Following a request for public feedback on a variety of proposed changes to the current public health orders, the Manitoba government is moving forward to reopen some activities and services while ensuring protecting Manitoba’s most vulnerable citizens and the health-care system remains the top priority, Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial health officer, announced Tuesday.
“I want to thank Manitobans for providing their feedback on the proposed plan we presented last week, which outlined a roadmap for the weeks ahead,” said Pallister. “While there is much hope in the window with vaccine advancements and Manitoba’s COVID case numbers, I must remind Manitobans that we are not out of the woods yet. We will continue to take a cautious and gradual approach to restarting our activities and services to ensure we continue to protect and safeguard Manitoba lives.”
Changes in effect March 5 at 12:01 a.m. - expire on March 25:
- households can choose one of the following:
- continue designating two visitors to their home; or
- designating a second household so that two households can visit each other, as long as everyone in the house has authorized those designated individuals to visit.
- gathering limits at an outdoor public or private place to increase to 10 people including for outdoor non-organized sport or recreation activities; and
- places of worship to have increased capacity size of 25 per cent or 100 people, whichever is lower, with physical distancing measures in place and mask requirements.
Business and retail
- any types of business to be able to operate with the exception of indoor theatres, indoor concert halls, casinos and bingo halls;
- retail stores, malls and personal services to have increased capacity limits of up to 50 per cent or 250 people, whichever is lower, with other public health measures still in effect;
- restaurants and licensed premises to have increased capacity limits of up to 50 per cent, with the requirement for tables to sit with only household members, and other public health measures still in effect;
- businesses other than casinos to resume operating video lottery terminals, with physical distancing measures and barriers in place; and
- professional theatre groups, dance companies, symphonies and operas to resume rehearsals that are not accessible to members of the public.
Recreation and fitness
- day camps for children to operate at 25 per cent capacity with other public health measures in place;
- indoor recreation and sporting facilities such as gyms, fitness centres, rinks, courts, fields, ranges, studios, clubs, pools and centres to open at 25 per cent total capacity, with public health measures in place including for spectators, common areas and locker rooms. The requirement to provide one-on-one instructions has been removed;
- gym, fitness centre and pool users must continue to wear a mask while working out and in all other areas of the facility, with the exception of while in a swimming pool;
- dance, theatre and music facilities to open for a total capacity of 25 per cent;
- indoor recreational facilities such as arcades, go-kart tracks and children’s facilities to open at 25 per cent capacity with physical distancing measures in place.
“Manitoba’s COVID-19 cases continue to trend in the right direction, thanks to the dedication and hard work of Manitobans to follow the public health orders,” said Roussin. “With variants of concern identified here in Manitoba and in neighbouring jurisdictions, we must keep our guard up, and continue to follow the fundamentals that have allowed us to carefully and cautiously restart our services and activities. It is crucial that Manitobans continue to avoid the activities that are known to cause the greatest risk – close-contact setting, closed spaces, and crowded places.”
Since Feb. 25, nearly 27,000 responses were provided on the proposed changes to the orders. Feedback indicated:
• 95 per cent of Manitobans feel somewhat or very comfortable shopping at a stand-alone store;
• 81 per cent of Manitobans feel somewhat or very comfortable shopping at a mall; and
• 74 per cent of Manitobans feel somewhat or very comfortable going to restaurants.
Feedback on specific changes showed:
• households and gatherings:
- 56 per cent of Manitobans thought increasing outdoor gathering limits to 10 people was an appropriate next step; and
- 40 per cent of Manitobans thought allowing households the choice of continuing to designate two visitors to their home, or to designate a second household to visit each other was an appropriate next step.
• business, retail and restaurants: enabling any type of business to operate with the exception of indoor theatres, indoor concert halls, casino and bingo halls was ranked as the highest priority, with a 50 per cent capacity limit for restaurants and licensed premises ranked second and 50 per cent capacity for retail stores, malls and personal services ranked third.
• recreation and fitness: allowing indoor recreation and sporting facilities such as gyms, fitness centres, rinks, courts, etc. to open at 25 per cent capacity for group instruction was ranked as the highest priority, with day camps for children at 25 per cent capacity ranked second and group instructions or classes in gyms and fitness centres at 25 per cent capacity ranked third.
• mask use: 35 per cent of the public agreed allowing users of gyms, fitness centres and pools to not wear a mask while taking part in a physical activity was an appropriate next step, while 39 per cent of Manitobans felt it was too fast.
Results of public feedback gathered will be posted on the EngageMB website once completed.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19.