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Happy Hour: Manitobans Can Soon Sit on a Patio with Non-Household Members

March 12, 2021 3:20 PM | News

Restaurant Patio

People sit in outdoor booths, built on top of street parking spots outside a restaurant as people walk on a road closed to car traffic in the Byward Market in Ottawa, on Sunday, July 12, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

WINNIPEG — Beginning Saturday, people who don’t live in the same household can dine together on a restaurant patio in Manitoba.

The province announced minor changes to the current public health orders on Friday, allowing groups of up to six people from different households to grab a meal or sip a beverage together on the patio of a restaurant or licensed premises.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, says the amendment had already been planned eventually, but recent warmer temperatures prompted the province to move ahead by lifting the restriction earlier.

Roussin says the decision came based on the fact the risk of COVID-19 transmission outdoors is already reduced, as well as pointing out that the current group size limit is already at 10 people while outdoors.

“I think this is a good opportunity for Manitobans — to where they’re still quite limited — this might be something that adds a little bit of extra hope but doesn’t add a lot of risk just because we’re in an outdoor environment,” Roussin said.

Indoor restaurant dining will continue to be limited to members of the same household, but providing photo identification to an establishment is no longer required. Restaurants still have to collect contact information from patrons for contact tracing purposes.

The province also removed the requirement for those attending a church service to wear a mask. Masks can now be removed while worshippers are seated with their households and distanced from other groups. Masks will still be required while singing.

The new loosened restrictions take effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and will last until March 25. A new public health order will come into effect on March 26.