious variants of COVID-19 in the country. The move affects not only US citizens but also Canadians living in other parts of Canada who want to enter New Brunswick.
Until January, family members and people in romantic relationships can cross the border into Canada, as long as they have gone through a 1
Travel to New Brunswick will now only be allowed for work, medical reasons and to receive basic provisions for the communities of the First Nations, according to a consultative notice published by the provincial government.
“Under the new restrictions, Canadians who own property in the countryside or have family members [parents, children, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, significant other] residents of New Brunswick will no longer be allowed to enter the province, “the statement said. In addition, exceptions may be made for family travel from the United States or within Canada, but only in the case of a funeral.
The orange level warning is expected to return to yellow as early as March 7, which will potentially ease the restrictions.
More good news comes from Canada’s announcement on Friday of approval of the Johnson and Johnson single vaccine, making the total number of approved vaccines in the country four. Canada already has vaccines approved by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
The Canadian federal government has not yet said how many doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine the province will receive, but that the province plans to receive 5 percent of the total doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and more will be delivered sometime next week, Alicia Elliott, health ministry spokeswoman in New Brunswick, he said Friday.
“We will receive 10,500 vaccines against AstraZeneca sometime at the end of next week,” she said. “With the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we are looking for a new vaccine plan.”
Elliott said New Brunswick Prime Minister Blaine Higgs would update the vaccine situation next week. As of February 27, less than 3 percent of the New Brunswick population had been vaccinated.
March 21 will mark one year since the US-Canada border was closed to travel due to the pandemic. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tightened federal restrictions on border entry earlier this year with concerns about more infectious options, and US President Joe Biden also called for updated public health measures at the land border.
Although neither country has announced a specific opening date, reduced cases of vaccination campaigns could lead to a plan to resume soon on the horizon. The Wilson Center, an influential think tank in Washington, plans to present its recommendations for reopening sometime in March. On March 2, the center launched a new project to discuss policy recommendations on all aspects of North American cooperation with Canada, as well as with Mexico.