New Brunswick closes all non-essential government services

Essential service workers can still obtain child care services

New Brunswick closes all non-essential government services

New Brunswick has shut down all non-essential government services, effective March 17, amid the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“We are taking action to implement the recommendations we have received from the experts,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “We know that the best and safest place for our workers and their children is at home.”

The announcement was made following the recommendation of Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, who said that the government should focus its efforts on providing critical services. Russell also said that all employees should work from home wherever feasible.

Only public-sector workers who work in critical functions or areas that support critical functions will remain on the job. Depending on the nature of their job, these workers may work on site or from home, said Higgs.

Workers sent home will remain on the payroll. They are also required to remain on standby should they be needed to help in critical service areas, either because critical staff are sick or because additional staff is needed.

“We continue to ask New Brunswickers to come together and support one another,” says Higgs. “Families, neighbours and friends who are not in high-risk categories are encouraged to work together to ensure child care options are available for our essential services workers.”

The government also said that essential service workers can still obtain child care services.

“This response plan is critical to ensuring our essential service workers can continue to serve New Brunswickers in the coming days and weeks,” said Dominic Cardy, minister of education and early childhood development. “We continue to encourage everyone who is not high-risk to support their friends, families and neighbours by coming together to care for our children and youth.”

Facilities that will remain open to support essential service workers will follow Russell’s advice, including reduced group sizes and social distancing. They will also continue to follow strict health and safety directives.