Manitoba’s premier says he is considering a curfew to stop the spread of COVID-19 after a deadly weekend with hundreds of new infections.
Brian Pallister said he is giving it serious consideration after reports of large parties being promoted online in Winnipeg, even though the capital city has moved into the red zone on the pandemic response scale.
Pallister called for public feedback before making any decision.
“When we were abiding by the fundamentals, we were beating COVID. Some of us lost our way,” he said Monday. “Now COVID is beating us.”
Pallister asked Manitobans to cut their personal contacts 75 per cent for at least November, and details on increasing enforcement efforts to target gatherings are to be released later this week.
Manitoba reported 349 new cases on Saturday and more than 300 on Sunday, the majority in the Winnipeg health region.
There were 10 deaths on the weekend for a total of 75. Five of the most recent deaths were tied to an outbreak at the Maples Long Term Care Home in the city.
Also on Monday, newly tightened restrictions came into force, including the closure of restaurants and bars in Winnipeg.
Other restrictions include limiting capacity at most retail stores in Winnipeg to 25 per cent. Movie theatres must also close and sports and recreation programming is suspended.
Bars and restaurants in the Winnipeg region can only offer takeout and delivery. In the rest of the province, restaurants, bars and stores are limited to half capacity.
Religious services are capped at 15 per cent in the Winnipeg region and 20 per cent elsewhere.
Public gatherings across the province are capped at five people – a restriction that was recently implemented in the Winnipeg region only.
“The chief provincial public health officer urges Manitobans to not socialize with people from outside their household, to cut down the number of close contacts and avoid closed-in or crowded spaces,” the province’s daily COVID-19 update read Sunday.
Manitoba’s top doctor, Brent Roussin, announced the tighter restrictions on Friday, when officials reported 480 new infections, although they said many of the cases were delayed data collection from earlier in the week.
The restrictions are to be in place for at least two weeks and will be reassessed at that time.
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