Travel restrictions returning to northern Manitoba
The coast near Churchill, Man. is shown in this file photo by Rob Timchuk.
WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government is reintroducing travel restrictions to northern Manitoba and remote communities due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer, made the announcement Monday afternoon. The new restrictions take effect on Thursday, Sept. 3.
"With the increasing number of cases in southern Manitoba, we are going to be re-implementing the travel restrictions to northern Manitoba and remote communities," he said.
The restrictions were previously in place in April, preventing Manitobans from travelling north of the 53rd parallel. Roussin said the new order is similar to the previous order in effect.
During the news conference, Roussin said there are some exceptions to the travel restrictions.
"There are many exemptions, including those who live in northern Manitoba or are planning to set up a permanent residence there, people who are travelling to lodges or campgrounds directly, including travelling directly to Churchill, people who work for the federal or provincial government or Crown corporations or a government agency or a child and family services agency."
Health providers will also be exempt from the new travel restrictions, as will travel related to parenting arrangements.
Roussin said the full order will be posted on Thursday.
Travel restrictions were lifted as part of the second phase of Manitoba's reopening in June.
In addition to the travel restrictions, the province is asking all Manitobans to respect any restrictions First Nations communities have in place.
Earlier in August, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) called on the province to reintroduce the travel restrictions, after a case of COVID-19 was discovered in the Northern Health zone.
In a statement Monday afternoon, the organization praised the decision.
"We have no cases of COVID-19 in our MKO First Nations and our leaders and citizens continue to do everything they can to prevent the introduction of this virus into our communities,” Grand Chief Garrison Settee said in a statement.
Since the pandemic started, only four total cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Northern Manitoba.
As of Monday, Manitoba has reported 1,214 COVID-19 cases since March 12.