Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba tightens COVID-19 restrictions amid rising case counts, variant spread

Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba announced five new deaths due to COVID, four linked to variants
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba announced five new deaths due to COVID, four linked to variants

The Manitoba government is tightening some of the province’s COVID-19 public health orders amid growing daily case counts and a concerning rise in the spread of more-contagious variants of concern.

The latest changes to the orders, which include a ban on both indoor and outdoor visits between households, kick in Wednesday and will last at least four weeks, Manitoba’s chief public health officer said Monday.

“We are at a critical point in the third wave – it is a race between the variants and vaccines, and right now the variants are winning,” said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, in a release.

“We need a few weeks in order to allow our accelerated vaccine efforts to catch up and change the course of that race. Today, we are asking Manitobans to stay close to home, significantly limit your close contacts and get your vaccine as soon as you are eligible.”

Chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin said the ban on visits between households includes certain exceptions, including allowing for one visitor for people living alone.

Under the new orders no indoor gatherings will be allowed, and outdoor gatherings will be capped at 10 people. Faith-based gatherings will be limited to 25 per cent capacity or a maximum of 10 people, and masks will now be mandatory.

Dining on patios will be restricted to groups of four people, but the province won’t be limiting those groups to members of the same household. Food courts at malls will be forced to close and retail store capacity will be cut to 25 per cent from 33 per cent, or 250 customers, whichever is lower.

The restrictions don’t change the rules around indoor dining at restaurants, which currently allow only members of the same household to sit together.

Gyms and fitness centres aren’t required to close, but patrons and staff will be required to keep three metres apart, and capacity will remain capped at 25 per cent.

Personal services will be able to continue operating at 50 per cent, but appointments will be required, Roussin said.

The rules for spectators at outdoor sports, recreation facilities, as well as dance, theatre, and music schools are also changing. Roussin said only one parent or caregiver will be allowed as a spectator per youth participant, and only when two metres separation is possible.

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