Province of Manitoba Declares State of Emergency over COVID-19
Responding the to growing threat imposed by the coronavirus, the Manitoba Government is imposing a province-wide State of Emergency. Effective at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on March 20, 2020, and lasting for at least the next 30 days, gatherings of more than 50 people are no longer allowed.
No longer will people be permitted to gather either inside or outside in large groups, including religious gatherings. Weddings and funerals are also subject to the 50 person limit. Health Care and Social Services operations are not included in these closures.
Retail businesses are permitted to remain open, but precautions must be taken to ensure that people can observe the requirements of safe social distancing, meaning one to two meters of space between shoppers. With regard to the filling of prescriptions, medications will only be dispensed for a 30 day time span.
Related to that is a special restriction for restaurants, bars and theatres or other live-event venues. These places may continue to operate, but their occupancy is not to be more than 50 people or half of the location’s maximum occupancy is, whichever is less. Regardless of the numbers present, organizers must ensure safe social distancing is practiced.
The province has ordered closed all centres that cater to physical activities, such as gyms, fitness centres, athletic clubs and training facilities.
The order also means that all bingo and gaming events are cancelled. As of the writing of this information, we at NCI-FM are unsure if this includes out Saturday morning Mini Loonie Pot Bingo. Clarification has been requested from the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba and information they provide will be included once available. For the time being, we anticipate playing our regularly scheduled games on Saturday, March 21, 2020.
UPDATE: LGCA Manitoba confirms that the media bingo on NCI FM can continue. Please respect the social distancing requirements of the state of emergency when purchasing NCI FM Mini Loonie Pot Bingo cards. If you should choose to play, please do not make a special trip to the store for just a bingo card.
Backing up the closures are some hefty fines for violators. Individuals who contravene these health measures could face a fine of $50,000 and up to six months in jail for a first offence. Fines for businesses could be as much as $500,000.
As of the morning media conference, Manitoba remains with 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19. One person has been hospitalized because of their symptoms and is said to be in stable condition.
Also as a result of the declaration, all elective surgeries are being cancelled staring on Monday. Any operations necessary to treat cancer, trauma or other urgent matters will not be interrupted.
Because of the closures being mandated by the province, the government is making $27.6 million available to help daycares. Immediately, a fund of $18 million has been created for early-child care workers to offer in-home or community based child care.
This money will be paid out to eligible early childhood educators, up to $3000 per child. Several eligible individuals may combine to provide care for up to 12 kids in an appropriate community setting.
A $2 million trust is being established to provide capital for child-care providers so they can continue to offer safe and quality care. This fund will be administered by the Winnipeg Foundation and will help centres with 16 or fewer kids or home-based operations of 12 or fewer children.
Because the province is coming forwards with money to cover child care costs, all centres that will be closing for the next several weeks are being told to return pre-paid fees to parents who will not be able to access those services.
Further information on all COVID-19 related information from the Manitoba Government can be obtained at www.manitoba.ca/covid19.