Manitobans will be prohibited from purchasing anything except essential items while shopping in person as of Nov. 20, the provincial government announced Thursday.
New public health orders will also restrict gatherings at private residences or in outdoor public places to no more than five people, with some exceptions.
“Too many Manitobans are gathering or shopping for non-essential purposes and creating a greater risk to public health,” Premier Brian Pallister said in a news release. “We are now at a point where even tighter restrictions are needed to significantly limit social contact in order to protect one another.”
Non-essential items, which include items such as jewelry, flowers, perfume, consumer electronics, sports equipment, books and toys, can still be purchased by telephone or online for delivery or curbside pickup.
Essential items include food and food preparation products, beverages, soap and dental care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, mobility devices, diapers and formula, cleaning products, safety devices, batteries, lightbulbs, winter clothes, pet food, parts for motor vehicles and boats, tools and hardware, property maintenance items like shovels, major household appliances and supplies for hunting, fishing and trapping.
The restrictions do not affect stores that sell alcohol and cannabis products.
Stores will also be required to devise a system to ensure that they are at no more than 25 per cent of regular occupancy or 250 people, whichever is lower, and to provide information about how many people are currnetly in the business when asked by someone with the authority to enforce public health orders.
Weddings, funeral and baptisms will be limited to no more than five attendees and the only people allowed to enter private residences include those who receive or provide childcare or educational instruction, parents or guardians visiting children they do not normally live with, workers doing construction, renovations or repairs, as well as delivery persons, emergency care personnel, and those providing real estate or moving services or health care, personal care or home care services. People who live alone may have one person they regularly interact with visit them and are also allowed to visit that same person at their home.
These restrictions do not apply to health care or social services facilities or schools.
“The current trend of COVID-19 cases and wide-spread community transmission is unsustainable and causing significant strain on our health-care system,” said chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent 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.”