Is Manitoba ready for Phase 4 of Restoring Safe Services?

The province’s plan to go ahead with Phase 4 of Restoring Safe Services for Manitoba’s Pandemic and Economic Roadmap for recovery has gathered different reactions from Manitobans. While Premier Brian Pallister said that re-opening the province is crucial in re-building the economy, the current surge in COVID-19 cases and Winnipeg winning the bid as the tentative hub the CFL season, have gathered mixed reactions from Manitobans, many being fearful and uncertain of the plan.

In a province’s telephone town hall on July 22 with Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, along with Cameron Friesen, Manitoba’s Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, and Ralph Eichler, the Minister of Economic Development and Training, Manitobans had the opportunity to ask questions and air their concerns.

“We are balancing the need to try to open our economy – open Manitoba – while combating this virus at the same time,” Roussin said, adding Manitobans may have to deal with the virus for more than a year.

The easing of travel restrictions was one of the main concerns brought up at the town hall. Under the proposed Phase Four, the province has removed the requirement to self -isolate for domestic travelers across Canada.

Once caller also raised concern on Winnipeg being the tentative hub for CFL. “We are concerned that we are actively inviting people from other provinces who have more cases into our province,” the caller said.

Roussin said that many restrictions will be in place should CFL takes place in Winnipeg, saying CFL will be working within a bubble. He added that CFL participants coming into the province will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and will be tested before coming to Manitoba. If negative, they will be allowed into Manitoba where they will be tested again and will be required for another seven day- self isolation.

“Then, and only then, will they be allowed to enter a restricted training camp – always remaining in the bubble for the entire season,” Roussin said. “We are getting a very tight bubble – everyone in that league has a lot riding on maintaining that bubble, so we are quite sure there will be great enforcement.”

Manitobans are encouraged to ask more questions and give more feedback on the Phase 4 reopening by completing an online survey on Engage Manitoba.

Survey and other proposed changes on Phase 4 can be found on Province of Manitoba | Restoring Services: Phase 4 – Draft Plan