Health minister, top doctor to give update on Manitoba’s public health orders at 4 p.m.

New capacity restrictions for gatherings will take effect in Manitoba on Tuesday, putting a smaller cap on the number of people allowed to gather in public and private settings ahead of the holiday season.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced the new rules at a news conference with Health Minister Audrey Gordon on Friday.

Indoor private gatherings will be limited to members of a household plus 10 people, if everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19.

For gatherings where even one person age 12 or older is unvaccinated, the limit will be household members plus five others.

For public indoor gatherings, capacity will be limited to 25 per cent or 25 people, whichever is lower. Outdoors, only 50 people will be allowed to gather, Roussin said.

Gyms, theatres, licensed venues and museums will all have their capacity cut down to 50 per cent. Restaurant guests will have to stay seated, and a maximum of 10 people per table will be allowed at both licensed and unlicensed restaurants.

The new rules will begin at midnight and remain in place for three weeks, expiring on Jan. 11, Roussin said.

More to come

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Manitoba’s health minister and chief provincial public health officer are set to speak at a news conference Friday afternoon to give an update on public health orders.

Audrey Gordon and Dr. Brent Roussin will speak beginning at 4 p.m. CT.

The province announced the impromptu news conference in a news release just a half hour before it was scheduled to begin.

The update comes after Manitoba reported 239 new COVID-19 cases earlier Friday, the province’s highest single-day increase since June.

The new fourth-wave high came after provincial modelling shared earlier this week suggested Manitoba could see 223 cases per day by Dec. 25, given the anticipated impact of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. 

The province has now reported eight cases of that coronavirus strain, which early data suggests spreads much more quickly than the Delta variant.

Earlier this week, Roussin said estimates suggest Omicron could lead to over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in the new year. 

He warned Manitobans, particularly those over 60 and those with underlying medical conditions, to consider scaling back holiday plans.

British Columbia and Ontario both announced new restrictions in response to the coronavirus variant earlier Friday.

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