'It is the same two people. Period': The ground rules of Manitoba's new gathering restrictions
WINNIPEG -- With Manitoba's new round of health orders set to come into effect on Saturday morning, one of Manitoba's top doctors is laying out the ground rules that Manitobans need to follow.
The majority of Manitoba will see some code red restrictions eased when health orders expire at midnight. Among the changes to the orders is the province's new 'rule of two' that allows Manitobans to designate two people to visit inside their homes.
Dr. Jazz Atwal, the acting deputy chief public health officer, said the rule has prompted questions from Manitobans who he said appear to be looking for ways to skirt the orders.
"We have to look at the spirit of the order," Atwal said on Friday. "The principle here is two people. They are designated. It is the same two people. Period."
Atwal said for parents with babies or small children – the rule still applies. He said if a parent brings two children to visit grandparents, that is going against the orders. However, under the orders those grandparents are allowed to visit the family.
Atwal said it all comes down to how the health orders are written.
"It is easy to kind of say 'it is two' and you leave it at two," Atwal said. "It keeps it simple, which is what we want. We don't want confusion with the orders."
The province also told CTV News the rule of two applies for the entire household, regardless of the number of residents. This means households that include people renting rooms are still limited to two designated visitors for the entire house.
Manitoba's Premier Brian Pallister previously said the health order will be based on the honour system, calling on Manitobans to stay true to the order.
Atwal said the goal is to create a 'bubble concept.' He said if you are part of a household's bubble, they should be a part of your bubble, and that is it.
"We don't want a number of different households interacting. We don't want two people going to 10 different homes on a regular basis. Keep it simple," he said.
"We need to limit interactions – that is what it comes down to. That is the basic principle to prevent the spread of this virus – is (to) limit those interactions."
The new health orders come into effect Saturday morning. The changes do not apply to the Northern Health Region and Churchill, which remain under strict code red restrictions due to the high COVID-19 case count.
This is a developing story.