The Manitoba government is updating public health orders to reduce public gathering sizes and put limitations on the sale of liquor to help curb community transmission and protect the capacity of the health-care system as the omicron variant continues to circulate in Manitoba. The Province also announced today it has begun distributing rapid tests at provincial testing sites to help alleviate some of the wait times and delays in the delivery of results. Rapid tests will be distributed to specific individuals only, as determined by assessed level of risk (ie, vaccinated, under 40, no underlying health conditions, etc.)

Click here to view the Public Health Order backgrounder.

Click here to view the news release about rapid test kits.

The additional restrictions mean gatherings must not exceed 50 per cent of the usual capacity of the space, or 250 people, whichever is less. The changes will come into effect on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 12:01 a.m. and will expire on Jan. 11, 2022. The pubic gathering restrictions include:

• indoor and outdoor public gatherings;
• restaurants, licensed premises, food courts and socials;
• movie theatre and concert halls;
• performing arts venues and outdoor ticketed performing arts events;
• museums and art galleries;
• outdoor and indoor sporting and recreational facilities including dance schools and martial arts studios;
• gyms, fitness centres and yoga studios;
• indoor and outdoor ticketed sporting events;
• indoor recreational businesses;
• seasonal facilities and events;
• religious services and Indigenous cultural events; and
• bingos, casinos and businesses with VLTs.

The changes will affect capacity limits at these locations including gatherings where all attendees are fully vaccinated, have a medical reason not to receive a vaccine or people under 12 years of age.

In addition, liquor sales in restaurants and licensed premises must end at 10 p.m. daily.

“We know these changes will affect the plans of many people, but we must put them in place now to reduce the possible spread of the virus over the rest of the holiday season,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer. “Thousands of Manitobans have been vaccinated and continue follow the public health orders and we thank you for that, but these changes are necessary right now to reduce the risk of severe illness and to support our health-care system.”

The updated orders keep the Pandemic Response System at restricted (Orange) with schools at caution (Yellow). All other public health orders remain unchanged. For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit https://gov.mb.ca/covid19.