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Manitoba Proposes Further Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions

February 25, 2021 5:30 PM | News


Dr. Brent Roussin

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, speaks during the province’s latest COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg Friday, October 30, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — Low COVID-19 case numbers and favourable test positivity rates have prompted the province to propose a further loosening of public health restrictions.

Up for consideration is allowing households the option to designate another household to visit each other.

“Manitoba’s case numbers continue to trend in the right direction which allows us to consider reopening more services cautiously and safely,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer.

Indoor religious services could operate at 25 percent capacity instead of the current 10 percent.

Indoor arcades and outdoor amusement parks could reopen with capacity limits. The few facilities that would have to remain closed include theatres, concert halls and casinos.

The cap on outdoor gatherings would rise to 10 people from five.

Also on the table is allowing those using gyms, fitness centres and pools to remove their mask while taking part in a physical activity, but requiring mask use in other areas of the facility.

The proposed changes could also mean big shifts for sports enthusiasts and players of video lottery terminals. VLTs would be allowed to operate again as long as they were two metres apart or separated by physical barriers.

Indoor gyms and fitness facilities could offer group classes again, although with a 25 percent capacity limit.

Roussin said there is a risk in such indoor settings.

“There is risk involved with all these things and we’re weighing the benefit … to having businesses open, the benefit for people (of) physical activity,” he said.

“It’s very cautious and 25 per cent capacity, I think, gives us that ability to have people spaced out quite a bit.”

Manitobans can provide their feedback on the proposed changes. A final announcement on the new set of public health restrictions will be made next week and take effect on Friday, March 5.

— With files from The Canadian Press