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Coronavirus: Draft plan of Phase 2 released for Manitoba, but no date confirmed

More COVID-19 measures are expected to be announced.

The Manitoba government has expanded what will happen in Phase 2 – but no date has been set.

Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement of a “draft plan” that includes numerous openings.

Pallister said a date will come depending on how the numbers look. In the past, Phase 2 was scheduled for possible implementation June 1.

What will begin right away is an easing on public gatherings and professional team sports, starting Friday.

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Other easing of restrictions in Phase 2, date to be determined, include:

  • outdoor drive-in events;
  • outdoor visits in personal and long-term care homes;
  • day camp sizes changed to 24;
  • child care sizes changed to 24;
  • team sports resume;
  • travel to nothern parks, campgrounds;
  • indoor recreation facility access at things like golf courses
  • restaurants and bars can operate at 50 per cent capacity indoors;
  • film production can resume; and
  • public swimming pools, splash pads, fitness facilities (gyms) operating within limitations

He praised “early and decisive action” for the loosening of restrictions, but said there was no room for complacency.

“We do not want a ‘covid comeback,'” he said.

The province expects cases of novel coronavirus to tick upwards as restrictions ease, said Pallister, so he pleaded with Manitobans to continue to follow social and physical distancing measures.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba examining resuming schools this year with some adjustments
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba examining resuming schools this year with some adjustments

He also suggested schools may start on Aug. 31 and some non-instructional days throughout the school year may be repurposed.

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READ MORE: Manitoba’s next phase of COVID-19 reopening could happen sooner than expected: health officials

“We look at a number of key factors when making these recommendations including how the spread of the virus has been controlled, the stability of the health system’s capacity, public health capacity and the number of outbreaks in vulnerable settings,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.

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“There’s still very strict restrictions,” he added, “but that was the thought there, to be a bit more broad but restrictive within those.”

“We’re hoping to give better notice than last time … now we have a plan, with that June 1 target date.”

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Mass gatherings such as concerts, festivals and major sporting events will not be considered before September 2020, Roussin added.

No new cases were announced Thursday, and active cases dropped down to 18.

Roussin said there is no timeframe at the moment for lifting the provincial restrictions on self-isolation on inter-provincial travel, but added those who are coming internationally would fall under Federal restrictive guidelines.

Phase 1 saw restrictions ease on May 4, allowing for small gatherings and the reopening of several types of businesses.

On Wednesday, Roussin and Siragusa announced the easing of restrictions around gatherings will start on Friday, with 25 allowed indoors, and 50 for outdoors. All must still follow social distancing rules.

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