Retailers in Manitoba will be allowed to stay open later on Sundays and holidays.

Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced Thursday morning that his government has expedited the proclamation of new legislation, which took effect yesterday.

"Given the current public health restrictions in place to protect Manitobans, we want to provide flexibility to businesses and customers and allow more opportunity for curbside pickup and delivery options as well as longer in-person shopping hours to minimize crowds," says Fielding.

"During this critical time for retailers across the province, we believe these updated laws will help many businesses with additional revenues as we head into the holiday season."

Bill 4 - The Retail Business Hours of Operation Act (Various Acts Amended or Repealed) eliminates retail shopping hour restrictions so businesses are no longer required to close after 6 pm on Sundays and certain holidays.

It will give all businesses in Manitoba the choice to remain open later on Sundays and during statutory holidays. However, it gives municipalities the authority to pass bylaws, should they prefer to keep some restrictions in place.

Fielding notes the province expedited the passage and proclamation of this legislation over the past month, which was recommended from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Retail Council of Canada and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

In mid-November, an open letter to government on behalf of those organizations made a shared recommendation to expedite the implementation and passage of the bill.

"Given the current Critical level (red) restrictions facing all retailers across the province, it is important that we pass Bill 4 in time for the holiday season," says the organizations in the joint letter.

"It is our belief that this will help many retailers with additional revenues during this important time of year. Importantly, this change will also provide additional opportunities and or extended times for customers to shop in-store or pickup curbside orders in order to minimize how close we are when outside our residences."

"A majority of Manitoba's business owners support these changes, and we want to give all businesses in Manitoba the choice to remain open later on Sundays and statutory holidays," says Fielding.

"Manitoba was the only Western Canadian province to restrict retail business hours on Sundays and holidays and our government has been committed to modernizing our outdated and complicated shopping laws."

A reminder, Manitoba remains in level red in their pandemic response system and The Retail Business Hours of Operation Act does not override current public health orders regarding restrictions on retail shopping.

For more information: 
Tighter restrictions announced for gathering sizes and essential shopping in Manitoba