NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — New Brunswick will shut down its retail, restaurants, museums and art galleries by early next year, and the city of Hamilton will close its downtown shopping malls, as well as its many bars and clubs.
The province will also cancel the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration, and impose a one-day lockout on all schools and community centres.
The closures are among more than 100 closures announced Friday by New Brunswick officials, including those to schools, colleges and community groups.
The government says the closures are necessary to protect the health and safety of residents, the environment and the economy, and are designed to “ensure the continued health of the economy.”
The closures were made by Premier Don Iveson after wildfires burned through much of the province and killed more than 300 people.
The province is also grappling with another wildfire, which has destroyed more than 10,000 homes.
New Brunswick also announced Thursday that it will phase out coal-fired power plants by 2022, but not until 2024, in order to ensure climate change is addressed.
More than 80 percent of the country’s coal-powered plants are aging, and New Brunswick is expected to see a rise in the number of coal-related deaths and illnesses due to the fires.
Iveson also announced that his government would phase out all residential heating by 2025, in the hope of helping to reduce the province’s carbon footprint.
“It’s the right thing to do to protect our climate, our health and our families,” Ivesen said in a news conference Friday.
The premier has also announced the closure of a number of high-profile businesses and restaurants, including the popular “Bourbon Street” restaurant chain, which is located on one of New Brunswicks busiest roads.
He said the closures will be permanent, but the province is looking at other options.
“We’re going to look at what the next step is in terms of what the best way to do this,” Iveon said.
“I don’t know that it’s going to be permanent.
But it’s something we’re going, hopefully, to explore with the community.”
He said that he wants to see the closure not just in New Brunswick, but throughout the country, adding that the province will not close its casinos, but will have a “serious look” at the “quality of the dining experience” in those establishments.
Newfoundland and Labrador has announced that it is also planning to phase out its coal-burning power plants, but it has not yet announced any plans to close them.