Movie-goers 'so glad to be back' as restrictions loosen in Manitoba's Phase 4
14-day self isolation still required for travellers coming to Manitoba from eastern Canada
Manitobans are allowed back in movie theatres and some are able to visit loved ones indoors at personal care homes as the province rolled back more of its pandemic restrictions on Saturday.
Theatres are now allowed to have up to 30 per cent of their normal capacity or 500 people, whichever is lower. The same limits will apply for faith-based gatherings, the province says.
Those size limits are scaled down from Manitoba's Phase 4 draft plan, which proposed capping attendance at 50 per cent of venue capacity.
Size limits or not, David Wiebe was so happy to be back at the movies, he went and saw two in one day.
"I'm just so glad to be back. It's almost like you miss it more because you couldn't have it," he said.
Because the pandemic stalled a lot of work on films, many theatres are showing old favourites. Jennifer Robinson was at Silver City Polo Park where she saw the 2013 film Gravity.
"I love the movies and I've missed them so much during COVID," Robinson said.
"I was worried theatres wouldn't reopen and that movies would be moving to streaming and that kind of thing, so that's another reason I'm really happy."
Robinson says she plans to come back to watch Steven Spielberg's famous 1975 nail-biter Jaws.
She said the theatre was relatively quiet, but she doesn't mind.
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"There's always the annoying people who want to talk or who are on their phones," she said.
"Maybe that will be a little bit better because there will be less people around."
Wiebe says he wants to make sure he can keep coming back to the theatre.
"I did bring my mask and I'm just a little bit more cautious because the last thing we want to do is lose this privilege," he said.
Cineplex says all auditoriums undergo a deep cleaning every night, and plenty of hand sanitizers are now available in the lobby and game rooms.
All employees are required to wear masks and it is asking customers to wear a mask too.
Changes to care home visitation
Proposed changes to visits at long-term and personal care homes also moved forward as of this weekend.
Residents can designate two support people who can both visit their room indoors, for as long as they like.
The province says despite the precautions in place, visiting these homes is not "risk-free."
All visitors must be symptom-free, and must wear a mask, and go straight to the resident's room without lingering in any other areas.
Self-isolation measures persist
Not all of the proposed changes in the Phase 4 draft plan were accepted.
The draft plan, which was released last week, had proposed relaxing the 14-day self-isolation requirement for travellers from eastern and southern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
But the province had almost 25,000 responses to an online survey asking for feedback on the proposals, and many weren't in favour of that, so that part of the plan was postponed.
The province also proposed increasing maximum sizes for public gatherings, but that plan is also on hold for now.