Two dozen people protested COVID-19-related restrictions outside the Manitoba Legislature on Saturday afternoon.
Members of the group carried signs to repeal the public health orders that have required physical distancing and limitations on non-essential businesses for the past several months.
The messages slammed the science around the pandemic, supported anti-government sentiments and made Christian references to Jesus and God.
“You can go shop but you can’t go to church,” one sign read.
A group that calls itself Manitoba Together encouraged people to attend on its bare-bone website with links to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms and the Canadian Charter.
Attendees generally questioned the scientific basis of keeping a distance of at least 2 metres apart and physical isolation to prevent exposure and contain the novel coronavirus.
Protester Dixie Funk said she feels its unfair for some businesses and services to reopen but not others. Funk said she believes the way the government handled the situation caused undue panic.
“We need some government help to help the people rise above this, not stay stuck in the pit of fear,” she said.
Phase 2 of Manitoba’s re-opening strategy begins Monday, when most businesses and services will be able to reopen, with limitations.
Scientific data backing decisions, Dr. Roussin says
Two full incubation periods into the first phase of reopening, Manitoba’s chief public health officer said the numbers are “looking favourable” as the province moves into its next reopening stage.
But it’s too soon to go full-fledge, Dr. Brent Roussin said during an interview Friday with CBC News.
When deciding on reopening, Roussin said he looks at the rate of positive cases, the number of people in hospital with the illness, and the chains of transmission.
The fact that the virus isn’t spreading in the community is “a big factor,” he said.
“A lot of work goes into these plans, and they’re prudent, very cautious, but we have the ability to tailor back if necessary,” he said.
Roussin will continue to watch the health-care system for a possible “resurgence” of the novel coronavirus, circulating in combination with influenza, now or later this fall.
“We have to find ways to live with this virus, because we’re going to be dealing with this virus for quite some time,” he said.
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