WINNIPEG -- Although most Manitobans are worried about rising COVID-19 case numbers, many aren’t planning on strictly staying home for the holidays, according to new online poll results released Monday.

The study by the Angus Reid Institute, along with Cardus, suggests 20 per cent of Manitobans are still planning on visiting friends and family locally over the holidays. The results from the non-profit public opinion research foundation also suggests five per cent of Manitobans plan on visiting friends and family in another community or outside the province. 

Around one in five Manitobans aren’t concerned about their friends, family and community members getting sick from COVID-19, the poll shows. Canada-wide results suggest a higher proportion of Conservative-leaning Canadians and younger people share these views. 

News of the poll, which was conducted from November 24 to 30, comes after Manitoba’s deadliest weekend yet that saw a total of 33 reported deaths on Saturday and Sunday. 

Currently, the province’s public-health orders say Manitobans shouldn’t be socializing with people outside of their household, with some exceptions. They should also only be leaving home to access essential services and for work.

At a news conference last Thursday, Premier Brian Pallister called on Manitobans to plan for small holiday celebrations.

“I’m the guy who’s stealing Christmas to keep you safe because you need to do this now,” he said.

Keeping celebrations small is also a sentiment echoed by the leaders of the Manitoba Liberal Party and Manitoba NDP. 

“I completely understand wanting to see people, and some of it is people think, ‘Well, if it’s just for a little while, it can’t hurt,’” said Dougald Lamont, leader of the Liberal Party of Manitoba. “But the thing is that you can catch it just by sitting next to somebody for too long.”

“People really have got to take this seriously. People keep looking for loopholes or reasons why the rules don’t apply to them.”

Lamont said he thinks there hasn’t been enough consistent messaging on the danger of COVID-19.

Wab Kinew, leader of Manitoba’s NDP said Pallister has been “belligerent” in some cases and resorted to name calling in others.

“I don’t think we should be surprised that that approach is not working to get people on side,” said Kinew in a phone interview.

Kinew said Manitoba should consider issuing more public service announcements and reaching out to influencers and people from a range of backgrounds, including from the realms of music, pop culture, sports, and others to reach young people especially.

Misinformation from the United States has also muddied the messaging, said Lamont.

“It was an election year in the U.S., so whether you wore a mask or not, and whether you believed in COVID or not, or whether you thought it was real or serious or not, became a political issue instead of a public health issue,” said Lamont.

“If we look at that number in a different way, it does mean that 80 per cent of Manitobans are planning to abide by the public health orders,” said Wab Kinew, leader of the NDP. “I think most Manitobans are taking this very, very seriously, and I think we just got to keep working hard to share the message because I think it’s still not reaching everyone that it should.”