Manitoba Bans In-Store Sale of “Non-Essential” Items
WINNIPEG – The province of Manitoba has moved to clamp down in efforts to slow the growth of COVID-19. This includes restrictions on gatherings in public buildings, and private homes. It also includes serious restrictions on retail stores and what people can purchase.
The decision comes after today’s COVID-19 numbers that include eight more deaths in the province.
Public health officials advise eight additional deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported today that include:
• a male in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at the Keekinan Centre;
• a male in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home;
• a male in his 70s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at Rest Haven Nursing Home;
• a female in her 80s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home;
• a male in his 80s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at Rest Haven Nursing Home;
• a female in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home;
• a male in his 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region and linked to the outbreak at the Gilbert Plains personal care home; and
• a female in her 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region and linked to the outbreak at the Gilbert Plains personal care home.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 14 per cent provincially and 13.7 per cent in Winnipeg, and 475 new cases of the virus have been identified as of 9:30 a.m., bringing the total lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba to 12,482.
Today’s data shows:
• 12 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;
• 55 cases in the Northern health region;
• 13 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
• 124 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
• 271 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
The data also shows:
• 7,629 active cases and 4,655 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19;
• there are 263 people in hospital with 43 people in intensive care; and
• the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is 198.
Laboratory testing numbers show 3,269 tests were completed yesterday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 321,853. Case investigations continue and if a public health risk is identified, the public will be notified.
Premier Pallister and the Public Health Officer, Dr. Roussin announced the new measures today.
“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,” says Pallister. “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.”
The updated orders will further restrict gatherings at private residences, including a home, cottage or other vacation property, with some exceptions to allow child-care, health-care and home care services, tutoring services, construction or repairs, or to respond to emergencies.
In addition, exceptions will be made for those who live on their own to have one other person visit their home.
In addition, people are prohibited from assembling in a gathering of more than five people at any indoor or outdoor public place including the common areas of a multi-unit residence, with the exception of a health-care facility or critical business that adheres to health protection measures.
These measures are intended to allow for weddings, funerals and baptisms to take place with a capacity limit of five people. The province also recognizes the significant physical and mental health benefits from outdoor activities.
A retail business may open but may only sell only essential items in person, and must ensure compliance with capacity limits (25 per cent the usual capacity of the premise or 250 people, whichever is lower) and implement measures to ensure physical distancing. Retailers can continue to sell essential or non-essential items online, by telephone or by remote means for delivery or curb-side pickup.
What is “Essential” in Manitoba
A retail business may open but sell only essential items in person. Retailers must ensure compliance with capacity limits — either 25 per cent of the usual capacity of the premise or 250 people — whichever is lower.
Retailers must also implement measures to ensure physical distancing. Retailers can continue to sell essential or non-essential items online, by telephone or by remote means for delivery or curb-side pick-up. A list of essential and non-essential items are set out in the orders as below.
- Products related to food preparation or storage such as aluminum foil, saran wrap and food containers
- Personal care products such as soap and skin care products, hair care products, dental care products, eye care products, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, razors and shaving cream
- Health-related products such as prescription drugs, over the counter medication, vitamins and supplements, birth control and first aid products
- Mobility or assistive devices, such as wheel chairs, walkers, canes, splints and similar products or supplies
- Diapers, wipes, baby bottles and other infant feeding and nursing accessories, infant clothing and sleepers, car seats, cribs, strollers, infant carriers and monitors
- Household paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels
- Household cleaning products and supplies such as laundry detergent, dish soap, bleach, cleaning agents, mops and brooms
- Household safety and protection products such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers
- Batteries and light bulbs
- Winter jackets, snow pants, underwear, winter headwear, gloves and mitts, socks and winter boots
- Personal protective equipment and protective clothing for use in the workplace
- Cell phones and cell phone accessories
- Parts and supplies for all types of motor vehicles and watercraft
- Major household appliances
- Hunting, fishing and trapping supplies
- Materials, parts and components for the maintenance, repair or construction of residential or commercial building systems, including plumbing, electrical and lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation systems
- Products related to property maintenance such as shovels, snow blowers, sand and road salt
“The current trend of COVID-19 cases and wide-spread community transmission is unsustainable and causing significant strain on our health-care system,” said Roussin. “I can’t stress enough that Manitobans need to stay home in order to protect themselves and their loved ones, and halt the spread of this deadly virus. These new restrictions will help limit social contacts and the opportunity and motivation for Manitobans to leave their homes for non-essential purposes.”
The province recently announced a number of increased enforcement measures that will help uphold these new orders including a contract with G4S Canada to boost COVID-19 enforcement efforts to help protect Manitobans and ensure there are consequences for those who disregard public health and emergency orders.
Provincial employees are also dedicated to public health enforcement across the province including police, environment and conservation officers, public health and Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority inspectors, municipal bylaw officers, and security officers.
In all, almost 3,300 personnel across various enforcement agencies are empowered to enforce public health orders including the RCMP, municipal police agencies, the Health Protection Unit, Manitoba Conservation and Climate, Workplace Safety and Health, and the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority.