'It makes a big difference': How loosened restrictions have been this weekend

The second phase of Manitoba’s reopening plan went into effect this weekend, and Manitobans have been enjoying the loosened restrictions.

Under the new phase, restaurants can operate at 50 per cent capacity for indoor and outdoor dining.

Bar Italia on Corydon Avenue has a full capacity of more than 200 people, but Managing Partner Rhea Collison said 50 per cent is still good for business.

“For me to go up to just over 100 (people), that definitely helps, it makes a big difference,” said Collison. “At 25 per cent we were running about 50 to 55 (people), that’s a little tougher to keep enough staff going and to make it worthwhile.”

In the second phase of Manitoba’s reopening plan, lounges can turn on their VLTs.

Collison said Bar Italia has seven VLTs, but she still put some precautions in place.

“We actually only operate half of them, so we still social distance between them, even though, if people can prove they're double vaxed I think they’re allowed to be next to each other.”

Museums, art galleries, concert halls, and movie theatres all got the green light to reopen this weekend at 50 per cent capacity for fully vaccinated Manitobans.

Executive Director for the Association of Manitoba Museums, Monique Brandt, said they were happy to be included in this phase of reopening, but some museums are in rural areas, and it might be challenging for those areas to verify if someone is vaccinated.

“(It’ll be hard to verify) if you don’t have wifi or internet at your site, or you have poor cell phone reception,” said Brandt. “So we just wanted some clarification on the specifics of how to confirm someone is fully immunized.”

Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin said following the fundamentals like washing your hands, physical distancing, and wearing a mask are still all required.

Most importantly, he said Manitobans need to get vaccinated

“Get vaccinated as soon as you can. We know that the vaccine has the benefit of protecting you, protecting the people around you, protecting Manitoba, and there’s additional benefits (for fully vaccinated people) as we reopen Manitoba,” Roussin said Wednesday.

Roussin said the current public health orders expire on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 12:01am.

Collison said Bar Italia is staying afloat, but Manitobans need to continue to support local.

“I’d really love to see people only ordering from restaurants they used to go sit inside at, because those are the ones that are suffering, especially ones that don’t have patios.”