Manitoba

How can non-essential businesses operate? Manitoba public health officials clarify

The public health order closing non-critical businesses is now in effect, and Manitoba's chief public health officer clarified on Wednesday exactly what that may mean for some of the affected establishments.

Public health order shutting the public out of non-essential businesses comes into effect

Manitoba's top public health official says non-essential businesses can operate within certain parameters under the public health order that came into effect Wednesday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The public health order closing non-critical businesses is now in effect, and Manitoba's chief public health officer clarified on Wednesday exactly what that may mean for some of those affected establishments.

Dr. Brent Roussin announced on Monday that many businesses, including bars, hair salons and massage therapy offices, would have to close and that restaurants would have to end dine-in service on Wednesday. The operations of some retail stores also are impacted.

Roussin clarified Wednesday that businesses that do not provide critical services can still operate within certain parameters.

Customers cannot purchase items on the business premises; they have to order items online, then pick them up at the curb, or have the items delivered. They may not order the goods at the business, nor enter for pickup, although curbside pickups are allowed.

Businesses can have staff on site if they practise physical distancing, and operations like receiving deliveries can continue.

Roussin used the following examples:

  • A garden supply centre can have staff on the premises to prepare flower beds and could sell plants online or by phone, but customers would have to pick up their items at the curb.
  • Hair stylists can have staff prepare products for sale, but customers would not be allowed in the business to purchase products.
  • Golf courses can have staff on site to prepare for opening, but no club members can play on the courses.

Public health inspectors will approach business owners who do not comply with the order, Roussin said.

"Most times that's effective," he said. "Barring that, then there are further orders and penalties under the Public Health Act that could be in place."

Public health officials announced Wednesday that 24 new cases of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have been identified in Manitoba, and there are early signs of community transmission.

The total number of probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province is now 127.

Four people are in hospital, with three of them in intensive care. There remains only one COVID-19 death in Manitoba.

Four people have recovered from the illness.


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