Manitoba's Premier and Chief Public Health Officer are making changes to the Public Health Orders.

Leaders are moving towards stricter health orders following a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. The province has said it is a race between the virus and vaccinations. 

"The variants are winning," Premier Brian Pallister says. "We are at a very critical point."

Now, stricter Public Health Orders will be in place in hopes of slowing the spread.

Pallister says "it is clear" some Manitobans have not been following the fundamental, asking Manitobans to "stay at home if you can."

These will be in effect for four weeks, past the May Long Weekend.

Roussin says while March and early April saw many people working hard to reduce the spread, the province's current case counts mimic November's situation.

The Chief Public Health Officer says the province has held off the third wave, but cases continue to increase, requiring stricter health orders. He says at this point, they had a limited choice when looking at case projections.


New orders

Household visits are being halted.  All household gatherings are not allowed, excluding single-person households who may have one other designated person. Roussin says with the limit on all household gatherings, it should be unusual to see cars coming over.

Faith services can continue at 25 per cent but with a 10 person maximum. Masks must be work at all times indoors.

Day camps are limited to 10 children or less, indoors and outdoors.

Retail stores are being limited to 25 per cent capacity, or 250 people, whichever is lower. Malls are reduced to 25 per cent of the facility's total capacity.

Outdoor public gatherings remain the same at 10 people or fewer.

Patios are reduced to four people or fewer.

Gyms and other fitness facilities are reduced to 25 per cent with distancing. One parent or caregiver can watch their child's sports activities while distancing. Masks must be worn.

Music, theatre, and other musical centres can offer lessons, with up to 10 people in a group

There are no changes to museums, weddings, funerals, drive-in events, and personal services. Schools remain open.


Pallister says he expects Manitobans to follow the orders. The province is increasing enforcement efforts, including at big-box stores.

"Right now, please stay home as much as possible," Roussin says. "If we all do our part, this would very well be our last strict orders."

Roussin says orders could be lifted before the long weekend, pending case numbers. He is asking Manitobans to "buckle down." 

"It's been over a year. People are tired. We are going to take that balanced approach," Roussin says. 

The Premier and doctor both say when making new health orders they consider the other effects of them such as on the economy and mental health, knowing the orders bring adverse effects on other aspects to people's lives. Roussin says physical activity continuing is one of the ways they are making that balance.

"We are always going to take that least restrictive means. We are going to watch the numbers. We are going to need Manitobans on board for this and I think that is a challenge."

On Friday Dr. Jazz Atwal said Manitobans can go beyond the orders to stop the spread, such as not doing things that are not outlined in the orders such as sharing food.

While the majority of Manitobans are following these orders, others have been hosting events such as sleepovers, or meeting in hundreds at the Forks on the weekend.

"These restrictions are not without their challenges. That is why we make these decisions very carefully and not without a lot of re-thinking things," Roussin says. 

The Premier adds "we know it is the right thing to do. It is the necessary thing to do. And we know it is not going to be forever."

Pallister is pointing to areas of the world where restrictions are not in place or being followed, saying people are dying and facing unimaginable hardships.

"There are perspectives from all around the continuum from 'we shouldn't have any rules' to 'we should have everybody live in bubble wrap.' We are trying to strike the right balance here with the right kinds of restrictions, adopted at the right time in the right ways," Pallister says. "We have to remember these are short-term sacrifices."

The Premier says Manitobans needs to follow the orders for the restrictions to impact cases.


This is an ongoing story and will be updated.