With high numbers of daily COVID-19 cases, the province of Manitoba unveiled its strictest set of health orders to date on Thursday.
As of 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 20, people living in a residence can no longer admit others who do not live with them into their home.
Retailers will not be allowed to sell items deemed non-essential as of 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 21.
"The public health orders introduced when Manitoba moved to Critical (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System were the most restrictive we had introduced since the beginning of this pandemic," Premier Brian Pallister said in a release. "However, despite those orders and strong recommendation from Dr. Roussin to ‘stay home’ at this critical point in our fight against COVID-19, too many Manitobans are gathering or shopping for non-essential purposes and creating a greater risk to public health. We are now at a point where even tighter restrictions are needed to significantly limit social contact in order to protect one another."
Exceptions to the new rule for homes include people offering healthcare, personal or home care services, parental or guardian visits, people who are giving or receiving child care, tutors or other educators, people providing construction, renovation, repairs or maintenance services, people delivering items, people providing real estate or moving services or people responding to an emergency.
People who live alone may have one other person with whom they share access to each other's homes. Those two people are the only ones allowed to visit each other's homes except in the case of the above exemptions.
Additionally, those delivering items may briefly enter the exterior of someone's home to drop off something.
Gatherings of more than five people at indoor or outdoor public places or the common areas of a multi-unit building are prohibited, excepting health care facilities or critical businesses. This is to allow small weddings, funerals and other gatherings of five people or less to proceed.
Retailers that sell items deemed non-essential must remove non-essential items from areas accessible to the public, physically prevent members of the public from reaching non-essential items and clearly display on signs or stickers what items are non-essential and non-purchasable.
They must be in compliance with the new rules as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21.
Businesses must limit the entry of members of the public to 25 per cent of their regular capacity or 250 people, whichever is smaller. They must ensure they are abiding by capacity limits and be able to prove they are abiding by capacity orders immediately if asked to do so by someone authorized to enforce public health orders.
Essential goods under the new health orders are:
• food, beverages and food preparation products;
• personal care products such as soap and dental care products;
• health-related products such as prescription drugs and vitamins;
• mobility or assistive devices;
• baby and child-care accessories such as diapers and formula;
• household cleaning products, safety devices, batteries and lightbulbs;
• outdoor winter apparel such as jackets and boots;
• personal protective equipment for the workplace;
• pet food and supplies;
• postage stamps;
• cellphones and cellphone accessories;
• parts and supplies for all types of motor vehicles and watercraft;
• major household appliances;
• hunting, fishing and trapping supplies;
• tools and hardware;
• materials for home maintenance, repair or construction;
• property maintenance products such as shovels.
Items considered non-essential are those not listed above, including toys, games, books, jewellery, perfume, sporting equipment, etc.
Businesses cannot sell non-essential items in person but may continue to sell them online and over the phone or arrange for remote pickup or delivery of those items.
Liquor and cannabis stores are not included in the orders and may continue to sell goods in-person and online.
These new health orders expire on Dec. 11.
For commentary from Premier Brian Pallister and chief provincial health officer Dr. Brent Roussin as well as local coverage, read the Friday edition of the Brandon Sun.
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