Many Manitoba businesses will be able to open at increased capacity, including restaurants, gyms and hair salons, and fully vaccinated people will be able to visit personal care homes starting Saturday as the province takes its next steps in its reopening plan.
Premier Brian Pallister and Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced health order changes at a news conference on Wednesday. Manitoba was hit late but hard by the third wave of the pandemic, which overwhelmed hospitals and forced the province to fly dozens of critically ill patients to other provinces for care.
Capacity limits for retail businesses will be 25 per cent, up to 250 people, with no restrictions on the number of household members allowed to shop together.
Restaurants and bars can open at 25 per cent capacity indoors and 50 per cent capacity outdoors. People from different households can dine together indoors, but only if they are all fully immunized.
Outdoor dining is limited to eight people per table, but they can be from different households regardless of vaccination status.
Personal services such as hair salons and barbers can open at 50 per cent capacity, on an appointment basis.
The outdoor gathering size on private property doubles to 10 people, and the outdoor gathering size in public increases to 25.
The reopening plan lays out a number of increased freedoms for fully vaccinated people.
In addition to being able to dine indoors with members of different households and visiting loved ones in personal care homes and hospitals, fully vaccinated people can attend large-scale outdoor sporting and performing arts events.
The provincial government said it will work with sports and arts organizations on ways to determine people’s vaccination status.
Residents of personal care homes and congregate living facilities who are fully vaccinated will be able to participate in social or communal activities.
The province already announced earlier this month that Manitobans who are fully vaccinated can travel within Canada without having to self-isolate when they return.
More to come
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Manitobans will learn Wednesday what changes the provincial government plans to make to pandemic health orders.
Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, have scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. CT to discuss the next steps in what they call the “4-3-2-One Great Summer” reopening path.
CBC News will live stream the news conference on our website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Gem.
Current health orders expire on Saturday, June 26.
Earlier this month, the province laid out broad strokes of its reopening plan, which set targets to reach certain vaccination levels by certain dates. The first goal of having 70 per cent of eligible Manitobans 12 and older with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 25 per cent with two doses, by July 1 has already been achieved.
Under the plan, this would allow businesses, services and facilities to open at 25 per cent capacity or greater levels.
If at least 75 per cent have received a first dose and 50 per cent have received a second dose by the Terry Fox Day long weekend in August, the capacity increases to 50 per cent.
As of Tuesday, 71.4 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older have had a first dose and 26.9 per cent have two doses.
Daily COVID-19 cases have fallen to their lowest levels in months. On Tuesday, the province reported 69 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest it has been since April 4.
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