Manitoba considering moving province to Code Orange
WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government is considering moving the province to Code Orange or the restricted level on the pandemic response system.
Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, made the announcement at a news conference on Thursday, with the premier emphasizing the fact that these are just considerations.
Some of the possible changes include increasing gathering limits at outdoor public places to 25 people and increasing gathering limits at weddings, funerals and other gatherings to 25 people.
The province is also considering allowing indoor theatres, indoor concert halls, casinos and gaming centres to open at 25 per cent capacity or 250 people, whichever is lower. Other public health measures would still be in effect.
Other changes being considered include:
- Expanding capacity for religious services;
- Expanding indoor restaurant dining to include a household and their designated visitors;
- Allowing organized team games at indoor sporting facilities;
- Allowing youth to not wear masks while taking part in indoor sporting activities; and
- Removing the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days for interprovincial domestic travellers who travel for business reasons and have no symptoms.
Roussin said these potential changes were made possible because hospitalization and ICU admissions numbers are heading in the right direction.
“In addition to that, spring and summer are approaching and we continue to ramp up our vaccine efforts,” he said.
“We’re continuing to vaccinate more and more of our most vulnerable Manitobans as vaccines become available.”
The province has launched an online survey for Manitobans to share feedback on what the next steps should be in the province’s gradual reopening.
“People are going to be asked their thoughts on the timing, such as if these changes should happen sooner or wait until after the Easter and Passover holidays,” Roussin said.
Roussin added that he’s not providing a timeline on the possible introduction of these changes right now because the province is waiting for public feedback.
Roussin said many Manitobans are asking about what is going to happen about gathering limits at private residences.
He said during Manitoba’s second wave, gatherings were a large source of transmission, so right now the province is not considering increasing these size limits.
“We know Easter and Passover are coming up soon and that people want to get together with their loved ones,” Roussin said.
“We have to remember what happened at Thanksgiving last fall. We saw a dramatic shift of the cases soon after what appeared to be a lot of gathering taking place.”