Manitoba is now entering phase two of the province’s COVID-19 reopening plan, but officials are stressing the dangers of travel.
The last three cases of COVID-19 announced in the province have all been directly related to travel - two truckers and a temporary foreign worker have tested positive.
“We announced this one not necessarily to be a warning on any situation to Manitobans, just to highlight that our biggest risk is importation of virus,” said Dr. Brent Rousin, Manitoba chief provincial public health officer.
“In this case, everything was managed in an appropriate manner. We certainly want to continue with our reopening plans.”
Manitoba is tracking 10 active cases of COVID-19 as of June 1, according to the latest results from the province. Provincial officials will be looking to see four weeks of success before entering the next phase of recovery.
“I think Manitobans are learning how to live with this virus and will stay involved,” Roussin said.
“Let's try to limit the spread of it.”
Restrictions on northern travel have been loosened, but are still in place for the majority of potential travellers heading north of the 53rd parallel in Manitoba. Southern Manitobans can now drive directly to campgrounds or lodges, but are not allowed to interact outside of that. Northern Manitobans can travel south and return home, or travel within the north - as they’ve been able to do during the entirety of the restrictions. While travel is not as restricted for northern residents, health officials have urged to not travel unless necessary and to maintain social distancing.
No new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the Northern Health Region for almost two months.
With most businesses now allowed to operate, Roussin said enforcement will pick up, even if not every violation will receive a fine.
“It's very rare that a fine has to be levied,” he said.
“Most times it's just about educating and just helping places learn how they can comply with the orders.”
At least eight fines have been handed out to people travelling into northern Manitoba from the south for non-essential purposes.