How Winnipeg’s new restrictions will impact bars and restaurants

WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials announced new restrictions for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region on Friday, which included limits on bars and restaurants.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, announced that one of these new rules is reducing group sizes and table sizes at restaurants and lounges to five people. He added restaurants and lounges also must reduce capacity to 50 per cent with two-metre distancing.

“No more than five people can go out together at a restaurant,” he said.

Roussin also said the province will also be closing beverage rooms, entertainment facilities, casinos and bingo halls, which includes bars and night clubs.

“A lot of that is based on where we’ve been seeing contact and cases and transmission events,” he said.

“We really wanted to focus on those areas, we knew that the 20-29 age group is affected right now. So right now that was where the guide was.”

When asked why the province isn’t just decreasing capacity at bars and nightclubs, Roussin said the province needs to have a clear message that people need to change their behaviour.

“We thought that the appropriate step at this point, a two-week period, was to close those facilities,” he said.

Roussin noted the province was seeing more transmission in bars and nightclubs compared to restaurants and lounges.

“We saw those transmission events or at least a contact event or acquisition event,” he said.

“We saw a large number of contacts related to those facilities.”

Health Minister Cameron Friesen noted the province knows these restrictions will be tough on these businesses.

“We’re not dismissing that concern, what we’re saying is that adherence to the rules, we are hoping will help to turn around the situation currently in the Winnipeg greater area,” the minister said.

“That means taking really significant measures to do that.”

These new restrictions will come into effect on Monday, Oct. 19 for a two-week period.

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