Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says tighter restrictions are coming in the fight against COVID-19. Pallister says the restrictions, which will come into effect on Friday, November 20, will further limit residential gatherings and retail operations to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

This comes as public health officials have announced 475 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, with 271 of cases in the Winnipeg health region. This brings the total lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba to 12,482. The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 14 per cent provincially for Manitoba and 13.7 per cent in Winnipeg.

"The public health orders introduced when Manitoba moved to Critical (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System were the most restrictive we had introduced since the beginning of this pandemic," says Pallister. "However, despite those orders and strong recommendation from Dr. Roussin to 'stay home' at this critical point in our fight against COVID-19, too many Manitobans are gathering or shopping for non-essential purposes and creating a greater risk to public health. We are now at a point where even tighter restrictions are needed to significantly limit social contact in order to protect one another."

The updated orders will further restrict gatherings at private residences, including a home, cottage or other vacation property, with some exceptions to allow child-care, health-care and home care services, tutoring services, construction or repairs, or to respond to emergencies. In addition, exceptions will be made for those who live on their own to have one other person visit their home.

In addition, people are prohibited from assembling in a gathering of more than five people at any indoor or outdoor public place including the common areas of a multi-unit residence, with the exception of a health-care facility or critical business that adheres to health protection measures. These measures are intended to allow for weddings, funerals and baptisms to take place with a capacity limit of five people. The province also recognizes the significant physical and mental health benefits from outdoor activities.

A retail business may open but may only sell only essential items in person, and must ensure compliance with capacity limits (25 per cent the usual capacity of the premise or 250 people, whichever is lower) and implement measures to ensure physical distancing. Retailers can continue to sell essential or non-essential items online, by telephone or by remote means for delivery or curb-side pickup.

"The current trend of COVID-19 cases and wide-spread community transmission is unsustainable and causing significant strain on our health-care system," says Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. "I can't stress enough that Manitobans need to stay home in order to protect themselves and their loved ones, and halt the spread of this deadly virus. These new restrictions will help limit social contacts and the opportunity and motivation for Manitobans to leave their homes for non-essential purposes."

The following changes will be made to the orders:

Private residences

A 'private residence' means the residence and property of a person and includes a cottage or other vacation property. A person who resides in a private residence must not permit a person who does not normally reside in that residence to enter or remain in the residence, with the following exceptions:

A person may enter a private residence of another person to:

  • provide health-care, personal care or home care services;
  • allow a parent or guardian to visit a child who does not normally reside with that child;
  • receive or provide child care;
  • provide tutoring or other educational instruction;
  • perform construction, renovations, repairs or maintenance;
  • deliver items;
  • provide real estate or moving services; or
  • respond to an emergency.

A person who lives on their own may have one other person with whom they regularly interact attend at their private residence and may attend at the private residence of that one person.

A person is permitted to briefly enter onto the exterior portion of a person's property (for example, to drop off a delivery).

Public gatherings

People are prohibited from assembling in a gathering of more than five people at any indoor or outdoor public place or in the common areas of a multi-unit residence, with the exception of a health-care facility or critical business that adheres to health protection measures. The gathering limit does not apply to health-care, social services or school facilities.

Retail

A retail business may open but may sell only essential items to members of the public who are shopping in person at the business. No later than 12:01 am, November 21, 2020, the operator of a retail business must ensure that:

  • non-essential items are removed from areas of the business to which members of the public have access,
  • members of the public are physically prevented from gaining access to non-essential items at the business, and
  • signs in the business or stickers on items in the business clearly identify non-essential items that cannot be purchased by members of the public at the business.

The operator of a retail business must:

  • limit the number of members of the public shopping at the business to 25 per cent of the usual capacity of the premises or 250 people, whichever is lower;
  • implement measures to ensure that members of the public attending the business are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from other members of the public;
  • establish a system to ensure compliance with the capacity limits, and
  • provide proof the capacity limits have not been exceeded on request from a person authorized to enforce these orders, at the time the request is made.

Retailers are not prohibited from selling essential or non-essential items online, by telephone or by remote means for delivery or pick up. These retail restrictions apply to businesses that are not addressed in Schedule A of the public health orders. For example, liquor and cannabis stores may continue to open and sell products.

Other essential items are set out by the orders and include:

  • food, beverages and food preparation products;
  • personal care products such as soap and dental care products;
  • health-related products such as prescription drugs and vitamins;
  • mobility or assistive devices;
  • baby and child-care accessories such as diapers and formula;
  • household cleaning products, safety devices, batteries and lightbulbs;
  • outdoor winter apparel such as jackets and boots;
  • personal protective equipment for the workplace;
  • pet food and supplies
  • ;postage stamps;
  • cellphones and cellphone accessories;
  • parts and supplies for all types of motor vehicles and watercraft;
  • major household appliances;
  • hunting, fishing and trapping supplies;
  • tools and hardware;
  • materials for home maintenance, repair or construction; and
  • property maintenance products such as shovels.

Non-essential items refers to any good and products not set out in the orders. This includes jewelry, flowers, perfume, consumer electronics, sporting equipment, books and toys.

Area residents are being urged by the Northwestern Health Unit not to travel outside the region and are encouraged to self-isolate for 14-days upon returning from travel.