Manitoba reaches vaccine target needed for second phase of reopening

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the Sperling Drive COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Barrie on May 20, 2021. (CTV)

Manitoba has officially reached the vaccination target that is needed for the second phase of reopening; however, it doesn’t necessarily mean restrictions will be eased early.

Last month, the Manitoba government released its ‘4-3-2-One Great Summer’ reopening plan, which outlines certain milestones that need to be reached by certain dates for the province to loosen restrictions.

Under the plan, if 75 per cent of eligible Manitobans receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 50 per cent get their second dose by the August long weekend then the province can enter phase two of reopening. The second phase of reopening could lead to businesses opening at 50 per cent capacity or more.

As of Tuesday, 75.1 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 years of age and older have gotten at least one dose, while 51.5 per cent have received both doses.

Despite surpassing the target weeks ahead of the August long weekend, it is not yet known whether this means the province will allow for an early reopening.

At a news conference last week, Premier Brian Pallister said caution is needed when it comes to reopening.

"I think it is just a very reasonable level of caution to make sure that we wait at least a couple of weeks—we just opened up on Saturday [June 26]," Pallister said.

He noted Manitoba entered the first phase of reopening on June 26, and the province needs to wait for at least one incubation cycle of COVID-19 to finish, which is two weeks, before restrictions are loosened even further.