Essential Health Services and the City of Winnipeg will maintain masking and social distancing measures, despite provincial public health orders no longer requiring them as of 12:01 am Saturday.
On Tuesday, the province announced that Manitobans will no longer be required to wear face masks in indoor public places. However, measures such as masks and social distancing are still strongly recommended by the Chief Public Health Officer, Dr Brent Roussin.
The city of Winnipeg released a statement on Friday saying that people visiting all facilities and vehicles run by the city will still need a mask. This includes Winnipeg Transit users, libraries, gyms and all other indoor and outdoor facilities.
The city says it will increase capacity in the coming weeks for fitness, library and aquatic facilities.
The statement also notes that the power to require masks exists under the authority of the CEO. The director of Winnipeg Transit has the power to require face masks on Winnipeg Transit vehicles, including Winnipeg Transit Plus vehicles, the city said.
Shared Health will also continue to use personal protective equipment (PPE), despite the change in provincial ordinances. These include hospitals, personal care homes and clinics, among other essential health services, a spokesperson said on Friday.
Other types of essential health services were not specifically included in the public health orders but will always follow the recommendations of Shared Health.
Manitoba Dental Association president and board chair Dr Christopher Cottick said throughout the COVID-19 pandemic they have used Shared Health policies as a template for their bylaws.
“Because dentistry is an essential health service, the dental association will not change our latest interim guidelines which continue to guide our members and their teams to continue to use physical distancing and wearing masks in our practices. “
He noted that the guidelines will be updated as changes occur.
Cottick adds that because of the delta variant, and not everyone is vaccinated, the association is convinced they should follow Shared Health’s guidelines and hopes that things will change when there are more. evidence and definitive indications that they may reduce directives.
Optometrists also ask patients to remain masked.
“We keep it in place, the main reason is the nature of the work,” said Brooks Barteaux, president of the Manitoba Association of Optometrists.
“You’re in close contact with people. It’s a special situation more than the grocery store where you could brush up against a person. It still didn’t seem like the time.”
Certain withdrawals of the mask mandate
However, the Manitoba Chiropractors Association will no longer require masks to be worn.
“The use or absence of masks should not be a barrier to accessing chiropractic care. To do so would be a violation of the MCA’s Patient Bill of Rights,” a memo told members.
The association said employees can still choose to wear PPE, but it is not mandatory, according to public health orders.
“While we recognize that some members may continue to use PPE, all members must respect the patient’s decision to wear or not to wear PPE.”
Employees of the local grocery store masked for at least a month
A local Winnipeg grocery store owner Munther Zeid said the province had phased out the use of the mandatory mask a bit too quickly.
“I think it’s a bit too early. I think we’re on the right track to see the numbers go down. I think it was a bit too quick, take off the masks right away,” said Munther Zeid , owner of Food Fare.
Zeid says three of the city’s five Food Fare stores will require employees to continue wearing PPE for the next 30 days. He says customers will have the option of having a mask, but he still encourages social distancing within the store.
“From the customer’s point of view, it’s optional. As long as they keep a little distance and do the right thing.
He says if the provincial warrant requires distancing, they will enforce it again, but for now that’s at the client’s discretion.
“They’ve been watching each other lately and have done a really good job on this. We’re going to continue to do that. We’re not going to apply six feet,” Zeid said.
He hopes everyone remains cautiously optimistic.
“We are working very hard and we have sacrificed a lot to get to where we are today.