‘We have to roll with the program’: businesses impacted differently by Manitoba’s new health orders

WINNIPEG — Updated health orders mean Manitobans must now wear a mask indoors, and come next week will need to be fully vaccinated if they want to attend most events and activities.

As of Saturday, masks are once again required in indoor public places, including gyms like Fit Club West.

Michelle Braithwaite, the manager of the gym, said she and the members were already expecting the mask rule to come back.

“We were all waiting to see when it’d take place,” Braithwaite told CTV News. “However, the big shock was the double vaccination (requirement) to be a part of the gym.”

Starting September 3, Manitobans will need to be fully vaccinated if they want to attend certain events and activities including fitness centres, gyms, and indoor sporting facilities.

Braithwaite said she respects the new rules, but they have already impacted some of her clients.

“Certain people have now reached out and said, ‘I don’t know what to do Michelle. I’m not vaccinated but this is my safe place, this is where I can feel better about myself.’”

In addition to gyms, Manitobans will also need to be fully vaccinated if they want to attend indoor and outdoor ticketed events, indoor and outdoor dining, nightclubs and other licensed premises, casinos, VLT lounges, and movie theatres.

One sector that won’t require proof of vaccination is hair salons.

Ali Aldulaimi, the owner of the Weekend Hair Salon, said the new rules are out of his hands. All he can do is follow the mask mandate and hope everyone stays healthy.

“Are they going to shut us down? Keep the mask on? Keep the mask off? Either or we have to roll with the program, we have no control over it,” said Aldulaimi.

Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said the vaccine mandate for most sectors will prevent the need for capacity limits and lockdowns.

“So we can have the vast majority of adult Manitobans taking part in activities without restriction other than the requirement to be vaccinated.”

Roussin said the mask mandate paired with the mandatory vaccine requirement offers a multi-layered approach to preventing spread.

Braithwaite said she is working on getting the software needed to verify if clients are fully vaccinated, and she plans on offering outdoor sessions for clients who have not got the shot.

“No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, we’re all in this together,” she said. “So whether or not you agree with it or you believe in it, it’s not going to go away.” 

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