The Manitoba government says dine-in restaurants, pools, gyms and many other services are to reopen Monday.
Bars, community centres, seniors clubs and other facilities will also be allowed to resume services after being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bars, dine-in restaurants, gyms, pools and other facilities across Manitoba will be allowed to reopen starting Monday as the province eases more restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Community centres, seniors clubs and tattoo parlours are also getting the go-ahead. In all cases, there will be limits on customer capacity and rules for physical distancing.
“While we can take pride in the progress we’ve made … I emphasize we must remain vigilant,” Premier Brian Pallister said Wednesday.
“We do not want a COVID comeback in this province.”
Manitoba has had 292 cases since the pandemic began and seven deaths. There have only been three new instances in the last two weeks and the number of active cases has dropped to 14.
In its first reopening phase on May 4, the Progressive Conservative government allowed many services, including non-essential retail stores, restaurant patios and museums, to resume.
The second phase announced Wednesday is much broader. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve people indoors, but only at half capacity. Common areas such as dance floors and dart boards will remain off-limits.
Elementary and high schools stopped in-class instruction in March and will not reopen this school year. But they will be allowed as of Monday to offer tutoring or student assessments in small groups. Some extracurricular sports and other activities can restart.
At universities and colleges, some specific instruction such as labs and arts studios will be able to resume for up to 25 students and staff at a time.
Amateur sports and recreation programs, as well as bowling alleys, are on the list to resume operations.
“We’re not going to see in the foreseeable future (a time) when we don’t have to deal with this virus,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer.
“So we need to find ways that we can live with this virus, so we have to start returning to some sense of normalcy.”
A ban on non-essential travel to the province’s north is also being eased as of Monday. Southern residents will be allowed to travel directly to cottages, campgrounds and parks, but are being told to avoid visiting northern communities. The region has largely been spared from the pandemic and health officials are worried hospitals could be overwhelmed if that changes.
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce welcomed the chance for its members to open their doors again.
“It’s time for some businesses that have been not able to operate to start putting some people back to work,” said president Chuck Davidson.
Some activities will still be forbidden after Monday. Movie theatres and casinos must remain closed. Concerts, professional sporting events and other large public gatherings won’t be considered until at least September, the government said.
A limit on public gatherings remains at 25 people for indoor events and 50 in the outdoors.
Roussin and Pallister both said restrictions could be reimposed if the province’s COVID-19 numbers rise. They urged Manitobans to practise physical distancing and avoid going out when ill.
“I want to maintain the discipline that has got us the progress that we’ve experienced to date,” Pallister said.
WHAT IS REOPENING/EXPANDING OPERATIONS FROM JUNE 1
- increasing child-care centre occupancy to up to 24 children plus staffing;
- increasing day camp group sizes to 24;
- resuming sports, arts and cultural activities for children and adults;
- lifting occupancy limits at outdoor recreation facilities and golf courses outdoors, as long as physical distancing can be maintained and allowing limited access to indoor spaces;
- allowing direct travel to northern parks, campgrounds, cabins, lodges and resorts while ensuring physical distancing;
- allowing public/private swimming pools, spas, fitness clubs, gyms and community/service centres to reopen with some limitations;
- allowing religious or other organizations to hold outdoor services or events without limitation on numbers if people stay in their vehicles;
- reopening manicurists and pedicurists, tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists, electrologists and tanning parlours at 50 per cent capacity;
- allowing restaurants to reopen indoor spaces at 50 per cent capacity and continue to offer patio services at that capacity level; and
- allowing bars, beverage rooms, micro-brewers and similar businesses to operate patio service at 50 per cent of site capacity and to reopen indoor spaces at 50 per cent capacity.
No changes will be made to the requirements for reopening museums, galleries and libraries, and parks, campgrounds yurts and vacation cabins.
The plan for Phase Twowas revised from the original draft document, released May 21, based on input from the public and businesses, as well as additional input from public health officials. Changes include:
- detailed guidance for post-secondary educational institutions and vocational colleges;
- removing occupancy limits for therapeutic and health-care services;
- detailed guidance for senior’s clubs;
- additional details on requirements for the safe operation of splash pads;
- updated guidance for community centres
- the reopening of arts and cultural activities, such as dance, art and theatre;
- clarifications on the opening of bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, micro-brewers and distilleries to allow sites that do not serve food to open, as well as updated guidance from public health that all patrons must be seated at tables and stand-up service is not allowed; and
- detailed public health guidelines for film productions.
— With Files From The Canadian Press
Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press