Winnipeg Metro Region moving to code red restrictions due to rise in COVID-19 cases
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer announced the Winnipeg Metro Region will be moving to code red on the pandemic response system.
Dr. Brent Roussin said the city and surrounding area is being moved to the critical or red level on the response system and it will come into effect on Monday, Nov. 2.
This restriction means bars and restaurants will be closed with the exception of take-out and delivery.
Most retail businesses will be reduced to 25 per cent and gyms and fitness centres will also have the same capacity levels and people must wear masks the whole time, even when exercising.
Movie theatres and concert halls will also be closed under these restrictions.
All sports and recreation activities will be suspended.
Faith-based gatherings are being reduced to 15 per cent capacity limit or 100 people, whatever number is lower.
Non-urgent and elective surgeries are being suspended, however, scheduled surgeries in a number of essential and time-sensitive areas will continue.
On top of surgeries being postponed, hospital visitation is also being suspended. Exceptions are being made on a "case-by-case basis" when it comes to end-of-life-care, in labour and delivery, as well as pediatrics.
The other health regions in Manitoba are moving to the orange or restricted level starting on November 2.
Roussin said these new restrictions will be in place for two weeks and that will be re-evaluated.
Roussin is encouraging people to stay at home as much as possible, which includes people who can work from home.
"These restrictions are essential for us to get on top of the cases we are seeing in our region," said Roussin. "We need to get on top of this now."
Even though the restrictions are strong, Roussin said now is not the time to panic.
"That's not we have done in Manitoba is panic. We have stayed calm, we have relied on logic, we relied on evidence to guide us through. We have done this before."
NDP Health Critic Uzoma Asagwara said the restrictions are important but wishes they were coming into effect sooner.
"We know that our health system is at a point where it can not tolerate very many incidents," said Asagwara. "We're in a position now where we have to have clearly outlined restrictions in place so that folks have it spelled out, there's no confusion."
Asagwara said they would have liked to see the restrictions come into effect on Friday, before Halloween.
They added that they think the restrictions will be effective and have faith in Winnipeggers and Manitobans that they will do the right thing.
Premier Brian Pallister put out a statement about the restrictions saying Manitobans need to focus on protecting one another.
"We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and our love ones, and I encourage all Manitobans to act now and significantly reduce their number of close contacts and follow the fundamentals," Pallister said in a news release.
He said that he is confident that Manitobans will get through this together.
This is a corrected story. The province added labour, delivery, and pediatrics as exceptions on a case-by-case basis for hospital visits in Winnipeg.