WINNIPEG — Manitoba is tightening restrictions amid soaring COVID-19 case numbers and increased hospital admissions during the pandemic’s third wave.
Effective at 12:01 a.m Sunday, outdoor gathering limits will be reduced to five people. Restaurants, bars and patios will also be ordered to close to in-person dining but can still provide take-out and delivery.
Other changes to the public health orders include:
• Gyms and fitness centres will close
• Casinos remain closed and VLTs will close
• Museums, galleries and libraries will close
• Indoor community, cultural and religious gatherings are prohibited
• Personal services such as estheticians, barbers, salons and tanning salons will close
• Indoor sports and recreation, including after-school activities, will close
• Outdoor sports and recreation activities will have a maximum of five participants and organized team games will not be permitted
• Dance, theatre and music schools will close
• Day camps will close
• Retail stores, markets and garden centres will be able to open at 10 percent capacity, to a maximum of 100 people, and malls will be open to a maximum of 10 percent of the facility’s capacity
• Self-help gatherings will have a maximum of 10 participants
Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, announced the changes Friday evening after Manitoba recorded 502 new cases of COVID-19 earlier in the day. That’s the second-highest number of new cases since November 23 of last year, when 546 cases were marked in a single day.
“Right now case numbers are far too high and the strain on our health system is rapidly increasing,” said Roussin. “I urge all Manitobans to do everything they can to reduce transmission of the virus – follow the orders, stay home as much as possible, reduce the number of contacts you have and wear masks when you are around others from outside your household.”
Manitoba last tweaked its public health orders on April 28, banning visitors on private property and capping outdoor gatherings to 10 people.
The number of people testing positive for the virus had risen to 9.6 percent provincially and 11.3 percent in Winnipeg.
Intensive care beds, which normally number 71, were expanded to 129 at the peak of the second wave and were approaching that number again Friday.
“The numbers that we’re seeing come in, admitted to (intensive care), especially this last week, have been high,” said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health.
“If we sustain those high admission numbers over the next days, not even weeks, we could reach that number.”
Changes to the orders will be in effect until Sunday, May 30.
Watch Friday’s media briefing:
— With files from The Canadian Press