Chief public health officer outlines exemptions to restrictions on travel to the north

Ban on non-essential travel north of the 53rd parallel goes into effect Sept. 4

Manitoba chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin provided more information about the second public health order restricting travel into Northern Manitoba at this Sept. 3 news conference.

The ban on non-essential travel north of the 53rd parallel and into remote communities not connected to the provincial highway system by all-weather roads takes effect Sept. 4 but Roussin noted there are numerous exemptions. These include residents of Northern Manitoba and people moving permanently into the region as well as employees of federal and provincial governments, Crown corporations, other government agencies or child and family services agencies.

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“Our northern travel restrictions have never impacted the travel within Northern Manitoba nor has it impacted the travel of northern residents outside the north,” said Roussin.

Travel restrictions do not apply to health care providers travelling to provide health care services or people travelling into the region for emergency medical treatment. Educational professionals such as teachers and professors as well as students travelling to attend post-secondary institutions are also exempt from the travel ban. People who own or work for a business who are travelling to deliver goods or public services or to operate business are free to enter the region, as are people travelling for a trial or other judicial proceedings and people travelling to the north as part of their parenting arrangements.

Visitors bound for cottages, cabins, provincial parks, campgrounds or hunting and fishing lodges are allowed to enter Northern Manitoba if they have no COVID-19 symptoms but are expected to limit their use of local services while travelling and staying at their final destination. Tourists are also allowed to visit Churchill, provided they travel there as directly as possible, whether by flying, driving and then flying, or by taking the train. 

Anyone travelling into Northern Manitoba by public transportation including planes, trains and buses must wear non-medical masks while en route.

Roussin reminded people coming into Northern Manitoba to respect restrictions enacted by First Nations and that people coming into Manitoba who are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival are not allowed to travel to Northern Manitoba or a remote community until their self-isolation period is complete.

Roussin announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 at the press conference, including 13 in Winnipeg, six in the Prairie Mountain health region and one in the Interlake-Eastman health region. He also said that two more Manitobans had died from the virus since yesterday. One was a woman in her 80s and the other was a woman in her 90s. Both cases are connected to a COVID-19 outbreak at Bethesda Place care home in the Steinbach health district.

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