Winnipeg area gatherings are shrinking more than ever, bars will close as of Monday

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The limit on gatherings will drop to five in the Winnipeg area as of Monday, according to the province – Manitoba has gone this far in its efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.The new restrictions will be in effect for at least two weeks and will apply to the City of Winnipeg and several surrounding municipalities. Collection limits will apply indoors and outdoors, said Dr Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, announcing a series of new, stricter rules.

Nightclubs, bars and stand-alone beverage halls will be closed, as will casinos, video lottery lounges and bingo halls in the greater Winnipeg area.

Restaurants, retail stores, museums and libraries will also be limited to 50 percent of their capacity, Roussin said. In restaurants, table groups will also be limited to five people and physical distancing must be in place.

The changes come as the number of daily cases increases in Manitoba, particularly in Winnipeg. The overall test positivity rate in the province on Friday was 5.2% and 6.8% in the Winnipeg area.

“We have to make this change, this sacrifice, for two weeks,” Roussin said on Friday.

“We have to make this change, this sacrifice, for two weeks,” to curb the rise in the number of COVID-19 in Winnipeg, said Dr. Brent Roussin, provincial director of public health on Friday. (David Lipnowski / The Canadian Press)

More businesses inside will also be required to keep records of people who visit to help with contact tracing, Roussin said, including theaters, museums, galleries, libraries and facilities. fitness.

The number of spectators at extracurricular activities and all sporting events will be reduced to 25% of the capacity of a site.

Roussin said the rationale for closing businesses like bars while leaving restaurants open, for example, rested on the spread of COVID-19 so far.

“A lot of this is based on where we’ve seen contacts, cases, and transmission events, so we really wanted to focus on those areas,” he said.

Strengthen the application

All of the new rules will be enforceable under the law and the province will work to strengthen enforcement, Roussin said.

The new rules can be extended beyond the initial two-week period if community transmission in Winnipeg does not decline.

“We know we can turn things around quickly. We have seen it before, ”Roussin said. He highlighted the success of the closures in the Prairie Mountain Health area over the summer.

No changes were announced to schools in the Winnipeg area on Friday. Roussin said public health had not seen much transmission in schools or daycares.

“We continue to watch this. Remember that the cases we see in schools are acquired in the community. We don’t see a lot of acquired cases in schools – in fact very few, ”he said.

“Schools and daycares have proven to be… quite safe. We see a lot of cases, but not a lot of cases that have been acquired there.

The new rules will not affect the capacity limits for faith-based gatherings – currently set at 30% of maximum capacity – or gyms and fitness facilities, which are at 50%. These limits apply to what is considered “the day-to-day business” of the facility, Roussin said, and not to events or other gatherings held at these centers.

The new restrictions come more than two weeks after the Winnipeg area was moved to the orange level, or restricted, of the province’s pandemic response system, and more than a week after the introduction of additional rules for authorized restaurants and bars in the area.

All licensed personal care homes in the Winnipeg area were moved to red, or critical, level on Thursday, which introduced new rules for nursing home admissions.

Manitoba reported its worst daily COVID-19 counts from the pandemic this week, including three consecutive days of record daily count of cases. On Thursday, the province announced its highest daily tally to date: 173 new cases, including 133 in Winnipeg.

The record-breaking streak ended Friday when the province announced 75 new cases, including 63 in Winnipeg.

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