Sweeping restrictions announced for Manitoba, will go into effect May 9

Gyms, in-person dining in restaurants, bars, patios, personal services closed, all indoor gatherings barred until May 30: province

A new, stricter round of restrictions was announced for Manitoba May 7. As of May 9, restaurants, bars, patios, gyms, museums and other services will be closed by provincial decree.

The restrictions will be in effect until May 30 - three weeks from when the restrictions go into effect.

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Under the new health orders, gyms and fitness centres will be closed, as well as casinos and VLTs. Outdoor gatherings on public property are limited to five people including household members. No gatherings of any size, whether they're outdoor or indoor, are allowed on private property under the new restrictions. 

Restaurants, bars, patios, food courts and similar areas will be unable to have in-person dining, but can provide take-out and delivery. Museums, galleries, libraries, personal services like hairstylists and nail salons, community, cultural and religious gatherings and indoor sports and recreation have all been shut down for three weeks under the new orders. Dance, theatre and music schools, as well as day camps, are also closed.

Outdoor sports and recreation will be limited to practices, with five people at most allowed to participate. Retail locations are allowed to open at 10 per cent capacity or 100 people maximum, with shopping malls allowed to reopen to only 10 per cent capacity. Self-help gatherings, such as support groups, are allowed to remain open but can only operate with a maximum of 10 people.

No changes are included to movie theatres and concert halls (which are to remain closed) or for weddings and funerals (which are allowed with up to 10 people plus any officiants and a photographer). Drive-in events or services are allowed to go ahead. No changes to schools and in-class learning was not mentioned in the new health orders.

Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin, a week after announcing a previous round of restrictions, announced the changes were due to spiraling COVID-19 case numbers and variants of concern.

"Tonight, we're issuing even more stringent public health orders to stem the rising number of COVID-19 cases," Roussin said.

"We've expressed in the past the need to implement in these times of rising case counts and strain on our health care system, that these public health orders can't be written to guide every aspect of our lives. We know we all need to make personal changes to reduce the amount of contacts that are outside our household and we need to act now. I know that Manitobans have done this before, I know we've been doing this for now 15 months, but we need to continue our efforts to keep these numbers down."

On May 7, Manitoba announced 502 new cases of COVID-19 and confirmed more than 300 recently found COVID-19 cases were variants of concern. More than 200 people in Manitoba hospitals, as of May 7, have tested positive for COVID-19. In the past five days, almost 10 per cent of Manitobans who have been tested for COVID-19 have tested positive. While case numbers are climbing fast in Winnipeg, numbers are declining in the Northern Health Region, where as of May 7, 282 people are listed as active COVID-19 cases, the fewest in the region since last November.

Roussin said the health orders are meant to, as previous orders were intended to do, cut down on gatherings and possible contacts that allow COVID-19 to spread. 

"Today's case numbers are certainly going in that wrong direction. In the latter part of this week, we've seen a dramatic rise in cases and that's translating to a dramatic rise in ICU numbers, " said Roussin.

"These are some of the highest numbers we've seen in our 15 months. We have to take these strong measures now to protect our health care system, to protect Manitobans. Everybody has that role to play right now. Everyone can, today, reduce the number of contacts we have outside the household."

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