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‘Wear a friggin’ mask’: Reactions to new Manitoba COVID-19 restrictions

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With the new rules announced in Winnipeg Friday comes new concerns for some business owners. Erik Pindera reports.

Starting Monday, the province will bring in more restrictions to get a handle on the surge of COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg.

Due to the large number of cases over the past week, Manitoba is reducing gathering sizes from 10 to 5 people, and restaurants, retailers, libraries and museums will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.

Some businesses — like bars, nightclubs, casinos and bingo halls — will be closed outright.

Read more: Casinos, bars, bingo halls closed under tighter coronavirus restrictions coming to Winnipeg area

Business owner Obby Khan.
Business owner Obby Khan. Global News / File

Restaurateur Obby Khan, owner of Shawarma Khan and Green Carrot Juice Company said he wasn’t overly surprised by the restrictions.

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“They have to do something, and I kind of agree with what they’re doing right now,” he said.

“The case numbers are going up and we can’t go into code red. The one thing we all fear as restaurant owners and business owners is that if it’s code red, we’ll shut down again.

“Code red, for a lot of us, would be catastrophic — myself included, for some of my locations.”

Khan said while it ‘sucks’ that he’s operating at 50 per cent, the big thing that needs to be emphasized is the messaging if Manitoba wants to fight the virus.

Click to play video 'COVID-19: More restrictions coming to Winnipeg Metro Region' COVID-19: More restrictions coming to Winnipeg Metro Region
COVID-19: More restrictions coming to Winnipeg Metro Region
“People need to come out, but they need to do it properly… follow the rules, follow what’s mandated. Everyone knows what [the rules] are.
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“If you do those things, you can still go to businesses, you can still come eat a shawarma, you can still buy juice. You can still go to a mall.

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“I think the big thing getting lost in the message is ‘do the right thing and we’ll get out of this OK’.”

Khan said people still need to frequent local businesses — if they want those businesses to still be there when the province recovers — but to make sure they’re doing it safely, according to health guidelines.

Read more: She has coronavirus, her roommate doesn’t. How two Winnipeggers are avoiding each other at home

At a press conference following the province’s announcement, Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman said the changes mean the city will be suspending in-home, non-emergency inspections starting Monday until further notice.The city says Winnipeggers who have scheduled inspections or appointments will be contacted in the coming days with alternative means to conduct their inspection, if possible.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman speaks to media.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman speaks to media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma

The mayor also had a simple message for Winnipeggers during the pandemic.

“While I recognize that not everyone can wear a mask, for everyone else … wear a friggin’ mask,” he said in response to recent protests over mandatory mask rules.

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“Look after people other than yourself and you can do that by simply wearing a mask.”
Click to play video 'Hundreds of accused Manitobans held in isolation at Winnipeg Remand Centre' Hundreds of accused Manitobans held in isolation at Winnipeg Remand Centre
Hundreds of accused Manitobans held in isolation at Winnipeg Remand Centre

Winnipeg psychologist Syras Derksen told 680 CJOB people may have become too relaxed about the threat of COVID-19 during the province’s period of low positive cases.

“People learn to tolerate things very well. We get used to situations — even very dangerous situations… you start to relax,” he said.

“Our bodies are made to always come back to a normal state. Being in constant anxiety isn’t good for us.

“Our emotions kind of follow our bodies, and as our bodies relax, so do our emotions, and then we just start to feel like things are OK, and that can lead to relaxing of our standards: ‘it’s no big deal, I haven’t gotten sick, nobody around me is sick’.”

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