Rising Vaccination Rates and Improving COVID-19 Situation Mean Manitoba can Reopen Earlier: Pallister
Manitoba will move ahead with the first milestone of its ‘4-3-2 One Great Summer’ Reopening Path one week early and open many businesses and facilities to 25 per cent capacity beginning on June 26th, Premier Brian Pallister and Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin announced today.
This week, Manitobans achieved and surpassed the first key vaccination benchmarks set out under the ‘4-3-2 One Great Summer’ Reopening Path, with over 71 per cent of eligible Manitobans at least partially immunized and more than 27 per cent having received both doses. Together with declining COVID-19 cases, test positivity and hospitalization rates, Manitobans are now able to begin to enjoy more freedoms and fewer public health restrictions.
“Manitobans have earned an earlier reopening,” said Pallister. “Together, we have beat back the third wave and have booked first and second dose vaccinations in record numbers. After nearly a year and half fighting COVID-19, it is time for Manitobans to regain their freedoms and enjoy a summer we all want, and have rightfully earned.”
Manitobans who are fully immunized (two vaccine doses plus two weeks from the time of their second dose) will now benefit from the following exemptions:
· visit loved ones in personal care homes or hospitals;
· participate in social or communal activities, if you are a resident of a personal care home or congregate living facility;
· travel domestically for essential and non-essential purposes outside of Manitoba without the requirement to self-isolate on their return; and,
· dine indoors at restaurants and bars with other fully immunized friends and family from outside your household.
Large-scale, outdoor professional sports or performing arts events may also allow fully immunized Manitobans to attend, subject to approval by Manitoba Public Health. The province will work with sports and arts organization to implement proof of vaccination protocols for these events.
Additional benefits for fully immunized Manitobans will be announced in July, including increasing capacity for fully immunized people at weddings, funerals, faith-based and other gatherings, based on continued vaccination rate increases and improvements in the province’s overall COVID-19 situation.
Under this first milestone of the ‘4-3-2 One Great Summer’ Reopening Path, Manitobans will also be able to gather in larger numbers, dine out in restaurants and on patios, attend faith-based services, and go to gyms, hair salons and retail stores in every region of the province, with some restrictions.
Effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 26, all Manitobans will benefit from these changes, including:
· outdoor gathering sizes on private property to double to 10 persons, and to allow outdoor visitors to briefly access homes for essential activities (e.g. to use a washroom);
· public outdoor gathering sizes to increase to 25 persons;
· retail businesses to open with increased capacity at 25 per cent to a limit of 250 persons, with no restrictions on the number of household members permitted to shop together;
· personal service businesses (hair and nail salons, estheticians, barbers, etc.) to reopen at 50 per cent capacity, on an appointment basis only;
· restaurants and bars to reopen at 25 per cent capacity for indoors and 50 per cent for outdoor dining. For indoor dining, patrons seated together must be from the same household unless all patrons at the table are fully immunized. Patrons who are fully immunized and from different households may dine together. For outdoor dining, tables are limited to a maximum of 8 patrons and can be from different households regardless of immunization status;
· indoor faith-based services and organized community gatherings (e.g. pow wows, sun dance ceremonies) to resume at 25 per cent capacity to a limit of 25 persons with masks worn at all times;
· outdoor faith-based and organized community gatherings (e.g. pow wows, sun dance ceremonies) to resume for up to 50 persons, provided distance can be maintained between households. Drive-in services continue to be permitted;
· outdoor weddings and funerals may take place with up to 25 participants, in addition to photographer and officiants. Indoor weddings and funerals remain limited to 10 persons;
· indoor dance, music, theatre and other organized sports and recreation activities may reopen at 25 per cent capacity to a limit of five persons, with no tournaments allowed;
· outdoor dance, music and theatre classes and other organized recreation activities may reopen for groups up to 25 people, with no tournaments allowed;
· swimming and wading pools, both indoor and outdoor, may reopen at 25 per cent capacity;
· gyms and fitness facilities may reopen for individual and group fitness classes at 25 per cent capacity with three metres distance maintained between patrons; and;
· summer day camps may reopen to a maximum of 20 participants in groups.
Following the COVID-19 safety fundamentals, including indoor mask use and physical distancing, is still required.
The orders are scheduled to expire at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Aug. 2, the next milestone in the 4-3-2 One Great Summer Reopening Path. However, reopening capacities may be increased earlier if vaccination rate goals are reached sooner and the province’s overall COVID-19 situation continues to improve.
Despite the progress made over the past two months against the COVID-19 third wave both the premier and Roussin reinforced that public health restrictions are required.
“While the case numbers and our health system are improving, the pandemic is not over and variants of concern, especially the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant, are still circulating. This is why Manitobans need to continue to practice the fundamentals – washing your hands, physical distancing, wearing a mask, and getting fully vaccinated,” said Roussin. “Today’s reopening fits with the public health advice on where we are in the fight against the pandemic and where we still have to go.”
The next provincial milestone is set for Terry Fox Day, Aug. 2. At that time, the province will reopen to 50 per cent capacity or greater if 75 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 and above have received their first vaccination dose and 50 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 and above have received their second dose, while taking ongoing account of COVID-19 transmission. An earlier reopening will be considered depending on progress toward these goals.
“We must remain caution, careful, and vigilant against a COVID-19 comeback,” said Pallister. “The path we are on is improving but we are not yet fully out of the woods. But I am hopeful we will be able to reopen even more, sooner, if Manitobans keep getting vaccinated as soon as they can.”
For more information on COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit: http://manitoba.ca/COVID19.
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