Manitoba's top doctor says he acknowledges there is probably some disappointment that the Winnipeg Jets can return to play, but not youth sports.
On Friday, the province announced that the public health order will be extended by two weeks to January 22nd, with only a minor adjustment. The one tweak is that the Winnipeg Jets are allowed to play hockey in this province.
"While it's frustrating, I think we should all be clear that that's a substantially different set of circumstances," says Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin.
Dr. Roussin says the National Hockey League has a very strict set of guidelines in place. As a result, players are only allowed to travel from their home or hotel to the rink. He adds there are very strict guidelines in place, including measures for daily testing.
"We just don't have those safeguards in other levels of play," he says.
For example, Dr. Roussin says parents and children are not only travelling between the rink and home, noting they will be headed to work or school. They also will not have the ability for private contract testing every day.
"While it's disappointing, there is a reason why we decided that this is very little risk to the public and allowed to go ahead," he says.
Dr. Roussin asks Manitobans to keep in mind that the province is continually reviewing the need for these restrictions and that it wants people to get back to recreation as soon as possible. Having said that, he says now is not the time for Manitobans to let their guards down.
"I want as many Manitobans to get protected as soon as they can, because come fall-time, we want to start getting back to normal," says Dr. Roussin. "And we can't get back to normal unless we are getting close to that herd immunity number."