Manitoba to allow small outdoor gatherings under health order changes

WINNIPEG — Manitobans will soon be able to gather outside with friends and family, as the province’s top doctor announced changes to the public health orders set to take effect this weekend.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, announced the changes to the orders on Wednesday, saying the province is in a position to slowly and minimally ease restrictions.

Under the changes, Manitobans will be able to gather outside in limited groups on public and private property.

Roussin said on private property, people can have up to five visitors in addition to those in the household. He clarified the visitors should be from no more than two households.

Groups gathering in public outdoor spaces, including golf courses, will be limited to five people total.

“These are the only changes that will be occurring at this time,” Roussin said, adding all other restrictions remain in place.

Indoor gatherings remain limited to household contacts only, Roussin said.

Retail businesses will remain at 10 per cent capacity or 100 customers, whichever is lower. The rule limiting only one person per household in a business also remains in place.

Restaurant patios are also required to remain closed.

These new orders take effect on Saturday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m., and will remain in place until Saturday, June 26, at 12:01 a.m.

“We’re not signalling an opening here. We’re just signalling that Manitobans have given up so much – (they) haven’t been able to see the people they care about in so long, even outdoors,” Roussin said.

He said while the orders allow Manitobans to gather in small groups, he urged people to keep their contacts down as much as possible.

The province recommends physical distancing and mask use in outdoor settings for people from different households.

“We still are going to rely heavily on Manitobans to follow the fundamentals – to follow the spirit of what this represents for these next few weeks.”

Roussin said Manitoba does have plans for reopening the province in the near future, but said they rely on lowered COVID-19 case counts and increased vaccination rates. 

This is a developing story. More to come.

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