After safely implementing modest changes to public health orders to slowly reopen the economy, Manitoba’s COVID-19 curve continues to bend in the right direction, Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial health officer, announced today, noting the province is considering further loosening some restrictions, while continuing to prioritize the needs of the health- care system and protecting Manitobans from the risks of COVID-19 and new variants.
“I want to thank Manitobans for their patience and their commitment to follow to the guidelines and public health orders as we cautiously begin to restart our economy and reopen our communities,” said Pallister. “While Manitoba’s COVID cases continue to trend in the right direction, we must not lose sight of the gains we have made and the risks associated with vaccine delays and new COVID variants. We must, and will, proceed with caution to ensure we continue to protect and safeguard Manitoba lives.”
The province is considering the following changes for all of Manitoba is and asking Manitobans for their input on:
• allowing food services, including restaurants and lounges, to reopen at 25 per cent capacity with closure time of 10 p.m., limited to patron groups of household members;
• allowing personal services, including nail salons and tattoo parlours, to reopen at 25 per cent capacity with adequate physical distancing, enhanced personal protective equipment measures and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes.
• allowing gyms to reopen at 25 per cent capacity for one-on-one and individual training sessions with adequate physical distancing, with no group classes;
• allowing places of worship to reopen at a maximum of 10 per cent capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower;
• allowing libraries to reopen at a maximum of 25 per cent capacity, limited to patron groups of household members;
• allowing organized outdoor sports to resume for games or practices (no multi-team tournaments);
• clarifying that addictions support and treatment groups can operate with adequate physical distancing measures in place;
• allowing the film industry to resume work, with safety protocols in place;
• opening public washroom facilities with 25 per cent capacity and enhanced signage;
• increasing capacity for weddings to up to 10 people in addition to the officiant and photographer; and
• allowing photographers to resume operations outdoors and with studio capacity limited to patron groups of household members only.
“We’re in a stable place right now – our data is not showing evidence of a spike as a result of the reopening measures put in place Jan. 23. However, the next few weeks will be crucial to determine whether any COVID-19 variants have entered Manitoba and their impacts,” said Roussin. “Of course, the fundamentals – including physical distancing, frequent handwashing, mask wearing and staying home when sick – still apply, and are what will help us gradually reopen more activities and services when it is safe to do so.”
The proposed plan brings the entire province under the same restrictions, enabling the northern region to observe restrictions the rest of the province will continue to have in place including household visitor restrictions of up to two designated people, visits of five people plus members of a household on an outdoor private property, retail stores open at 25 per cent capacity or 250 people maximum with adequate physical distancing and non-regulated health services, hair salons and barbershops open with 25 per cent capacity and adequate physical distancing.
The province is asking for feedback from Manitobans on the proposed changes, which would come into effect next week to replace the current public health orders that expire at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 12. To provide input, visit https://engagemb.ca/.
Manitobans provided feedback that helped form the orders beginning Jan. 23, which saw the safe, modest reopening of Manitoba’s economy, as well as the basis for the proposed changes above, the premier said.
More than 73,000 responses were provided between Jan. 15 and 19 and indicated:
• 85 per cent of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed it is important the province reopen gradually, preventing a yo-yo return to restrictions in future;
• 61 per cent of respondents indicated the ability for children and young people to participate in organized sports and recreation is very important or important;
• 62 per cent of respondents are very or somewhat comfortable going to restaurants; and
• 49 per cent of respondents said that the ability to have more people attend a wedding than the current five-person limit is very important or important.
Results of the survey will be posted on the EngageMB website once completed.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19.