The province will also reinstate its mask mandate in all indoor public places starting Saturday, Dr. Brent Roussin said on Friday. Manitoba punched a hole in its vaccination card earlier this month when it removed the vaccination requirement for dining out indoors with non-household members, among other events and activities.
But now Manitoba is demanding proof of COVID-19 vaccination in more places than ever before, as the province responds to the threat posed by the impending fourth wave of the pandemic.
“The emergence of the delta variant has changed things considerably. Now public health officials tell us the pandemic is one of the unimmunized, ”Health Minister Audrey Gordon said at the press conference.
More than 406,000 Manitobans have not been vaccinated, including nearly 230,000 children who do not qualify, she said.
“We have to do everything we can to protect them from COVID-19, especially when they go back to school,” Gordon said.
The new vaccination mandate will impact restaurant customers inside and out. This is a stronger restriction than in early summer, when no proof of vaccination was required to access the patio or sit with household members.
In addition, indoor and outdoor sporting events and concerts are now exclusive to fully vaccinated people, as well as cinemas, casinos, bingo halls, ALV lounges, nightclubs and all other authorized premises. Guests wishing to visit a theater, dance, and indoor symphony events should also be vaccinated.
In a new change, proof of vaccination is also required to visit fitness centers, gymnasiums, and indoor sports and recreation facilities, with the exception of youth recreational sports.
Children 11 and under can attend fully immunized events if accompanied by a fully immunized adult.
Affected businesses, services and events will have no capacity limits due to limited access to fully vaccinated people, health officials said.
Health Minister Audrey Gordon said she was encouraged by the 76.2 percent of eligible Manitobans who are fully immunized and the 81.7 percent who received at least one dose, but higher rates are needed to fight the pandemic.
As announced earlier this week, the province will also require most healthcare workers, teachers and daycare workers to be fully immunized or be tested up to three times per week.
On Wednesday, the province reported more than 100 cases in a single day for the first time since June.
Modeling of the pandemic released this week suggests that Manitoba’s intensive care units could be overwhelmed within weeks if no health measures are put in place to control the spread.