Advertisement

Manitoba loosens COVID-19 restrictions to allow small outdoor gatherings

Click to play video: 'Manitoba removes quarantine measures for fully-vaccinated travellers' Manitoba removes quarantine measures for fully-vaccinated travellers
Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced on Wednesday that some COVID-19 restrictions will be eased as of Saturday, June 12, allowing outdoor gatherings of up to five people on public and private property with some restrictions. Restrictions for restaurants and other businesses will remain in place – Jun 9, 2021

Manitoba is tweaking public health orders meant to protect the health care system during COVID-19 to allow up to five people to get together outdoors.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer said the change means Manitobans can invite up to five people to gather outdoors at their homes, but visitors need to be from no more than two other households.

Read more: Manitoba launches nearly $2M lottery to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations

Groups of up to five people will also be allowed to meet outdoors in public places, Roussin added.

No other changes were made to the province’s current public health orders and Roussin said a ban on indoor gatherings will continue.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba eases some COVID-19 restrictions, many still in place' Manitoba eases some COVID-19 restrictions, many still in place
Manitoba eases some COVID-19 restrictions, many still in place – Jun 9, 2021

“We still have significant demands on our health care system so we’re not in a position to open everything at once,” Roussin said.

Story continues below advertisement

“But we are in a position to slowly ease — very minimally — some of our restrictions.”

Manitobans have been under tight restrictions on social gatherings during the pandemic’s third wave.

Read more: The U.S. is investigating the origins of COVID-19. Here’s what’s known about the probe

Any get-togethers between people from different households — indoors or out — have been forbidden, although there’s been a limited exemption for people who live alone.

Restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery services. Cinemas, gyms and museums are closed, and students in some areas, including Winnipeg and Brandon, have switched to remote learning.

The new set of public health orders announced Wednesday will be in place until at least June 26, Roussin said.

Story continues below advertisement

The restrictions, along with ongoing vaccination efforts, have been credited for helping cut daily case counts from a peak last month of more than 600.

Daily case numbers have been dropping. The province reported its lowest daily case count in several weeks — 169 cases — Monday, but Roussin said hospitals remain strained, with hundreds in hospital and dozens of intensive care patients being sent to other provinces to free up ICU space.

Read more: COVID-19: Family says Manitoba woman who died in Ontario was community leader, mentor

The province said 30 COVID-19 patients were being treated in other provinces as of Wednesday, as 250 new cases and two deaths were reported, including a boy in his teens from Winnipeg.

Earlier this week Roussin said any changes to the province’s current health orders, set to expire this weekend, were likely to be slight.

Click to play video: 'Roussin encourages vaccinated Manitobans to follow rules, hints at targeted reopening based on status' Roussin encourages vaccinated Manitobans to follow rules, hints at targeted reopening based on status
Roussin encourages vaccinated Manitobans to follow rules, hints at targeted reopening based on status – Jun 7, 2021

But he had hinted government may consider allowing outdoor gatherings.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re not in a position to significantly loosen anything right now,” Roussin said Monday.

“We know the outdoor settings are less risky, so we … can consider something like that about the outdoor settings.”

Read more: Manitoba reports 237 COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths

Roussin said Wednesday he’s still recommending those who gather outdoors under the new rules wear masks and practice physical distancing.

“We know this has been hard,” he said.

“But we need to continue to stay home, work from home as much as we can, follow the fundamentals and get vaccinated as soon as possible to ease the pressure on the health system.”

–With files from The Canadian Press

Story continues below advertisement

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

Sponsored content