Manitoba ministers to discuss business supports Friday morning

The Manitoba government is expected to announce supports for business at a Friday morning press conference.

Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler will speak to reporters at a 9 a.m. media briefing.

Read more: Coronavirus: Manitoba clamps down on gathering sizes, stores can sell essential items only

Global News will stream the event live in this story.

An invitation sent to media late Thursday didn’t say exactly what the supports will be, or whether or not they’re related to COVID-19.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba bans private gatherings, limits retail sales to essential items only' Coronavirus: Manitoba bans private gatherings, limits retail sales to essential items only

Coronavirus: Manitoba bans private gatherings, limits retail sales to essential items only

Businesses deemed non-essential were ordered closed under strict province-wide COVID-19 restrictions put in place last week.

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Under the original public health orders, put in place until at least Dec. 11, restaurants, bars, gyms, non-essential retail stores and other facilities were shut in an attempt to reduce increasing COVID-19 caseloads.

Read more: Coronavirus: Code Red restrictions ‘devastating’ on Manitoba retailers: RCC

On Thursday, the province beefed up the restrictions, banning the sale of non-essential items by retailers that had previously been allowed to sell them as long as part of their inventory included items deemed essential under provincial health rules.

Under the new rules, the stores can remain open, but will only be allowed to sell essential items to in-person shoppers, and must also limit capacity to 25 per cent, or 250 people, whichever is lower.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says message on how to bring cases down is clear, ‘stay home’' Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says message on how to bring cases down is clear, ‘stay home’

Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor says message on how to bring cases down is clear, ‘stay home’

Online sales and curbside pickup of non-essential goods will be allowed to continue.

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While the changes officially start Friday, businesses will have until 12:01 a.m. Saturday to make sure non-essential goods are off limits to the public.

Read more: Manitoba business grant program open for applications: Pallister

Last week Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced new supports for small and medium-sized businesses, non-profit groups and cultural organizations, such as museums, affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

Called the Manitoba Bridge Grant, it will provide $5,000 to small businesses before Christmas, and perhaps another $5,000 in the new year.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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