WINNIPEG - It’s been said that two is company and three is a crowd. The proverb may not have been intended as a reference to provincial regulations, but it may come in handy as the provincial government starts allowing citizens to have company over today.
As the North continues to be a primary source for new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, new health orders have cautiously eased restrictions elsewhere in the province this morning - and raised a lot of questions among the public..
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Jazz Atwal says, while public health guidance can’t spell out every possible scenario, it’s important that Manitobans follow the “spirit” of the orders, and not try to find loopholes around them.
Amid confusion that followed speculation in the days leading up to the changes about what a new “rule of two” would mean, Dr. Atwal has sought to clarify one of the points in the order that was under the microscope the most. In addition to five people gathering outside on private property, it allows households to have two designated non-household members to visit their home. He says the two designated pairs should form a cohort.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Director of Public Policy Colin Fast summarized the questions this raised - and their most basic answers - quite succinctly:
Transcript of today's presser.— Colin Fast (@policyfrog) January 22, 2021
Dr. Atwal, what about 2 people today and 2 different people tomorrow?
What about 3 people?
What about 2 people upstairs, and 2 people downstairs?
What about 2 people and a dog?
The dog is okay.
What if the dog was actually a person?
Health restrictions are still reflective of a critical-level pandemic response, as the province seeks to avoid a yo-yo of case numbers and future lockdowns.