Churches will need to follow new gathering size restrictions starting on Monday.
Due to the moving to Red on the Pandemic Response System in the Winnipeg Metro Region, churches will go from a 30 per cent maximum capacity to a 15 per cent max capacity. Previously churches could have a maximum of 250 people, but that has been reduced to 100.
"When you have hundreds of people under the same roof, it is a risk," Dr. Brent Roussin says.
That this means even if a facility has a 15 per cent capacity of 150, they will not be allowed to have more than 100 people in the facility. Roussin says the province has seen the spread of COVID-19 at faith-based gatherings, noting that in one instance someone who acquired COVID-19 at a faith-based gathering then visited a personal care home, contributing to an outbreak.
"We know these organizations stepped up from the beginning, they have a lot of safeguards in. They are obviously there to protect the people coming there."
Roussin says despite best efforts, faith gatherings can spread the virus due to prolonged time in enclosed spaces.
The Southern Health–Santé Sud, Prairie Mountain Health and Interlake–Eastern health regions will be moving to Orange. This will bring gathering restrictions for regular faith-based activities. Gatherings are reduced to 20 per cent or 250 people, whichever is lower, in those areas.
This applies to all people in the facilities and will last for two weeks.
Regular church gatherings on Sunday, November 1, will not be affected by the upcoming restrictions. They follow the region's current restrictions.