New public health orders expected next week in Manitoba: premier

New public health orders are expected next week in Manitoba.

Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday, saying these new restrictions will reflect the fact that Manitoba has achieved the vaccine milestone needed for the second phase of reopening, as well as the state of COVID-19 in the province.

Pallister noted that health officials recommend at least one incubation period (two weeks) between changing public health orders. The most recent orders went into effect on June 26.

“We want it to be over, all of us. But it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” the premier said.

“We’re already seeing countries around the world that are having bouncebacks of COVID as a result of variants of concern, for example. We’re seeing countries that had led the way early, now falling to the back of the pack, because people aren’t taking up the challenge of getting vaccinated and therefore the COVID risk remains and will grow.”

Pallister noted there is a balance when it comes to loosening restrictions, and that it is not an easy process to make the decisions.

He said to determine the latest round of public health orders, the province will preview recommendations and then provide some opportunity for consultation.

“I think everyone wants their life back, but we all don’t want a yo-yo effect,” Pallister said.

He said the province’s next steps will be “conservative” and will keep “caution in mind.” He added that the health orders will incorporate what the province has learned throughout the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, 75.1 per cent of eligible Manitobans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 51.5 per cent have received both doses.

Under Manitoba’s ‘4-3-2-One Great Summer’ reopening plan, certain vaccine milestones need to be achieved by certain dates in order for the province to loosen restrictions.

Manitoba reached the second vaccine milestone nearly a month early, as the initial goal was to have 75 per cent of Manitobans with one dose and 50 per cent with two doses by the August long weekend. The second phase of reopening could lead to businesses opening at 50 per cent capacity or more.