New public health orders are being introduced this week to slow the spread of variants of concern and protect Manitobans and the health-care system against the third wave, Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, announced today.
“Despite our best collective efforts and having some of the strictest measures in the country, COVID-19 cases and particularly variants of concern are on the rise,” said Pallister. “Introducing more restrictive measures is not what many of us want to hear right now, but it’s what we need to do to protect Manitobans and our health-care system. It is our goal that by acting quickly now, we can slow the speed of the third wave avoid a return to full shutdown in many sectors throughout our province.”
The following additional public health order restrictions will be in effect:
• all households may only have two designated visitors indoors;
• outdoor gatherings on public and private property limited to a maximum of 10 people including household members;
• faith-based gatherings limited to 25 per cent capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower, with indoor masks orders in place except while household groups are seated at a service, are appropriately distanced from other groups and are not singing; and
• weddings and funerals reduced to 10 people, in addition to an officiant and photographer.
The following additional public health order restriction will be in effect on Wednesday, April 21 at 12:01 a.m.:
• Retail stores must be limited to one-third the capacity of the store or up to 333 patrons, whichever is lower and malls will be limited to 33 per cent of the facility’s capacity.
“We have been carefully monitoring our numbers and epidemiology and are seeing a concerning trend in case numbers and test positivity rates, particularly in the aftermath of spring break and the Easter and Passover holidays,” said Roussin. “The fundamentals continue to be paramount in stopping the spread of this deadly virus. Manitobans need to continue to stay home as much as possible and significantly limiting close contacts. If you do need to leave the house, ensure you are taking measures to keep yourself and others safe including frequent handwashing, staying home when sick, covering your cough and wearing a mask, even outdoors, and seek immediate testing even when you experience mild symptoms.”
Changes to the orders are in effect until Wednesday, May 12.
Additionally the province announced a new rapid testing partnership with Manitoba businesses and the critical services sector to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and community through early, asymptomatic testing. As well, Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force is expanding the eligibility criteria for the Astra-Zeneca vaccine to all people age 40 and up, rather than keeping it restricted to older Manitobans only.
“We must be cautious in our attitude towards COVID-19 and we must be proactive in our actions against COVID-19,” said Pallister. “We have more tools in our toolkit now than we did during the first and second waves. While public health orders and the fundamentals remain paramount, we continue to strengthen our proactive measures to help address rising case numbers from multiple angles including enforcement, rapid testing and accelerated and expanded vaccinations. These measures will help us slow the spread of the virus more quickly and effectively, protecting our most vulnerable populations.”
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/COVID19.