Restrictions on household gatherings among new health orders in Manitoba

New health orders are coming to Manitoba as the holidays approach.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, and Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon announced the new orders which will include restrictions on household gatherings.

“I come today with a message that I didn’t want to have to convey and probably none of us wanted to hear,” said Roussin.

“The current COVID-19 case numbers, the facts about how quickly Omicron is being transmitted in many jurisdictions and that impending community transition of Omicron here in Manitoba is very, very concerning.”

Under the new rules, Manitobans will only be allowed to gather with 10 vaccinated people plus those living at the house indoors. If there are unvaccinated people, the limit is five plus household members.

Roussin said those under 12 are excluded from these rules.

The other orders include:

· Capacity limits of 25 per cent in indoor public areas or 25 people where proof of vaccine is required;

· Outdoor gatherings will have limits of 50 people or 50 per cent capacity;

· Gyms, movie theatres, libraries and museums will still have the vaccine requirements as well as a new 50 per cent capacity limit;

· Restaurants guests will only be served while seated and tables are allowed to only have a capacity of 10, while the restaurants themselves will have a 50 per cent capacity limit;

· Faith-based gatherings where proof of vaccine is required will have a 50 per cent gathering limit. If proof of vaccine isn’t required, the capacity limit will be at 25 per cent or 25 people;

· Indoor and outdoor sports will not have tournaments. Games and practices will be allowed and spectator capacity will be reduced to 50 per cent; and

· Large indoor events will be dropped to 50 per cent capacity.

Roussin said these actions are meant for the short term so that the long-term health of Manitobans can be protected.

“We have to take these steps now, even including restrictions that involve the vaccinated population. It is absolutely frustrating to be here again,” he said.

Roussin said while there are only eight confirmed cases of Omicron right now, there are a significant number of screened Omicron cases.

“From what we will see, it is very likely in the upcoming days we will clearly say that we have community transmission.”

Roussin added the province won’t be stopping Omicron, but these orders could help blunt the number of Omicron cases.

When asked about holiday gatherings, Roussin said people need to follow these orders during the holidays and those who may be at high risk.

“We all right now need to focus on reducing the amount of contacts (we have). I know right now this is really disappointing. We had an extremely disappointing holiday season last year and this one is disappointing as well.”

These health orders will take effect on Tuesday morning and will be in place until Jan. 11.

The new health orders can be seen below:

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