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May 4, 2020

The Province of Manitoba's Multi-Phased Plan to Reopen Businesses

Further to the Manitoba government’s news release on April 29, 2020, regarding “Restoring Safe Services,” a new Order has been issued pursuant to The Public Health Act

Q: What does this mean for my business?

A: Effective Monday, May 4, 2020, some non-essential businesses will have the option of re-opening under strict guidelines. The approach is described as “a methodical, phased-in approach to reopening businesses.”

An important consideration is that all businesses will be required to limit occupancy to 50% of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres, whichever is lower. These requirements will be enforceable under public health orders.

The following non-essential business will have the option to reopen during “Phase 1”:

1. Therapeutic and health care services

  • Effective May 4, and at the further direction of their respective regulatory bodies, regulated health professionals, such as dentists, dental hygienists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, optometrists and podiatrists will no longer be limited to providing urgent and emergent care. In addition, individuals who provide therapeutic massage and acupuncture services may resume providing those services.
  • Clients must maintain a distance of at least two metres, except when receiving service or for brief exchanges.

2. Retail businesses

  • Effective May 4, retail businesses, such as clothing and shoe stores, jewellers, tailors, flower shops, sporting good/adventure stores, vaping supply shops, boats dealers, ATV and snowmobile dealers, gift, book and stationery stores, jewelry and accessory stores, toy stores, music, electronic and entertainment stores, pawn shops, pet groomers and similar businesses may reopen if occupancy levels are maintained in order to allow staff and customers to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges.

3. Restaurants — patio/walk-up services restored

  • Effective May 4, public food establishments, such as restaurants, cafeterias, cafes and similar businesses will remain closed, except for delivery, take-out and patio or walk-up food service. Patrons must maintain a distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges.

4. Hairstylists and barbers

  • Effective May 4, hair stylists/barbers may reopen if businesses maintain an occupancy level to allow staff and customers to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres, except when receiving services or brief exchanges.
  • Services will be limited to hair washes, cuts, colouring and styling. No other personal services will be allowed.

5. Museums, galleries and libraries reopen

  • Effective May 4, museums, galleries and libraries may reopen if the organization can maintain an occupancy level to allow staff and customers to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges.

6. Outdoor recreation and campgrounds reopen

  • Effective May 4, playgrounds, skate parks, golf courses, tennis courts, driving ranges and other similar recreation facilities may reopen if people maintain a distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges. 
  • Campgrounds, yurts and vacation cabins may open if people maintain a distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges. This requirement will be enforceable under the public health order.
  • Day camps may operate if they maintain occupancy and activity levels that allow people to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres, except for brief exchanges. The maximum number of children per site is 16. Overnight camps are not permitted.

Q: My business is not on this list or under the Public Health Order. When can it be reopened?

A: The Manitoba government has advised that if results during or at the end of Phase 1 or any future phases are not favourable, the province will not proceed with further easing of secondary public health measures and may reintroduce others. If disease activity remains low, it will give serious consideration in mid-May to reducing the restrictions on group size.

The government’s proposed Phase 2 is to begin no earlier than Monday, June 1, 2020. It is anticipated that critical public health measures and travel restrictions will remain. This includes mandatory self-isolation upon one's return to Manitoba and limits on travel to the north. Any changes made in this phase will depend on the evaluation of the previous phase. This may include:

  • expanding public gatherings
  • restaurants — dine-in services restored
  • film production reopened
  • non-contact children's sports restored

As details concerning future phases of restoring services throughout the province are made available, we will update this resource. Additional information can be found on the Manitoba government’s website.

Q: Do businesses have to continue to maintain social distancing measures?

A: Yes. The provincial government has indicated that “All businesses and venues will be required to continue following social distancing and stringent cleaning practices to protect both employees and customers.”

Q: What enforcement mechanisms exist under The Public Health Act or its Orders?

A: Public health and state of emergency orders for businesses will be enforced by public health inspectors, liquor, gaming and cannabis authority inspectors, occupational health and safety officers and by-law officers. Police, as well as provincial and First Nations peace officers, will enforce these orders related to public gatherings and self-isolation.

Park patrol officers, conservation officers and other park staff will also enforce these orders in provincial parks starting May 8th and park attendants, interpreters and beach safety services will provide education and monitor compliance.

Penalties for violations for individuals or corporations under The Public Health Act range from fines of up to $50,000 or $500,000 and/or six months or up to a year imprisonment. Tickets can also be issued for violations under any of the orders in the amount of $486 for individuals and $2,542 for corporations.

Officials will continue with the system of escalating enforcement, including education, warnings and tickets.

Q: When can I travel?

A: Critical public health measures and current travel restrictions will remain. This includes mandatory self-isolation upon one's return to Manitoba and limits on travel to the north.

We are available.

We recognize the significant economic and personal consequences facing our clients at this time. All our lawyers are available and we’ll do everything we can to help.

Resource posted April 30, 2020, with a report from Gwen Muirhead

 

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