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Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin speaks at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Aug. 13, 2020.

David Lipnowski/The Canadian Press

Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer is making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces in Winnipeg, as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge in the capital city.

Dr. Brent Roussin said Friday there are 54 new cases of the virus in the province — 44 of them are in the Winnipeg health region.

In response, the city has been moved up to a code orange classification in the province’s pandemic response system.

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Indoor and outdoor gatherings are also be restricted to 10 people.

“The more contacts each of us has puts each of us at risk,” Roussin said.

“We need to ensure we are making careful choices about who we are spending time with, the nature of that time, as well as the amount of people.”

The mask mandate comes into effect on Monday. Roussin said it will be in place for at least a month.

The restrictions will also apply to communities in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region surrounding the city.

Earlier this week, the province’s top doctor said that in half of recent cases people had visited bars, pubs and restaurants.

Public health officials are consulting with the restaurant industry, Roussin said, and further restrictions could be coming.

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For now, restaurants and bars can be open but people must wear a mask when they aren’t seated at a table eating or drinking.

There have been 1,764 COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and 487 are currently active. Thirteen people are in hospital and six are in intensive care. Nineteen people have died.

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