Manitobans can now choose from an array of indoor activities to participate in, as dance studios and more museums will be able to reopen when new public health orders come into effect Friday.
For parents, it’s a breath of fresh air, as more cabin fever has hit hard this season.
“I just think it’s gonna be great for our mental health,” said Carmen Kaethler, a mother of two girls.
“I think we take for granted socialization. And even if we’re not able to play with the other people, when we walk through the museum, seeing other people is huge. It’s going to be wonderful.”
The Manitoba Museum announced it will be reopening March 4 to the public, with safety measures in place to protect visitors and staff, but that their ‘Nonsuch ship’ will not be open to explore at this time.
As per public health orders, dance studios will still need to maintain a 25- per cent capacity limit. The same capacity limits will also apply to arcades, go-kart tracks, day camps for children and children’s facilities.
“Even though we have had a good amount of participation online, I know there are also quite a few people who just didn’t attend online,” said owner and founder of Drop in Dance Winnipeg, Maria Rawluk.
“Because they either didn’t have the space for it, or you know there’s too many people in their house so playing loud music wasn’t an option. So, yeah. People are pretty excited to actually have space to move.”
Parents like Kaethler agree, noting one of her kids finally hit a wall over the last four months and refused to do anymore video-conference activities.
“My oldest who’s eight has refused to do any of her zoom classes with the programs that we were doing she’s just zoomed out,” Kaethler said. “The fact that she’ll be able to get together, and not just at school, is going to be a huge thing for her.”
COVID-19 safety protocols in Winnipeg dance studios were already implemented in the fall, when capacity limits and mask mandates were in place.
“We feel really confident moving forward because a lot of these protocols, or most of these protocols, were already in place in the fall,” said Kendra Blake, owner of Royal Dance at the Forks.
“What we’ve had to do is we do have to have extra staff on in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly, because it’s our responsibility to make sure our customers are following the rules. We have extra staff on maintaining that.
“So we are hoping that we don’t have to do that forever as obviously it’s an additional business expense on a year that’s already been financially really difficult. But we are happy to do it if it means we can be open right now.”