WINNIPEG - Manitoba's critical-level pandemic response is a little more relaxed today as a new public health order takes effect as of Friday morning at 12:01 am. Patrons can return to their favourite restaurant - instead of ordering takeout or delivery - check out a museum exhibit, or lift weights in a gym for the first time since Thursday, November 12 last year.
While the province is easing many restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, capacity maximums are cautiously in place. Personal and cosmetic services like tattoo shops, along with gyms, libraries, and museums, may reopen as long as they stay within 25 per cent of their capacity. Restaurants can also open their doors to dine-in, also as long as they stay within 25 per cent of their capacity - and only are seated with people from the same household.
Places of worship can hold services at 10 per cent capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower, while self-help groups that help people who are dealing with behavioral challenges and addictions can hold meetings at 25 per cent capacity. Weddings can now have up to ten people in attendance in addition to an officiant and a photographer.
Outdoor sports facilities can open for casual games and practices, but tournaments aren’t allowed. Indoor facilities, like rinks and gymnastics and martial arts studios, can be open at 25 per cent capacity for individual lessons only.
One rule that hasn’t changed has to do with household visitors. Homes can still have only five visitors for outdoor gatherings on personal property maximum, in addition to household members, while a home can have up to two visitors indoors, but the visitors are supposed to be designated, meaning the cohort doesn’t change for as long as the public health order is in place.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says it isn’t yet time for Manitobans to let their guards down, and that there are many reasons for the province to remain very cautious. Manitoba’s COVID-19 case numbers have continued to drop following a surge in November, while Steinbach recently reported zero active cases in the province’s third largest city.