Public Health Officials say just because the province is opening up, it does not mean COVID-19 has disappeared.

While it was not a weekend to go "out and about" according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr, Brent Roussin, many in Southern Manitoba chose to flock to the shops. Long lineups were not uncommon as people reaped the benefits of the elimination of the Essential Items list for most of the province. 

"We had been in very restricted territory for many, many weeks. and so we thought with the trajectory we saw we could do a very cautious reopening and we think that was what was provided," Roussin says.

While in-person dining and children's sports are a no-go, the 25 per cent retail capacity is being welcomed by residents. 

The attraction to shop for furniture, crafting supplies, and other items are strong, but Roussin is emphasizing the importance of following the fundamentals of the virus.

"It is just important to know that this virus is still with us the restriction, the messaging on the fundamentals is what is going to keep our numbers down," he says. "We cannot forget what got us in that bad spot to being with. That is increasing our contacts and putting us all at risk."

Roussin wants Manitobans to continue to stick to the fundamentals when running errands and outside of their households. 

He says to limit the number of people per household when leaving the house but understands that may not be possible with children.

"If you have to go out shopping and you require to bring some members of your family then it should be the least amount you require and everyone should be masked up, washing hands, and practicing physical distancing at all times."

He says the same fundamentals for adults apply to children.

If experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home. The doctor says an issue his team of officials have been discussing since the fall is the confusion between mild COVID-19 symptoms and symptoms from colds, allergies, or other conditions such as Asthma.

"The messaging right now is that we are at a point where we want to start reopenings things, and we have to be able to do so without widespread transmission of COVID."

He recommends eliminating the uncertainty by testing for COVID-19. Roussin says isolating and testing is the best way to protect others.