What could a post-pandemic Manitoba look like?
Manitoba's COVID-19 case counts are dropping, with 36 cases recorded on Tuesday, and with the province reaching its second vaccine target for reopening almost a month early.
As the province continues to take the steps of getting COVID-19 under control, the question can be asked: what would a post-pandemic Manitoba look like?
On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, hinted the pandemic's days are numbered.
The province has already announced that as the summer progresses COVID-19 statistics won't be reported on a daily. It also hopes public health restrictions can disappear and be replaced with recommendations.
Virologist Jason Kindrachuk said some practices that could stay include increased hand washing and social distancing.
"These kinds of measures are important, but do we need to be doing them all the time? Certainly not. But we have to have them in our arsenal of things to be able to use to try and curb the spread of other infections moving forward," said Kindrachuk.
Pennyloaf Bakery owner Suzanna Gessler started implementing later start times for her employees, and says that won't change when the new normal begins.
"Maybe you're less likely to catch COVID or any other illnesses, so that's been something we have done and I don't think we'll be changing back, I don't think we'll be going back to the 8 a.m. start," said Gessler.
She added that she plans to keep the mask policy in place at her business until more people are fully vaccinated.
Kindrachuk also feels things like video conferencing and staying home from work when sick will also become more permanent.
Dr. Cory Baillie, a past president of Doctors Manitoba, hopes virtual visit with patients will also stick around.
"I'm a rheumatologist, many of my patients are elderly or are challenged with arthritis, it can be really difficult for them to come into the office," said Baillie.
Doctors Manitoba did a poll that shows 63 per cent of Manitobans had a virtual doctor's visit during the pandemic and 90 per cent were satisfied with the visit.
When it comes to what businesses could look like, Jonathan Alward with the Canadian Federation for Independent Business said customer and staff preferences will likely guide decisions.
"Certainly making sure their customers and staff feel as safe as possible is going to be paramount for them and that's going to determine how they proceed accordingly," said Alward.
He added the big question is what the government will mandate, noting that knowing the longer-term reopening plans could change business policies.