N.B. circuit breaker complicates students Thanksgiving weekends

    A 14-day circuit breaker, implemented on Oct. 8, 2021, complicated some students' plans for Thanksgiving this year. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    A 14-day circuit breaker was implemented in certain areas of New Brunswick by the provincial government on Oct. 8.

    Fourth-year St. Thomas University student Kaleigh Roberts found out about the circuit breaker announcement when she received a Facebook message from her grandmother. The message said their Thanksgiving dinner was cancelled.

    “She’s very up-to-date with the COVID protocol, so … I knew it had something to do with [it],” said Roberts.

    Roberts said she was expecting the N.B. government to announce a regulation for Thanksgiving weekend. She agrees with the government implementing travel restrictions, but not when it stops people from seeing their families.

    Fourth-year St. Thomas University student Kaleigh Roberts found out about the circuit breaker from her grandmother. (Submitted: Kaleigh Roberts)

    The areas affected by the circuit breaker were Zone 1, as far north as and including Sainte-Anne-de-Kent and Havelock; Zone 2; the Northern portion of Zone 3 from and including Deerville and Florenceville-Bristol; and all of Zone 4 (Edmundston region) including Menneval in Zone 5.

    The circuit breaker mandated that gatherings at private homes be restricted to only people from the single household bubble. N.B. residents who are fully vaccinated could see others in public areas such as businesses, events and services with proof of vaccination and government-issued ID.

    A single household bubble restriction for the entire province was implemented over the Thanksgiving weekend. The restriction started at 6 p.m. on Oct. 8 and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 11.

    “I was definitely annoyed and I think the rule was only put in place to make it look like [the government was] trying to do more than they were,” said Roberts.

    Roberts plays on the STU women’s soccer team and said they are busy every weekend so she hasn’t had the time to go home and visit family. Thanksgiving weekend was the one weekend her team had a break.

    Roberts could have gone home for the weekend because an exemption for travelling in and out of restricted areas was made for post-secondary students. But, she had three different Thanksgiving dinners to attend in Moncton with different family members, so it wouldn’t have followed the single household bubble rule.

    “The main debate was how people can still go out to clubs and stuff,” said Roberts. “I kind of felt guilty because I was like ‘I can’t go home and visit my grandmother and my mom but I can go out to [Dolan’s Pub] right now if I wanted to.”

    Fourth-year St. Thomas University student Layne Olscamp said she went home to Moncton for Thanksgiving weekend. (Submitted: Layne Olscamp)

    Another fourth-year STU student Layne Olscamp, from Moncton, said she went home for Thanksgiving weekend.

    “I was trying to figure out what the safest option was for me, if I could go home [or] if I couldn’t,” she said.

    Olscamp felt comfortable travelling back home for Thanksgiving weekend because her entire family is fully-vaccinated and she knew she’d only be spending time with them.

    Olscamp thinks it was a smart decision for the N.B. government to implement the circuit breaker but also said these rules are frustrating. She thinks the two-week circuit breaker should’ve been implemented for the whole province instead of only certain areas.