Manitoba moves forward with first step of reopening; gathering sizes increase, restaurants can reopen
With Manitoba meeting and exceeding its COVID-19 vaccination target, the province will begin its first step of reopening this weekend, increasing gatherings, reopening a number of retail businesses, personal services and restaurants, and giving fully vaccinated Manitobans more eased restrictions.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, joined by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, made the reopening announcement on Wednesday.
This first step of the plan – which is set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on June 26 – includes a general reopening, as well as eased restrictions specifically for fully vaccinated Manitobans.
The general reopening plan includes increased gathering sizes, raised capacity limits for retail services and a chance for shuttered restaurants to welcome back patrons.
Even with the reopening, the province said physical distancing and indoor mask use are still required.
- Gatherings on private property can increase to 10 people in addition to the members of the household, and will allow visitors to go inside homes for essential activities like using a washroom;
- Public outdoor gathering sizes will increase to 25 people.
RETAIL, PERSONAL SERVICES AND GYMS
- Retail businesses can open at 25 per cent capacity with a limit of 250 persons. There will be no limit on how many household members can shop together;
- Personal service businesses including hair and nail salons, estheticians, and barbers can reopen by appointment only at 50 per cent capacity;
- Indoor self-help gatherings can reopen at 25 per cent capacity with a limit of 25 people who must wear a mask at all times.
- Gyms and fitness centres can reopen for individual and group classes at 25 per cent capacity, with three metres distance between patrons;
- Dance, music and theatre classes, along with other organized recreation activities can reopen outdoors with up to 25 people, and can reopen indoors at 25 per cent capacity with a limit of five people. No tournaments will be allowed.
- Swimming and wading pools can reopen indoors and outdoors at 25 per cent capacity; and
- Summer day camps can reopen with a maximum of 20 participants in a group.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
- Restaurants and bars can reopen at 25 per cent capacity indoors; however, only household members will be allowed to sit together unless all people at the table are fully vaccinated; and
- Restaurants and bars can reopen at 50 per cent outdoors. However tables will be limited to eight people but they do not have to be from the same household.
Roussin said the province will still require restaurants and bars to operate on limited hours similar to the previous waves of the pandemic. He said no specific hours have been set yet, but it will be earlier than usual.
FAITH-BASED GATHERINGS, WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS
- Indoor faith-based and community gatherings such as powwows and sun dance ceremonies will be limited to 25 per cent capacity with a limit of 25 people who must wear masks at all times;
- Outdoor faith-based and community gatherings such as powwows and sun dance ceremonies will be limited to 50 people, as long as there is distance between households; and
- Outdoor weddings and funerals will be limited to 25 people in addition to photographers and officiants. Indoor weddings and funerals are still limited to 10 people.
THE EASED RESTRICTIONS FOR FULL VACCINATED MANITOBANS
Under the reopening plan, fully vaccinated Manitobans (meaning two weeks after receiving a second dose) can:
- Visit fully vaccinated loved ones in personal care homes or hospitals;
- Travel within Canada for essential and non-essential reasons without having to self-isolate when they return to Manitoba; and
- Eat indoors restaurants and bars with other friends and family who are fully vaccinated.
The plan will also allow fully vaccinated residents of personal care homes or congregate living facilities to take part in social or communal activities.
The province said, subject to approval from public health, large outdoor professional sports or performing arts events may allow fully vaccinated Manitobans to attend. It said the province will be working with these organizations to put proof-of-vaccination protocols in place.
MORE RESTRICTIONS TO BE EASED THIS SUMMER
Restrictions continue for museums, galleries, libraries, movie theatres and concert halls, along with casinos and VLTs.
While the province has kept casinos and movie theatres closed, Roussin said their reopening is in the works barring any dramatic shifts.
"We're going to be able to see that this summer," he said. "According to our plan as Manitobans continue to get vaccinated at the rate they are, we're going to see that."
More eased restrictions for fully vaccinated Manitobans will also be announced in July. The province said this will include increased capacity at weddings, funerals, and other gatherings.
Pallister said he will have more details about this early next week.
The province had unveiled the '4-3-2-One Great Summer' plan earlier in June, with plans to reopen if 70 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older had received their first dose and 25 per cent have received their second dose by Canada Day.
As of Wednesday, the province reported 71.6 per cent of Manitobans 12 and up had received at least one dose and 28.8 per cent have received two doses.
The next reopening target is scheduled for Terry Fox Day on August 2, if 75 per cent of eligible Manitobans receive their first dose and 50 per cent get their second dose.
The province said it will consider reopening earlier depending on the vaccination goals.
With files from CTV's Devon McKendrick and Kayla Rosen
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article contained an error saying indoor faith-based and community gatherings such as pow-wows and sun dance ceremonies will be limited to 50 people as long as each household is distanced.
It has been updated to say outdoor faith-based and community gatherings such as pow-wows and sun dance ceremonies will be limited to 50 people as long as each household is distanced.