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Manitoba reduces public

health restrictions

      PREMIER STEPHANSON
 
Premier Heather Stefanson announces the reduction of public health restrictions in a news conference on February 11, 2022.

In a news conference held February 11, Premier Heather Stefanson with Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, announced that Manitoba would continue to adjust its COVID-19 response in the coming weeks, including requirements for proof of vaccination.

New public health orders came into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, February 15 that moved all of Manitoba to the Yellow (Caution) level under the Pandemic Response System.

Capacity limits have been eliminated in venues such as restaurants, licensed premises, entertainment venues, indoor and outdoor sporting events, and casinos, as well as gatherings at private residences. Capacity limits are removed for outdoor public gatherings but are limited to 50 people indoors unless proof of vaccination is required. Young people ages 12 to 17 participating in indoor sports and recreation are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination or recent testing. There are no changes to retail and personal services.

Also, as of February 15, close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 are no longer required to self-isolate. Public health continues to recommend self-isolation for people who live in a household with others who have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, but it is no longer required.

Additionally, public health has removed self-isolation requirements for individuals entering the province. However, anyone travelling from international destinations will continue to be required to meet requirements under the federal Quarantine Act. Public health orders restricting travel to northern Manitoba remain in place.

The premier claimed that with key COVID-19 indicators stabilizing or improving, Manitoba was moving forward to further reduce public health restrictions

The province plans to remove proof of vaccination requirements effective March 1. In some settings, such as personal care homes, shelters, and health-care facilities, public health officials have continued to work with facilities to notify close contacts. Effective March 8, this will no longer occur. Mask requirements and other restrictions will be lifted effective March 15.

“Based on the information and data monitored by public health, we are seeing strong signals that the Omicron wave has peaked and is now having a reduced impact here in Manitoba,” said Dr. Brent Roussin. “As a result, it’s prudent to continue to reduce our public health restrictions. I want to remind Manitobans that this is an important time of transition, and we still need to get vaccinated, wear a mask and do simple but important things like washing our hands and staying home when we are sick. We need to remain cautious about gathering sizes, even as we shift from public health rules to public health recommendations.”

In reaction to the February 11 announcements, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew, acknowledged that many Manitobans will welcome fewer restrictions, but he views the government’s decision to be political motivated rather than based on health data.

“This is Premier Heather Stefanson giving in to the convoy,” he said, referring to anti-vaccination protests by truckers. “This is capitulation.”

Kinew said he was also concerned that data on which the province based its accelerated lifting of restrictions was not released.

“The fact that the premier would not share data, or really any proof for the rationale as to why she’s making the announcement today, should cause you great concern and lead to skepticism for the motivation of that announcement,” he said.

For more information about COVID-19 and the pandemic response in Manitoba, visit manitoba.ca/covid19.