Province shuts down non-critical businesses for two weeks, case number jumps to 96 Two children under 10 test positive for COVID-19

The chief provincial public health officer ordered more non-critical business to close and announced 24 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total in Manitoba to 96.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/03/2020 (860 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The chief provincial public health officer ordered more non-critical business to close and announced 24 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total in Manitoba to 96.

“The threat to public health cannot be prevented, reduced or eliminated without taking special measures,” Dr. Brent Roussin’s written order states.

Until this afternoon, the province had not provided detailed age and gender breakdowns for Manitobans testing positive for the coronavirus.

A chart posted on the government’s website shows that Manitoba’s 96 cases include a boy under the age of five and a girl between five and nine years old. 

A total of 25 people testing positive have been in their 20s — 17 women and eight men — the most of any age group.

The new order is in effect from Wednesday to April 14 and means bars and hair salons will have to close but Liquor Marts and grocery stores are still in business — as long as they follow social-distancing guidelines — and restaurants can remain open, but only for takeout and delivery, Roussin said Monday at a press conference with Premier Brian Pallister.

Chart of cumulative daily positive tests for COVID-19 in Manitoba


“This announcement is not an easy thing to do but it’s the right thing to do,” Pallister said. He could not say how many businesses would be affected by the new 14-day order, which was accompanied by a 74-point list of which type of businesses are considered critical.

They are listed as: supply chains moving goods; retailers and wholesalers selling goods needed for the “safety, sanitation or operation of residences and businesses”; accommodations offering rental units; maintenance businesses; telecommunication companies; communications companies such as news media outlets; transportation services; manufacturing and production; agriculture and food production; construction; finances; natural resources; environmental services; utilities and public works; research; health care; justice; professional services such as engineers, lawyers and veterinarians; and other businesses such as tax preparers, temp agencies and lawn-care outfits.

“We want to ensure we have the necessary goods and services still available to Manitobans while enhancing our messaging about social distancing,” Roussin said.

While restaurants can’t allow customers to dine in, they can offer takeout and delivery service but must ensure customers waiting for food orders keep the required two-metre distance from each other, for example.

To arrive at a list of critical businesses, Roussin said they looked at other jurisdictions and looked at the types of businesses they included and excluded in their orders “and then we took time here to put a Manitoba lens on it, and we had a lot of engagement from many partners to look at what an appropriate list is.”

He said orders will be reviewed to see what’s working and what isn’t and if any changes need to be made.


Monday’s order replaces his order from last Friday and continues to limit public gatherings to no more than 10, including places of worship and family events such as weddings and funerals and excluding places where health care or social services are provided, including child-care centres and homeless shelters.

“We are seeing the ongoing transmission of this virus in other jurisdictions,” Roussin said.

“We need to continue to adapt our response to this virus. These measures are another step to limit transmission of this virus and to flatten the curve.”

The 14-day order will be extended if necessary, he said.

When asked if his government would help businesses that are forced to close and risk permanent closure because they can’t take on any more debt or avail themselves of federal support in time, Pallister said his government is waiting for more detail from the federal government.

“Certainly, other programming possibilities are on the table and being examined,” he said.

“We’re mostly focused right now on making sure we’re prepared as we can be to protect the health and well-being of Manitoba and of vulnerable Manitobans, in particular,” he said.

After the chief public health officer announced the new Public Health Act order Monday, the province announced it will authorize the sale of liquor with takeout and delivery meal service by licensed restaurants.

“These businesses have been significantly impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and by allowing this flexibility now, restaurants will be able to offer an additional service to customers when it is needed most,” Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton said in a news release.

The message from Manitoba health officials and political leaders got louder and more urgent Monday.

Roussin urged Manitobans not to travel, not even to the cottage.

“Right now is the time for social distancing,” he said. “Now is the time to stay home if you can. The other issue there is travelling to the cottage, to rural areas where you might be seeking health care should you need (it), could potentially overwhelm those areas, should you get ill.”

And Shared Health’s chief of nursing said cancer surgeries are being postponed if the delay won’t result in a negative outcome.

“We’re looking at each individual case,” Lanette Siragusa said. “We would not delay that surgery if it was going to result in a negative outcome.”

Critical businesses

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.


Updated on Monday, March 30, 2020 9:05 PM CDT: adds info and chart about age and gender breakdowns for Manitobans testing positive for COVID-19

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