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Manitoba Government Accelerating Plan to Reduce Public Health Restrictions. Doctors Manitoba Encourages Cautions

On February 15, Manitoba will be reducing public health restrictions, a provincewide shift to Yellow (Caution) level under pandemic response system.

According to a statement released by the Manitoba government, with critical COVID-19 indicators stabilizing or improving, Manitoba is moving forward with a plan to reduce public health restrictions further. Adjustments will be made as need said, Premier Heather Stefanson.

“I want to thank Manitobans who have made personal, professional and financial sacrifices over the past two years and have done their part by getting vaccinated and following the fundamentals. It is because of Manitobans’ collective efforts and dedication, compassion and willingness to protect one another that we are able to move forward once again to lift restrictions and allow Manitobans to get their lives back.”

New public health orders will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, moving all of Manitoba to the Yellow (Caution) level under the Pandemic Response System. Capacity limits will be 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 will be removed for outdoor public gatherings but will be limited to 50 people indoors unless proof of vaccination is required. Young people ages 12 to 17 participating in indoor sports and recreation will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination or recent testing. There are no changes to retail and personal services.

As of Feb. 15, close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate. Public health continues to recommend self-isolation for people who live in a household with others who have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19, but it will no longer be required. Additionally, public health will remove 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.

Effective Feb. 15, schools will return to Yellow (Caution) under the Pandemic Response System, which requires cohorts in kindergarten to Grade 6. Masks are required indoors for staff and students but will not be required during physical education classes. Medical masks will be recommended but no longer required for school staff.

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

With this announcement, Doctors Manitoba released its own statement, commenting it’s essential to be cautious to protect our hospitals and ensure a backwards slide doesn’t end up making the Omicron wave last longer.

“Doctors strongly recommend for all Manitobans to continue following public health COVID-19 guidance even if it is no longer reflected in a government restriction. We also strongly recommend all eligible Manitobans get vaccinated, including a booster shot. Only about 40% of all Manitobans have received their third dose, which is much lower than Denmark and the UK lifting restrictions.”

The statement adds this pandemic will eventually end, but reaching that end will be quicker by not taking unnecessary risks, being cautious, and supporting and protecting each other.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

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