New interprovincial travel restrictions now in effect in Manitoba
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba is officially under new travel restrictions as of today.
On Tuesday, Premier Brian Pallister announced he would be amending the interprovincial travel rules as cases of the COVID-19 variant surge in Canada.
As of Friday, anyone entering Manitoba from any other part of Canada will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
"There is real reason for concern, and we are acting out of a sense of concern and out of an abundance of caution," Pallister said.
"We feel these measures are necessary now."
Anyone who is travelling for essential reasons or medical purposes, or anyone who regularly travels to and from communities near provincial borders for essential reasons will be exempt from the mandatory isolation. Professional hockey teams, as well as film casts and crews are also exempt.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said on Friday that if people don't follow the new travel restrictions, they could face fines.
"We'll continue to look at ways to ensure people are following (the restrictions) because right now, as our numbers are tracking down through most of the province, we're at risk of importation of the virus," said Roussin.
He added with the increased risk of importing the virus, the risk also increases for any of the variants. He said if Manitobans want to continue with the reopening plan it is "paramount" that people follow the new orders.
Roussin also recommends anyone returning to Manitoba get tested twice for COVID, even if they don't have symptoms. The first time should occur when they arrive in Manitoba and the second test should occur seven days later.
The premier said no cases of the COVID-19 variants have been identified in Manitoba as of yet, but B.C. and Alberta already have confirmed cases.
He said he is calling on the federal government to increase security at the country’s international borders to keep the COVID-19 variants out of the country.
“We need to step up our enforcement, first of all, of the existing orders," the premier said.
"We need to have additional restrictions in terms of those who are travelling – returning to the country – and restrictions also have to be brought into place and made real by the federal government and enforcement has to follow."
Manitoba's top doctor also commented on the new air travel restrictions announced by the Prime Minister.
"I think it's a great step,” Roussin said. “The issue with international travel and all travel, we've been messaging for quite some time is we're in a pandemic. This isn't a time for non-essential travel. We have businesses shut down, we have Manitobans severely affected by COVID. Right now we need to focus on keeping these numbers down."
- With files from CTV’s Danton Unger, Michelle Gerwing, and Devon McKendrick.