Phase Two: Continuing plan to reopen Manitoba’s Economy
With an average of fewer than one case of COVID-19 per day in Manitoba since the May 4 implementation of Phase One of the provincial economic reopening, the province is looking to allow additional activities to resume.
Premier Brain Pallister says “early and decisive actions along with the hard work from Manitobans” will allow for more children to be cared for in day cares, team sports to resume play, interior dining at restaurants and travel north of the 53rd parallel as part of Phase Two.
Also in the draft are plans to allow for nail salons, tattoo parlours, exercise facilities (gyms, pools, rinks, etc.), community centres, tanning salons and bars to reopen. Generally, these re-openings will have a limit of 50% of the business’s normal capacity.
When the province first published it’s economic recovery road map in late April, these activities were not expected to resume until at lease June 1. The date of implementation of changes from today’s draft of Phase Two wasn’t stated, but the premier didn’t rule out the changes coming sooner.
He did say that public health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and their input will be required before any changes are made.
While Pallister said again that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, the plan does allow for some use of education facilities in the upcoming months.
Once Phase Two goes into effect, teachers will be able to meet one-on-one with students, schools can be used for day camps and counselling will become available.
Concerning next year, the premier says additional teaching days are being considered to help students catch up from what was missed this year.
Starting school earlier, on August 31, is under consideration. The premier says this is a one-time only situation. The province is also looking at restructuring non-instructional days to be regular school days to help close the gap.
Pallister says that the education ministry will be speaking with teachers and their unions concerning these possible changes.
Not done with COVID-19
As part of the loosening of restrictions, the premier says an increase in coronavirus cases is expected. He also says that, if necessary, the changes can be rolled back and future phases can be delayed.
Today’s changes come in addition to two key changes announced on Wednesday: that groups may gather in as many as 25 people indoors and 50 outside, and that outdoor visitations will be allowed at personal care homes as soon as May 29.
The draft plan is available for viewing at: https://manitoba.ca/asset_library/en/proactive/2020_2021/restoring-safe-services-phase-2.pdf