Yesterday, Tuesday, December 8, Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin, announced an extension to the Code Red restrictions already in place throughout Manitoba from Dec. 12 until Jan. 8, 2021.
“It is crucial that Manitobans continue to limit their close contacts and only gather with members of their immediate household in order to bend our COVID curve down and protect our most vulnerable friends, families and communities,” said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. “We recognize this holiday season will be difficult and lonely for most, but the best thing we can do for our loved ones right now is to stay safe at home so that we can gather together, in-person next year.”
The existing Critical (red) level restrictions have been extended by public health order, with several modifications based on feedback from public, stakeholders and enforcement officials. Changes to the public health orders include:
- allowing thrift stores to open with some capacity limits, to allow access to second-hand clothing and other items;
- ensuring acupuncture and manual osteopathy practices are allowed to open to align with other health services;
- clarifying the operation of food banks and food hamper services;
- allowing private residences to allow legal services, landlord access, and access for home businesses;
- encouraging safe outdoor physical activity for individuals and immediate households only by providing guidance to clarify that people not from the same household need to keep two metres of distance between them and that gathering sizes must not exceed five people;
- adding school supplies as an essential item under the restrictions to retail services;
- allowing drive-in events as a temporary measure subject to compliance with the restrictions, and cars must contain members from one household only and no one may leave the car while at the event; and
- permitting the Winnipeg Jets to train in Manitoba in preparation for an eventual NHL decision on a 2021 playing season.
A seasonal change to the order will also be included to allow for the sale of holiday decorations such as garlands and ornaments, and religious items like menorahs and candles.
“Our modelling has shown the Critical level, or red, restrictions have helped us avoid even higher case numbers right now,” said Dr. Roussin. “But our numbers are still too high and now is not the time to let up. That is why we’re extending the public health orders with some adjustments to ensure Manitobans can access the goods and services they need, and have clear direction stay safe at home before and during the holiday season.”
The updated orders and the list of items deemed essential are posted on the province’s Pandemic Response System website at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/restartmb/prs/orders/index.html#current.