WINNIPEG -- To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Manitoba health officials have recommended physical distancing and avoiding public gatherings of 10 people or more.

But this can be especially difficult for those with kids, particularly anyone who relies on family members or other caretakers to help out. 

“I think this is a really tough challenge for our essential service providers and I’m thinking particularly of single parents - people who might be relying on family for childcare,” said Dr. Marcia Anderson, medical officer of health for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

For those who are essential service providers, Anderson recommends looking to the government for information.

“If you are using family support for your childcare the best advice, if possible, would be to have mainly one person who is doing the childcare. Not rotating if that’s an option available to you,” she said, recommending that people should try not to rely on those most at risk to look after their kids.

Anderson noted that regardless of what option is used, people need to remember to practice physical distancing protocols and wash their hands as soon as they get home from work.

As for whether it’s okay to have playdates – Anderson recommends against in-person playdates. She said it will be difficult to keep kids at the safe distance. Instead, Anderson said people should set up virtual playdates for their kids.

“The best option for playdates is not to be in person,” she said. “We certainly would encourage going out, kicking the ball around, but would prefer if that’s with kids in the same household or with adults caregivers, parents,” she said.


When asked if people should wear masks when going to the grocery store or completing other necessary tasks, Anderson said despite the mixed-messaging, there’s no benefit.

“If we are doing the physical distancing, if we are washing our hands frequently, if we are frequently disinfecting commonly-touched surfaces, so maybe wiping down the grocery cart handle, wearing a mask does not provide any additional benefit,” she said.

- With files from CTV’s Rahim Ladhani and Nicole Dube