WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is proposing loosened COVID-19 public health restrictions, but the timing on the considered changes is up in the air.
Among the changes is increasing outdoor public gatherings to 25 people, as well as at weddings and funerals.
The move would take Manitoba out of ‘critical’ (red) to the ‘restricted’ (orange) level on the Pandemic Response System.
“While we expect to see cases increase as we continue to reopen the economy, we have to accept that COVID-19 is here to stay for many years. This means we all need to learn to live with this virus and find ways to assess our risk without having to implement long-term lockdowns,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.
“That is why it is crucial Manitobans continue to follow the fundamentals and to avoid the activities that are known to cause the greatest risk – crowded places, closed spaces and close-contact settings – to ensure the health-care system doesn’t get overwhelmed and Manitobans can access the care they need, whether for COVID-19 or other medical needs.”
Among the other changes up for consideration:
- Expanding capacity at religious services to a 25 percent or a 250-person capacity, whichever is lower
- Expanding the capacity limits for retail stores to 50 percent or a 500-person capacity, whichever is lower
- Allowing people to eat at the same table with other people in the indoor area of a restaurant, as long as everyone seated at a table has designated those individuals to visit them in their home
- Allowing organized team games at indoor sporting facilities
- Allowing youth to not wear a mask while taking part in indoor sporting activities, but requiring mask use in other areas of the facility
- Enabling indoor theatres, indoor concert halls, casinos and gaming centres to open at 25 percent or a 250-person capacity, whichever is lower, with other public health measures still in effect
- Removing the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days for interprovincial/domestic travellers who travel for business reasons and do not have symptoms
Manitobans can voice their opinion on the changes through a new survey at EngageMB.ca.
Current public health order restrictions expire at midnight on Friday, March 26. The survey asks people when the proposed changes should take effect: After Easter/Passover, should some changes be made sooner, but other changes should wait, or should all proposed changes be made now.