Manitoba to Begin Easing Restrictions on Businesses; Physical Distancing Measures Still in Effect: Premier

Manitoba will begin a careful, multi-phased effort next week to gradually restore services, open some businesses and increase recreational opportunities while maintaining social distancing advice, Premier Brian Pallister announced today. Click here to read the complete report.

“We applaud Manitobans for doing their part to help flatten the curve and it is thanks to everyone’s tremendous efforts that we are able to announce today a gradual, safe restoration of services and easing of restrictions on businesses, allowing many to reopen, should they so choose,” Pallister said. “We must remain diligent in maintaining physical distancing and practising good hygiene, but our gradual, leveled approach will help us safely restore our services.”

As of May 4, a variety of non-essential health-care and retail businesses will have the option to reopen under strict guidelines. All businesses and venues will be required to continue following social distancing and stringent cleaning practices to protect both employees and customers.

Size restrictions of public and private gatherings of no more than 10 people will remain in place. Everyone is expected to continue to follow social distancing rules at all times and to stay home if they are sick. Travel restrictions will remain in place such as avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Manitoba, and requirements for self-isolation for 14 days following travel will continue.

Based on the evolving global public health recommendations and modelling, Manitoba is in a position to begin a methodical, phased-in approach to reopening businesses, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.

“Our public health measures to date have helped us reduce case numbers and flatten the curve, but it is not practical to maintain these measures indefinitely,” said Roussin. “That is why we will gradually reduce these measures including balancing the need to protect vulnerable Manitobans from COVID-19 with the need to protect Manitobans from the unintended impacts of strict public health measures, which include health and social impacts.”

Phased Approach to Restoring Services
Restoring Safe Services:  Manitoba’s Pandemic Economic Recovery Roadmap consists of multiple phases. It is critical to note the timing and specifics noted in each phase are subject to change, based on the advice of public health experts and a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors.

Restoring Services (Phase One) – Beginning May 4
Critical public health measures and travel restrictions remain. Priority elective surgeries have been restarted, diagnostics screening will resume and some non-essential businesses will reopen but must limit occupancy to 50 per cent of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres, whichever is lower. Services, businesses and venues include:
•    non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures;
•    therapeutic and medical services;
•    retail businesses;
•    restaurants – patio/walk-up services;
•    hair salons;
•    museums, galleries and libraries;
•    seasonal day camps; and
•    outdoor recreation and campgrounds.

The province will continually re-evaluate and adjust plans for further easing of secondary public health measures and may reintroduce others.

Restoring Services (Phase Two) – No Earlier Than June 1
Critical public health measures and travel restrictions may remain in place. Public gathering sizes may be increased and more non-essential businesses will be considered for reopening including:
•    additional personal services, such as nail salons;
•    restaurants – dine-in services;
•    non-contact children’s sports; and
•    film production.

Future Phases
Public health measures may be eased further. Additional guidelines will be developed, public gathering sizes will be increased and some non-essential business will fully open. Others may begin to reopen, such as bars, pools and spas, movie theatres and indoor recreational facilities. Travel restrictions may be eased. Specific considerations for other businesses and sectors may be made including:
•    performing arts venues;
•    other non-essential businesses;
•    tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists and tanning studios; and
•    large gatherings/events.

Mass gatherings such as concerts, summer festivals and major sporting events will not be considered before September 2020, Roussin noted.

Child care plays an important role in restoring services, enabling parents to return to the workplace, and remains a priority. The Department of Families will continue to work with the child-care community to expand the temporary child-care services available, including a grant available to child-care providers seeking to open a new, home-based child-care service. More information on child-care services during COVID-19, including a self-serve child care website, can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/infomanitobans/childcare.html.

Businesses seeking further information should visit https://engagemb.ca/.

For current information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19.

A comprehensive list of Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found at:
https://manitoba.ca/bg/2020/04/covid19.html.