By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Lower capacity limits and tighter public health restrictions for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Manitobans have come into force.
Health Minister Audrey Gordon has said the rules are necessary to try to curb the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and prevent more pressure on overburdened hospitals.
Private indoor gatherings with vaccinated people are limited to household members plus 10 other people.
Gatherings that include anyone who is unvaccinated are limited to one household plus five guests.
Gyms, movie theatres and restaurants — where people have already been required to be vaccinated — are limited to half capacity.
Churches that require proof of vaccination will be limited to half capacity, while those that do not require vaccination status will be limited to 25 people or 25 per cent capacity, whichever is less.
The new rules are to be in place for three weeks until Jan. 11.
Manitoba’s Opposition is calling on the province to provide financial support to businesses that will be affected by the latest restrictions as well as for additional resources to help them enforce public health orders.
“We should know by now that business supports need to go hand in hand with increased restrictions, so we can keep people safe and keep our economy moving,” Jamie Moses, economic development critic for the NDP, said Tuesday in a statement.
Nine additional cases of the variant were identified on Monday for a total of 17. Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, has said modelling from other areas shows that will quickly increase.
There were 302 new cases identified in the province today for a total of 2,316 active cases. No additional deaths were reported.
The NDP also echoed previous calls for the provincial government to call in military medical staff for hospitals where more surgeries are being postponed as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise.
The province asked for military help last week and Ottawa announced Canadian Red Cross nurses would be arriving in Manitoba.
Roussin has said it is not realistic to ask Manitobans to go without a holiday season for a second year and noted the new restrictions will allow people to gather in a safer way.