WINNIPEG — Manitoba is moving forward with a new round of loosened COVID-19 public health restrictions.
Effective Friday, March 5 at 12:01 a.m., households will have the option to designate a second household to visit each other. They may also continue to designate only two visitors to their home.
Retail stores, malls, and personal services can move up to 50 percent or 250 people, whichever is lower, with other public health measures still in effect. Restaurants can also increase to 50 percent capacity for dine-in service with members of the same household.
“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 Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.
“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.”
Gathering limits at an outdoor public or private place will be increasing to 10 people including for outdoor non-organized sport or recreation activities.
Places of worship will be allowed to increase capacity at 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is lower, with physical distancing measures in place and mask requirements.
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.
The new orders will last until March 25, at which time further restrictions could be eased again.
The Opposition said the government should expand the two-households rule to restaurants.
“I wonder why a grandparent couldn’t sit with their grandkids at a restaurant, if, in fact, they are part of that same (two-) household bubble,” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.
Health officials reported two additional COVID-19 deaths and 64 new cases Tuesday. However, eight cases from unspecified dates were removed due to data corrections for a net increase of 56.
The percentage of people testing positive, which peaked near 13 per cent in the fall, was down to four per cent.
Roussin said COVID-19 variants remain a concern. One new case involving a variant first seen in the United Kingdom was reported Tuesday, as were two cases involving a variant that first surfaced in South Africa.
View the complete list of changes below:
— With files from The Canadian Press