Manitoba to reopen museums, indoor rinks, restaurants with limited capacity on Friday

Manitobans will once again be able to visit restaurants, gyms and arenas, as the province relaxes the partial lockdown it has spent months enforcing.

The new orders will reopen a sweeping range of businesses, services and activities at a tight 25 per cent capacity.

Restaurants, gyms, tattoo parlours, nail salons and libraries can all welcome Manitobans inside starting on Friday. Similarly, places of worship can welcome parishioners, but at a stricter 10 per cent capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower.

Restrictions are being eased beyond the ideas floated last week when officials were seeking public input.

More sporting activities can go ahead. Indoor facilities may operate, including rinks, gymnastics clubs and martial arts studios, but only for individual instruction. 

Museums, art galleries and yoga studios now have permission to open.

Restaurants only for households

The ban on indoor group training or classes now covers all athletic instruction, not only at gyms.

As well, the province provided more detail Tuesday on what type of personal service businesses can reopen, including those offering pedicures, electrolysis, cosmetic application, tanning and massage services.

But Manitoba won’t budge on who can dine together at a restaurant. The province will only allow household groups to share a table.

“We are proceeding with caution,” Premier Brian Pallister said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

The announcement of relaxed restrictions for the next three weeks comes as the province reveals the COVID-19 variant first found in the United Kingdom has been discovered in Manitoba.

The loosened rules come after Manitoba recently reported low case counts, following hundreds of cases a day starting last October.

The new orders will also open outdoor rinks for casual sports as well as organized practices and games, but no multi-team tournaments.

The province will let self-help groups that assist people dealing with addictions hold meetings at the same 25 per cent capacity limits.

Photographers and videographers can work at weddings or offer their expertise to individual clients or groups residing in the same household.

The film industry can operate fully, provided they follow physical distancing guidelines and other safety precautions. 

Places of worship face the strictest capacity limits of any service, business or activity that can reopen.

On Monday, the province continued a streak of double-digit daily case counts, with 53 cases reported. There were 80 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday and 82 cases reported on Saturday.

The number of people in intensive care was the lowest it has been since late November. 

The province slightly eased restrictions on Jan. 23, allowing retail stores and some service providers like barbershops and hairstylists to reopen at 25 per cent capacity, after Manitobans lived through months of the strictest partial lockdown of the pandemic.

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