WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government issued the following new release this morning as premier Heather Stefanson and Dr. Brent Roussin held a new conference to announce an accelerated plan to reduce COVID-19 restrictions:
With key COVID-19 indicators stabilizing or improving, Manitoba is moving forward with a plan to further reduce public health restrictions next week, Premier Heather Stefanson announced today, noting Manitoba will continue to make adjustments as needed in the coming weeks based on the guidance of public health officials, including requirements for proof of vaccination.
“I want to thank Manitobans who have made personal, professional and financial sacrifices over the past two years, and have done their part by getting vaccinated and following the fundamentals,” said Stefanson. “It is because of Manitobans’ collective efforts and dedication, compassion and willingness to protect one another that we are able to move forward once again to lift restrictions and allow Manitobans to get their lives back.”
New public health orders will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15 that will move all of Manitoba to the Yellow (Caution) level under the Pandemic Response System. Capacity limits will be eliminated in venues such as restaurants, licensed premises, entertainment venues, indoor and outdoor sporting events and casinos, as well as gatherings at private residences. Capacity limits will be removed for outdoor public gatherings but will be limited to 50 people indoors unless proof of vaccination is required. Young people ages 12 to 17 participating in indoor sports and recreation will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination or recent testing. There are no changes to retail and personal services.
As of Feb. 15, close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate. Public health continues to recommend self-isolation for people who live in a household with others who have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 but it will no longer be required.
Additionally, public health will remove self-isolation requirements for individuals entering the province. However, anyone travelling from international destinations will continue to be required to meet requirements under the federal Quarantine Act. Public health orders restricting travel to northern Manitoba remain in place.
“Based on the information and data monitored by public health, we are seeing strong signals that the Omicron wave has peaked and is now having a reduced impact here in Manitoba,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer. “As a result, it’s prudent to continue to reduce our public health restrictions. I want to remind Manitobans that this is an important time of transition and we still need to get vaccinated, wear a mask and do simple but important things like washing our hands and staying home when we are sick. We need to remain cautious about gathering sizes, even as we shift from public health rules to public health recommendations.”
Effective Feb. 15, schools will return to Yellow (Caution) under the Pandemic Response System, which requires cohorts in kindergarten to Grade 6. Masks are required indoors for staff and students but will not be required during physical education classes. Medical masks will be recommended but no longer required for school staff.
Schools will continue to send out community notification letters if public health officials have identified increased transmission or recommended remote learning for a class, cohort or entire school. The online dashboard will continue to post this information but will no longer include case numbers. Children, school staff and child-care staff will only be eligible for PCR testing if medically indicated, in line with eligibility criteria for all Manitobans.
The province plans to remove proof of vaccination requirements effective March 1. In some settings, such as personal care homes, shelters, and health-care facilities, public health officials have continued to work with facilities to notify close contacts. Effective March 8, this will no longer occur. Mask requirements and other restrictions will be lifted effective March 15.