WINNIPEG — By Saturday, Manitobans living in the southern portions of the province will be able to visit with two other people outside of their household, and if they wish, purchase non-essential items in-store.
Those are just a couple of the changes finalized by the province that ease some of the COVID-19 health restrictions as case numbers slowly decline in Manitoba.
The province is increasing the household gathering limit to two designated people only, while also increasing the outdoor gathering limit to five people plus members of a household on outdoor private property.
A proposed change outlined by the province on Tuesday allowed for any two people to visit a household, but health officials have walked back that plan, saying households must designate the same two people to visit.
Other public health order changes include:
- Funerals can have up to 10 people in addition to the officiant
- All retailers can open and sell non-essential items again while maintaining 25 percent capacity and ensuring social distancing
- Barbershops and hairstylists can reopen at 25 percent capacity with adequate social distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes
- Non-regulated health services, such as pedorthists and reflexologists, can reopen with social distancing and requirements to collect information for contact tracing purposes
“Our collective progress in bending the COVID curve means we can undertake these careful, measured openings,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.
“But we must stick to the fundamentals of physical distancing, washing hands and wearing a mask in our daily lives to keep this success going.”
The changes come into effect Saturday, January 23 and include the regions of Winnipeg, Southern Health, Interlake–Eastern and Prairie Mountain Health. The northern regions of Manitoba, including Churchill, aren’t included on the list of changes given high case counts.
The Retail Council of Canada welcomed the news that some restrictions would be eased.
“We’re relieved by today’s announcement that follows over two months of very severe restrictions that have left retailers limping along using curbside delivery where possible,” council spokesman John Graham said.
While non-essential stores can reopen, some other businesses, including gyms, bars and nail salons, must remain closed. Restaurants will continue to be limited to takeout and delivery.
With the demand for intensive care unit beds still running above pre-pandemic capacity, Roussin said special care must be taken when it comes to places where people gather.
This new set of public health orders will remain in place until February 12 and then be revisited for possible further reopenings.
— With files from The Canadian Press