Winnipeg and the surrounding areas are now officially in level orange or restricted on the province's pandemic response system.
The province made the move after a steady spike in COVID-19 cases in the City of Winnipeg. Health officials say community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring across much of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.
Dr. Brent Roussin made the announcement on Friday at a press conference.
Individuals in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region must:
Wear a mask in all indoor public places
This includes wearings masks while in restaurants and drinking establishments, except while seated at a table to eat or drink.
People who work with the public must wear a mask. Masks do not need to be worn by staff not working with the public.
Limit gatherings to a maximum of 10 people indoors and outdoors
Roussin says that this limit applies to weddings and funerals. However, churches will continue to operate at the current 30 per cent capacity rule. For more on church restrictions see here.
Gathering sizes also do not apply to schools, restaurants, stores, theatres, and casinos, among others, who are also operating under current capacity restrictions.
Roussin says it's also important to:
- Stay home when sick.
- Practice social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing and cough etiquette.
- Follow public health guidance on travel and self-isolation.
- Vulnerable people, such as seniors, are encouraged to exercise additional caution.
Previous provisions in place for all other sectors in this region remain in place. The province says that further direction or additional restrictions may be put in place by public health at any time.
Areas outside Winnipeg affected
At the press conference on Friday, Roussin said that surrounding areas were also being placed in level orange as many people in those areas often travel to Winnipeg.
Roussin also says that they didn't want to make it easy for Winnipeggers to circumvent restrictions by simply "stepping outside the Perimeter."
The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region includes the City of Winnipeg and the following rural municipalities in other health regions:
- Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority:
- City of Selkirk,
- Town of Stonewall,
- RM of Rockwood,
- RM of Rosser, RM of Springfield,
- RM of St. Andrews,
- RM of St. Clements,
- RM of West St. Paul,
- RM of East St. Paul
- and the Village of Dunnottar.
- Southern Health - Santé Sud:
- Rural Municipality (RM) of Cartier,
- RM of Headingley,
- RM of Macdonald,
- RM of Ritchot,
- RM of St. François Xavier,
- RM of Taché
- and the Town of Niverville.
"New clusters are occurring but can be controlled through self-isolation, testing and contact tracing so they do not spread further," the province says in a release. "The health care system is currently able to manage COVID-19 case levels, however changes in restrictions and behaviours are required to prevent further level changes."
The rest of Manitoba remains in the Caution (yellow) level. Public health officials may place the province or other regions or facilities in an elevated response level at any time.