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Province Allows Limited Reopening of Restaurants and Gyms

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Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial health officer.

Although all of Manitoba will remain at code red for at least the next three weeks, the decreased rate of transmission has prompted the provincial government to loosen a few pandemic restrictions.

These changes will take effect at midnight on Friday, February 12.

“Today is another big day for Manitobans, especially for our local business owners who are eager to safely reopen their doors, and provide the goods and services that Manitobans have missed the past few months,” says Premier Brian Pallister. “With fewer restrictions, we must remain cautious, in fact, even more cautious. In the absence of COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, following the fundamentals is how we continue to protect each other and save lives.”

Among the changes, restaurants will be allowed to reopen for in-person dining, at a limited capacity and only for groups that all come from the same household. Gyms and personal service businesses will also be able to open at limited capacity, and churches will be able to host small services.

Here are the details:

• allowing restaurants and licensed premises to reopen at 25 percent capacity with patron groups limited to members of the same household only.
• allowing outdoor rinks to reopen for casual sports as well as organized practices and games, with multi-team tournaments not permitted.
• allowing gyms, fitness centres and yoga studios to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
• allowing indoor sporting facilities such as rinks, gymnastic clubs and martial arts studios to reopen at 25 percent capacity for individual instruction only.
• allowing places of worship to hold regular religious services if a service does not exceed 10 percent of usual capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower.
• allowing self-help groups for persons dealing with addictions or other behaviours to hold meetings at 25 percent capacity of the premise where meetings take place.
• allowing museums, art galleries and libraries to operate at 25 percent capacity.
• allowing personal service businesses, such as those providing pedicures, electrolysis, cosmetic application, tanning, tattooing or massage services to reopen at 25 percent capacity.
• allowing photographers and videographers to offer services to individual clients or those residing in the same household in addition to providing services at weddings, with the exception of visiting client homes.
• allowing the film industry to operate fully with physical distancing and other safety measures in place.

Additionally, the changes that came into effect in late January are still in place. Manitobans will continue to be able to invite two designated people into their homes, groups of five may gather outdoors on private properties, hair salons are allowed to open, and retail stores are able to open at 25 percent capacity or 250 people.

Despite the relaxed restrictions, Dr. Brent Roussin says that it’s not yet time for people to let down their guard.

“We will continue to carefully monitor COVID-19 developments and case numbers to ensure we protect each other and our health-care system,” says Dr. Roussin. “We all have a part to play in keeping our COVID-19 curve down so we can continue making measured progress towards getting back to the things we love.”

In its process of arriving at this new public health orders, the government sought public feedback—and more than 33,000 people weighed in. From that feedback, 65 percent of respondents felt somewhat or very comfortable going to restaurants and 57 percent of respondents felt somewhat or very comfortable going to the gym or to a yoga studio.

The public highest priority was reopening food services.

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