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Some non-essential businesses in Manitoba will welcome back customers on Monday after shuttering services to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

However, the risk of transmitting the virus remains, provincial chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said, and Manitobans heading into public spaces have to follow new rules of engagement.

"We still need to be cautious," Roussin said Wednesday. "I don't think there’s any business that wants to be responsible for spreading the virus, and to themselves or to employees."

Starting May 4, the retail sector, including malls, can choose to allow the public back on to sales floors. However, occupancy will be reduced by half, and staff and customers must be able to keep two metres apart, except for brief exchanges.

Businesses must post signage promoting physical-distancing protocols and use floor markers for lines; maintain a single point of entry; ensure no gatherings of more than 10 people; provide hand sanitizer at entrances and exits; and have strict sanitization regimes.

Restaurants, cafeterias, cafés and similar businesses will keep their premises closed, but can offer patio or walk-up food service, in addition to delivery and takeout.

As with retail operations, physical distancing of two metres between individuals and tables must be maintained, signage and protocols posted, and cleaning stepped up overall, with tables and chairs sanitized between each customer, and occupancy cut in half.

Buffets are not allowed, and food and drinks have to be brought directly to customers. Ketchup and other condiments will also be off the table, literally. Condiments, menus, napkins, decor and more have to be removed from tables. Restaurants will not be allowed to refill drinks or replenish condiment containers.

People desperate for a haircut can book with their stylist for a trim starting Monday. Customers should expect to be asked about their health and will be refused if they have COVID-19 symptoms. Employees and customers are told to wear non-medical masks when close contact is involved.

Services are restricted to hair washes, cuts, colouring and styling, and appointments must be staggered. Salons and barbers have to follow many of the physical-distancing measures — signage, crowd control, and sanitization — in place for retail businesses.

"If you’re ill, stay home. So if you’re ill you shouldn’t be working, and if you’re ill you shouldn’t be going to get your haircut," Roussin said. "So these are these fundamental things. We’re going to need to continue to rely on Manitobans to adhere to that."

Museums, galleries, libraries, playgrounds, skate parks, golf courses, tennis courts, and driving ranges can reopen if people can maintain physical distancing, and are subject to extensive regulations.

Parks, campgrounds, yurts and vacation cabins can also reopen with restrictions. People should be prepared to bring their own toilet paper, hand sanitizer and personal hygiene products to provincial campgrounds, yurts and cabins. Vacationers are told to purchase gas in their home community and take additional precautions to limit contacts.

The province can issue tickets for violations up to $486 for individuals and $2,542 for corporations. Further details are available on the government's website.


Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.

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