HOULTON, Maine – The New Brunswick government tightened border restrictions again last week, so that even family members of Canadian citizens can no longer enter the province through Maine border crossings.
The new restrictions, imposed on January 8 and updated most recently on February 27, came as the entire province entered an “orange” stage of public health alert, the next highest level in a four-stage system, due to to an increase in COVID-19 cases and concerns about the potential for more infectious variants of COVID-19 in the country. The measure affects not only US citizens, but also Canadians living in other parts of Canada who wish to enter New Brunswick.
Until January, family members and people in romantic relationships could cross the border into Canada, provided they went through a 14-day quarantine period upon entry.
Travel to New Brunswick will now be allowed only for work, medical reasons and to obtain essential supplies for First Nations communities, according to a notice issued by the provincial government.
“Under the new restrictions, Canadian residents who own property in the province or who have family members [parents, children, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, significant other] those residing in New Brunswick will no longer be allowed to enter the province, ”the notice also said. Additionally, exceptions can be made for family travel from the US or within Canada, but only in the case of attending a funeral.
The orange level alert is expected to drop back to yellow as early as March 7, prompting a possible easing of restrictions.
More good news comes from Canada’s announcement Friday of the approval of the Johnson and Johnson single-shot vaccine, bringing the total number of approved vaccines in the country to four. Canada has already approved vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
The Canadian federal government has yet to say how many doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine the province will receive, but that the province had been scheduled to receive 5 percent of the total doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and that more would be delivered sometime in the future. next week. Alysha Elliott, a spokeswoman for the New Brunswick Department of Health, said Friday.
“We will receive 10,500 vaccines from AstraZeneca sometime by the end of next week,” he said. “With the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we are looking at a new vaccine plan.”
Elliott said New Brunswick Prime Minister Blaine Higgs would update the vaccine status next week. As of February 27, less than 3 percent of New Brunswick’s population had been vaccinated.
March 21 will mark a year since the border between the United States and Canada 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 variants, and US President Joe Biden also called for updated public health measures throughout. from the land border.
While neither country has announced a specific reopening date, the reduction in cases from vaccination campaigns could lead to a reopening plan soon on the horizon. The Wilson Center, an influential think tank in Washington, DC, plans to deliver its recommendations to reopen 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 and Mexico.