he Manitoba government may reopen casinos and movie theatres, raise caps on public gatherings, and lift COVID-19 restrictions on inter-provincial travellers as soon as Saturday in the Canadian province.
The government released a draft plan Tuesday for its fourth phase of reopenings following the initial clamp down as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada. Premier Brian Pallister said Manitoba’s low case numbers have paved the way for easing restrictions, The Canadian Press reports.
Pallister’s new plan, subject to public consultation over the next few days, would see casinos and movie theatres be allowed to open their doors for the first time in months, at 50 percent capacity. Physical distancing, and frequent and enhanced cleaning and wiping of surfaces would be required. Public gathering limits would rise to 75 from 50 for indoor events and to 250 from 100 for outdoor functions.
The plan also proposes lifting the 14-day self-isolation requirement for all domestic travellers. Currently, anyone entering Manitoba from the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, as well as Ontario communities east of Terrace Bay are required to self-isolate for two weeks. Pallister said Manitoba is the only province outside the Atlantic region with such a rule for domestic visitors, and doing away with it can be done safely.
Manitoba has recorded 366 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases to date — a lower rate than most other provinces. Seven people have died and 41 cases remained active Tuesday. The province had dropped to one active case on July 13, but has seen an outbreak on a few Hutterite colonies in recent days and a couple of positive tests among international travellers.
The Opposition New Democrats said the government should hire more nurses and child-care workers as more businesses open up, and also consider a greater focus on masks.