New public health orders were announced Monday at noon and come into effect on April 28, as Manitoba works to control new case numbers in the third wave of COVID-19.
Variants of concern are accounting for many new cases. VOC made up half (49.9%) the daily new cases during the week April 15 to April 21, according to a Manitoba spokesperson and the number of total new cases have spiked since March.
On April 24, Manitoba had 266 new cases, compared to a low two months ago of 39 new cases on Feb. 23. Our neighbour Ontario has called the military to assist the province with medical needs as they deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Despite Manitoba’s return to deeper restrictions, never-the-less, dining and shoping contine and sporting events for kids will continue – but the cheering section will be very thin.
Premier Brian Pallister said, “Despite our best collective efforts and having some of the strictest public health orders in the country, Manitoba’s case numbers continue to rise, which threatens the ability of our health-care system to care for those in need.” He continued, “We are at a critical point in the third wave – it is a race between the variants and vaccines, and right now the variants are winning. We need a few weeks in order to allow our accelerated vaccine efforts to catch up and change the course of that race. Today, we are asking Manitobans to stay close to home, significantly limit your close contacts and get your vaccine as soon as you are eligible.”
The following additional public health order restrictions will be in effect on Wednesday, April 28 at 12:01 a.m. for a period of four weeks:
• no visitors will be allowed to private households either indoors or outdoors with certain exceptions including allowing one visitor for people who live alone;
• no indoor gatherings will be permitted and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed in public outdoor spaces only;
• faith-based gatherings will be limited to 25 per cent capacity or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is lower, with indoor mask use required at all times;
• patio dining will be restricted to groups of four people only with no household restrictions;
• food courts in malls and shopping centres will be required to close;
• gyms and fitness centres continue to be limited to 25 per cent capacity, but individuals, patrons and staff will be required to maintain physical distancing of three metres (nine feet) from others;
• spectators at outdoor sports and recreation facilities will be limited to one parent/caregiver spectator per youth participant, if physical distancing of two m (six ft.) is maintained;
• dance, theatre and music schools will continue to be limited to 25 per cent capacity, but the new orders will limit the maximum number of people on site to 10 with one parent/caregiver spectator per youth participant, if physical distancing of two m (six ft.) is maintained;
• personal service business will be able to continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity, but appointments will be required;
• day camps will be permitted to have up to 10 children indoors and outdoors; and
• retail stores must be limited to 25 per cent of the capacity of the store or up to 250 patrons, whichever is lower, and malls will be limited to 25 per cent of the facility’s capacity.
In addition to these changes, enforcement will be enhanced in key sectors including for self-isolation requirements. Stakeholder outreach will be also be increased in malls and other spaces where gatherings are taking place.
“Public health orders are a foundation for action, but we need all Manitobans to do a little bit more and take personal responsibility for following the orders, staying home as much as possible, reducing the number of contacts we have and wearing masks when we are around others from outside our household,” said Roussin. “I am also calling on business and organizational leaders to help ensure people are staying apart in their facilities, staying home if they are sick and self-isolating if they are a close contact to a case.”
Roussin noted the announcement earlier today about expanding vaccine eligibility to all adults who live or work in northern Manitoba will help reduce the risk for area residents who face increased risk of the virus spreading in their communities.
“The best vaccine is the first one available, and we encourage all Manitobans to get their vaccine as soon as they are eligible,” said Roussin. “While we continue to ramp up our vaccine efforts as more vaccines become available, it is crucial that Manitobans continue to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones by continuing to follow the public health orders and practising the fundamentals.”
Changes to the orders will be in effect until Wednesday, May 26.