Casino closures and group size limits among new restrictions coming to Winnipeg next week

WINNIPEG — In an effort to curb rising COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s top doctor has ordered more targeted restrictions, including reduced group sizes and the closure of casinos.

On Friday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, announced new restrictions in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region will take effect on Monday, Oct. 19.

“We need to make this change – this sacrifice for two weeks,” Roussin said, adding Winnipeg needs to cut down on close contacts and community spread.

“We’ve done the change before and we can do it again, and make difference in the outcomes in a relatively short order.”

These new restrictions include:

  • Gathering sizes are being reduced to five people. This does not include household members for private gatherings inside the home.
  • Beverage rooms, entertainment facilities, casinos and bingo halls will be closed.
  • Restaurants and lounges will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity with two metre distancing and table sizes no larger than five people.
  • Retail businesses will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity, but must adhere to the five-person group size limit in food courts and common areas.
  • Sporting events and after-school activities must reduce the number of spectators to 25 per cent of a site’s capacity.
  • Museums, galleries, and libraries must reduce capacity by 50 per cent, and must collect contact information for all attendees.
  • Gyms and Fitness centres must collect contact information for all attendees. Those going to a gym or fitness centre must wear a mask unless they are doing physical activity.

The restrictions will remain in place for at least two weeks.

The province said these new restrictions are in addition to the current restrictions in place for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, including the mandatory mask use in all indoor public spaces, and reduced liquor service hours and noise restrictions at licensed facilities.

“These restrictions will all be enforceable under the law,” Roussin said. “We’ve issued fines in the past when required and we will be looking at stepping up enforcing efforts in the coming weeks.”

On Friday, Manitoba reported 75 new COVID-19 cases, 63 of which are in Winnipeg. This brings the total number of active cases in Winnipeg to 1,354.

Roussin said the test-positivity rate in Winnipeg is now at 6.3 per cent.

Since March, there have been 3,098 cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba and 38 deaths.

This is a developing story. More details to come.

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