17 October 2020 02:41
Starting Monday, the province will bring in more restrictions to get a handle on the surge of COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg. Due to the large number of cases over the past week, Manitoba is reducing gathering sizes from 10 to 5 people, and restaurants, retailers, libraries and museums will be limited to 50 per cent capacity. Some businesses — like bars, nightclubs, casinos and bingo halls — will be closed outright. Restaurateur Obby Khan, owner of Shawarma Khan and Green Carrot Juice Company said he wasn't overly surprised by the restrictions. "The case numbers are going up and we can't go into code red.
The one thing we all fear as restaurant owners and business owners is that if it's code red, we'll shut down again. Khan said while it 'sucks' that he's operating at 50 per cent, the big thing that needs to be emphasized is the messaging if Manitoba wants to fight the virus. "If you do those things, you can still go to businesses, you can still come eat a shawarma, you can still buy juice. "I think the big thing getting lost in the message is 'do the right thing and we'll get out of this OK'." Tweet This Khan said people still need to frequent local businesses — if they want those businesses to still be there when the province recovers — but to make sure they're doing it safely, according to health guidelines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma At a press conference following the province's announcement, Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman said the changes mean the city will be suspending in-home, non-emergency inspections starting Monday until further notice.The city says Winnipeggers who have scheduled inspections or appointments will be contacted in the coming days with alternative means to conduct their inspection, if possible.
There have been 18 new deaths reported since the beginning of the month, including 11 since last Thursday. It wasn't all rosy, however, as Manitoba's test positivity rate surpassed the 5% mark for the first time during the COVID-19 outbreak, settling at 5.2%. Winnipeg's test positivity rate reached 6.3% on Friday. Health officials identified seven additional cases in the Interlake-Eastern region, two more in both the Northern and Southern health regions, and one additional case in the Prairie Mountain Health region. WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Bars and casinos in the Canadian city of Winnipeg will close for two weeks and stores and restaurants will reduce their capacities to half, Manitoba health officials said on Friday, attempting to slow rising COVID-19 infections.
"These numbers show we have lost our way," he said. Health Minister Cameron Friesen said people became complacent this summer when Manitoba went weeks without a new confirmed infection. "There was too much high-fiving going on," he said. Ontario announced new measures that will take effect in York region, north of Toronto, beginning on Monday. The region will join the cities of Ottawa, Toronto and nearby Peel region in closing indoor dining, gyms, fitness centers, casinos and more. Average case counts have accelerated in Ontario despite limited testing capacity that may mean public health officials are missing some new infections. Quebec, the country's hardest-hit province with more than 6,000 deaths due to the virus, is seeing cases stabilize, after it closed bars, theaters and restaurant dining rooms in areas like Montreal this month. "Our efforts are paying off but we must continue if we want our cases to decline," Health Minister Christian Dube said. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Allison Martell in Toronto and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Richard Chang) WINNIPEG--In an effort to curb rising COVID-19 cases in Winnipeg, the province's top doctor has ordered more targeted restrictions, including reduced group sizes and the closure of casinos. On Friday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, announced new restrictions in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region will take effect on Monday, Oct. 19. "We need to make this change – this sacrifice for two weeks," Roussin said, adding Winnipeg needs to cut down on close contacts and community spread. These new restrictions include: Gathering sizes are being reduced to five people both inside and outside for both public and private gatherings. This does not include household members for private gatherings inside the home. Beverage rooms, bars, live entertainment facilities, casinos and bingo halls will be closed. Restaurants and lounges will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity with two metre distancing and table sizes no larger than five people. Retail businesses will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity but must adhere to the five-person group size limit in food courts and common areas Sporting events and after-school activities must reduce the number of spectators by 25 per cent of a site's capacity. Museums, galleries, and libraries must reduce capacity by 50 per cent, and must collect contact information for all attendees. Gyms and Fitness centres must collect contact information for all attendees. Those going to a gym or fitness centre must wear a mask unless they are doing physical activity. The restrictions will remain in place for at least two weeks. Manitoba's Health Minister Cameron Friesen said the province will reassess the restrictions after the two weeks. Roussin said health officials need to see case counts and the test positivity rate stop climbing and make sure there is no increased demand on the health care system before reducing the restrictions. "At two weeks we are going to need to either extend them or draw back – so we want to make it really clear that the intent of this is strictly time-limited." The province said these new restrictions are in addition to the current restrictions in place for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, including the mandatory mask use in all indoor public spaces, and reduced liquor service hours and noise restrictions at licensed facilities. The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region has been under the orange or restricted level on the province's pandemic response system since Sept. "These restrictions will all be enforceable under the law," Roussin said. "We've issued fines in the past when required and we will be looking at ways of stepping up enforcing efforts in the coming weeks." On Friday, Manitoba reported 75 new COVID-19 cases, 63 of which are in Winnipeg. This brings the total number of active cases in Winnipeg to 1,354. Roussin said the test-positivity rate in Winnipeg is now at 6.3 per cent. Since March, there have been 3,098 cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba and 38 deaths. "These numbers show we have lost our way," Roussin said. We know a lot of businesses, a lot of Manitobans, have stepped up right from the beginning and continue to, but we know these numbers affect us all." He said Manitobans should not need an order or restrictions in place to change behaviours. "We can act right now – right now today all Manitobans can protect themselves and the people around them," he said, adding people need to stay home when they are sick or even mildly ill. "We know that has contributed significantly to the case numbers that we see right now – is people not staying home when they are ill. Roussin said Manitobans need to get back to the fundamentals which include reducing close contacts with people outside your home, washing your hands, following physical distancing when outside your home, and wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible. 75 New Cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Friday WINNIPEG — Manitoba reported 75 new probable cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 3,173. Health officials say there are 1,582 active cases, 1,553 people have recovered and 25 people are in hospital, including five in the intensive care unit. Friday's cases include: • 7 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region • 2 cases in the Northern health region • 1 case in the Prairie Mountain Health region • 2 cases in the Southern Health region • 63 cases in the Winnipeg health region Any person concerned about their exposure to or risk of having COVID-19 no longer has to call Health Links — Info Santé to be screened for a test. Further information on COVID-19 can be found at Manitoba.ca/covid19.