After announcing 349 new cases Wednesday, the province’s chief public health officer said there have been reports of Manitobans travelling out of province to shop.
"It's disappointing to hear about people driving outside the province to do non-essential shopping. We've heard reports of driving to Yorkton (Saskatchewan) or to Kenora (Ontario) to do some shopping," said Dr. Brent Roussin, after which he sighed heavily.
"Again, our messaging has been really clear and the reasoning behind our messaging is really clear. There's a purpose beyond all these orders – it’s to save Manitobans' lives. Going around those orders puts Manitobans at risk."
He urged the public that he strongly advises against travel for non-essential reasons.
Meanwhile, according to CTV news story, such shopping expeditions are welcome. A headline from November 24 reads: "Out-of-province shoppers welcome in Yorkton following increased Manitoba COVID-19 restrictions."
Yorkton’s mayor, Mitch Hippsley, said the community of 18,000 is very lucky to have shoppers come to town.
"We just hope that they will follow the code of health law as in social distancing and masks and hand sanitizing and that goes without saying," Hippsley is quoted as saying.
Further, according to the CTV story, some business owners in Yorkton are not worried about the potential influx of out-of-province shoppers Manitoba’s restrictions may bring.
The Yorkton Business Improvement District (YBID) even echoed the city on its stance by encouraging Manitoba residents to shop local and follow health guidelines.
But Roussin repeated, as he does every day, that Manitobans are advised to stay home.
"Right now, non-essential travel… we’re advising strongly against it. We advise people to stay home. We have limits on essential items. We need to ensure Manitobans have access to essential items. But we don't want in-person, non-essential shopping."
Roussin said there are options besides travelling out of province: online shopping and curbside pick-up. "But, right now, we need to stay home as much as possible, which means not going out for non-essential reasons. Not traveling for non-essential reasons," he said.
"It’s really important to get this message, we have 303 people in hospital, 50 of which are in intensive care. We’re asking people not to travel unnecessarily."
He said, again, the purpose is to save lives.