WINNIPEG — Manitoba is implementing strict new public health measures for four weeks as COVID-19 cases surge.
Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, announced Monday a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings at private households.
Outdoor gatherings are remaining capped at 10 people in public spaces, while faith-based gatherings will be limited to 25 percent capacity or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is lower, with masks required.
Other restrictions include:
• Patio dining will be restricted to groups of four people only with no household restrictions
• Food courts in malls and shopping centres will be required to close
• Gyms and fitness centres continue to be limited to 25 per cent capacity, but individuals, patrons and staff will be required to maintain physical distancing of three metres (nine feet) from others
• Spectators at outdoor sports and recreation facilities will be limited to one parent/caregiver spectator per youth participant, if physical distancing of two m (six ft.) is maintained
• Dance, theatre and music schools will continue to be limited to 25 per cent capacity, but the new orders will limit the maximum number of people on site to 10 with one parent/caregiver spectator per youth participant, if physical distancing of two m (six ft.) is maintained
• Personal service business will be able to continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity, but appointments will be required
• Day camps will be permitted to have up to 10 children indoors and outdoors
• Retail stores must be limited to 25 per cent of the capacity of the store or up to 250 patrons, whichever is lower, and malls will be limited to 25 per cent of the facility’s capacity
Manitoba last tweaked its rules a week ago, when Roussin warned it was the last chance to avoid a lockdown.
“Public health orders are a foundation for action, but we need all Manitobans to do a little bit more and take personal responsibility for following the orders, staying home as much as possible, reducing the number of contacts we have and wearing masks when we are around others from outside our household,” said Roussin.
“I am also calling on business and organizational leaders to help ensure people are staying apart in their facilities, staying home if they are sick and self-isolating if they are a close contact to a case.”
The new measures will take effect Wednesday, April 28 at 12:01 a.m. and remain in place until May 26.
COVID-19 case counts have risen dramatically recently, from double-digits earlier in the spring to a daily average of 206 over the last week.
Manitoba recorded 210 new cases of COVID-19 Monday.
The third wave of the pandemic has hit Manitoba a little later than its neighbouring provinces and just as Manitoba has managed to vaccinate one-third of adults with at least one dose.
Manitoba also expanded its COVID-19 vaccination priority program Monday to include all adults who live or work in the northern health region. Adults who live in the Seven Oaks West neighbourhood in Winnipeg can also now get a shot, as can people who work there in certain public-facing jobs, including teachers, grocery store workers and child care staff.
The province announced similar priority measures last week for three neighbourhoods in central Winnipeg, based largely on rising case counts. Elsewhere in the province, the minimum age for vaccinations remains at 30 and up for First Nations people, and 40 and up for others.
The province is looking at getting vaccination clinics into workplaces to combat signs of increasing transmission on the job.
Watch Monday’s media briefing:
— With files from The Canadian Press