Last week, I had the privilege of seeing the Bombers win their first game of the season at their first game in 19 months – in person. It was the largest public event Manitoba has seen since the outset of the pandemic, and it was great. Great, albeit strange. Fans having to show proof of vaccination. Moving around without masks. LOTS of people rubbing shoulders and even some hugs and handshakes. But the sound of the cheers and roars filling a large public stadium was truly energizing.
– Chuck Davidson, President & CEO

As we move through our next phase re-opening and towards a post-pandemic Manitoba, here are a few updates about the current public health orders and some key take-aways that may have been lost in the excitement of the eased restrictions:

The province of Manitoba is now in CAUTIOUS on the pandemic response system (YELLOW), which means community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring, but case counts have dropped and vaccination rates are increasing. The current orders are in effect until September 7, at which time they will be re-assessed. If you haven’t had a chance to view the orders yet, click here.

Fully vaccinated (two doses) household members or close contacts of a COVID-19 case are not required to self-isolate.

Individuals identified as having COVID-19 must immediately enter mandatory isolation/self-isolation (quarantine) until public health officials advise they can end isolation/self-isolation (quarantine). Household members or close contacts of a person or persons with COVID-19 must immediately go into mandatory self-isolation (quarantine) for 14 days from the last date of exposure and call Health Links–Info Santé if they develop symptoms if they are not fully vaccinated (two doses).

Travel north of the 53rd parallel is still not permitted – click here to view the actual orders in place since October 2020, BUT MANY exemptions apply, including anyone who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and minors under the age of 12 who are travelling with a fully vaccinated person, Manitobans who live in that region who are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19, among others. Travel is permitted to a cottage, cabin, provincial park, campground or hunting or fishing lodge, for the purpose of visiting seriously ill persons, funerals and providing care to seriously ill persons, if individuals are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.  In summary, while restrictions continue to be in place, at this time, they mostly relate to those visiting Northern Manitoba communities while not fully vaccinated. Public health officials strongly recommend that COVID-19 testing occur before travel to First Nations and Indigenous and Northern Relations communities, and before someone returns to a community if a resident has been away for more than 48 hours. Testing is recommended for individuals who have not received any or an incomplete series of vaccine.

Fully vaccinated (two doses) individuals can travel within Canada without being required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival back in the province. 14 days of self-isolation is still required for people returning or coming to Manitoba from all jurisdictions if they have received one or no vaccine doses.

Mask mandates were eliminated from Manitoba’s public health orders as of this past Saturday, Aug. 7, but for many of us, masks will be a part of daily life for the foreseeable future. In spite of the lifted mask orders, according to Manitoba Public Health: Masks are strongly recommended in indoor public settings for everyone who is not fully immunized including children under 12. Fully immunized people may continue to wear masks depending on their own personal risk assessment. Public health officials recommend wearing a mask in indoor public gatherings. This is especially important for the unvaccinated and during higher-risk activities, such as singing or when distancing is not likely to be maintained.

If you’re a restaurant operator, retailer, or business leader, it’s your choice whether or not to set a mask mandate for your establishment, and if you do, determine if that mandate applies to your employees (all the time or only when working in public or common spaces), customers, or both. In customer-facing establishments, yes, there is going to be debate, possibly even anger and negative comments about whatever decision you make, as well as consumers who choose not to support you. But there will also be many customers who do.

Today, our team sent out a COVID-19 recovery survey to all MB Pulse subscribers, with questions related to masks, in-person events, relief funds, vaccine policies, etc. The survey takes just 3 minutes to complete, and these insights will help MCC support you. If you haven’t yet registered to join the MB Pulse community, we urge you to do so now by clicking here and completing our COVID survey.

Last week, the province of Manitoba released its return to school plan, which includes full in-person learning, cohorts for K to 6 only, and optional masking. School divisions will still assess risks and implement their own policies. To view the province’s guidance, click here.

As of today, Canada is beginning to accept cross-border travellers from the US, but not yet the other way around. For details about federal COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements, click here.

MCC has moved into Week 2 of the TRIP (Tourism Rebate Incentive Program), a special promo designed to boost local tourism while getting us out and about on staycations and overnighters to enjoy our province’s great natural beauty and attractions. A huge thanks to all participating hotels and STAR attractions for stepping up to welcome an influx of Manitoba visitors, and thank you to all Manitobans who are taking part in this great campaign. To learn more, www.tripmb.ca

Remember: MCC is here for business, and we’re working hard to get us all through to the other side. Contact our team any time if you need guidance or if you have questions about our advocacy.