The new reality of life in the Orange Level is beginning to take shape for residents in the greater Saint John region. The region was elevated to the Orange Level at midnight Friday after a significant jump in cases with 300-people self-isolating including a number of healthcare workers. Seven cases including one at the Shannex Parkland complex in Millidgeville while yesterday 16 of the 23 new cases reported were in the Saint John region. Three of the new cases were reported in the Shannex complex.

Premier Higgs has warned the Saint John region is in a precarious position and could move into the Red Level if numbers continue to increase. Meantime – enforcement of the new level of restrictions including the wearing of masks in all public areas is being stepped up.

Public Safety officers and City Police were on patrol especially in the city centre near the restaurant and bar cluster checking for large gatherings and people not wearing masks. There are reports officers were also checking a number of retail outlets yesterdays with some tickets being handed out. Fines range between $292 and $10,000. Premier Higgs says he won’t hesitate to close businesses not following guidelines. Information on restrictions for the Orange Level can be found here.

As the numbers climb – a number of pubs and restaurants have either closed temporarily or have closed indoor dining and are offering takeout on a limited basis. UNBSJ has posted an advisory indicating some on campus may have been exposed and are self-isolating. There are also reports of exposure in three schools in the region.

Panic buying was also in full swing at box stores and supermarkets with toilet paper and paper towels in short supply – limited quantities – or non-existent.

As of yesterday – there were 71 active cases of COVID in the province with one person in hospital. There have been 424 cases of COVID since the pandemic began in March with 347 recovered – and 6 deaths. Information on symptoms and self-assessment can be found here.