The government shared a multi-phased plan to gradually restore services, open some businesses, and increase recreational opportunities commencing May 4, 2020.
The first phase of reopening will include, among others, the reopening of certain non-essential healthcare services, retail businesses, restaurants, hair salons, museums, galleries and libraries under conditions requiring them to maintain occupancy limits, social distancing and strict cleaning practices. For more information regarding the province’s roadmap to reopen businesses and services safely.
The province will continually re-evaluate and adjust plans for further easing of secondary public health measures and may reintroduce others.
Restoring services (phase two) – No earlier than June 1
Critical public health measures and travel restrictions may remain in place. Public gathering sizes may be increased and more non-essential businesses will be considered for reopening including:
• additional personal services, such as nail salons;
• restaurants – dine-in services;
• non-contact children’s sports; and
• film production.
Public health measures may be eased further. Additional guidelines will be developed, public gathering sizes will be increased and some non-essential business will fully open. Others may begin to reopen, such as bars, pools and spas, movie theatres and indoor recreational facilities. Travel restrictions may be eased.
Specific considerations for other businesses and sectors may be made including:
• performing arts venues;
• other non-essential businesses;
• tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists and tanning studios; and
• large gatherings/events.
Mass gatherings such as concerts, summer festivals and major sporting events will not be considered before September 2020, Roussin noted.
Child care plays an important role in restoring services, enabling parents to return to the workplace, and remains a priority. The Department of Families will continue to work with the child-care community to expand the temporary child-care services available, including a grant available to child-care providers seeking to open a new, home-based child-care service.
More information on child-care services during COVID-19, including a self-serve child care website, can be found at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/infomanitobans/childcare.html.
During the weekend of May 2 to May 3rd, the Manitoba government announced that starting on May 4, 2020, all Manitobans returning to work are eligible to access the province’s temporary childcare system.
The government updated its multi-phased roadmap for restoring services to clarify inconsistencies between the roadmap and recent public health orders.
On May 13, 2020, the Manitoba government announced the launch of a new online marketplace to connect Manitoba businesses with suppliers of non-medical grade personal protective equipment and other materials required for businesses as they reopen.
On May 20, 2020, the government announced that portions of Phase 2 of the provincial reopening plan will be implemented May 22, 2020. The limit for indoor gatherings will increase to 25 people and the limit for outdoor gatherings will increase to 50 people, if physical distancing measures are in place. The government also confirmed that limited outdoor visitation at personal care homes and the reopening of further businesses will be permitted in the near future.
On May 21, 2020, the government published a preliminary draft of the second phase of its Restoring Safe Services Plan. The draft outlines, among other things:
- increased access to educational facilities;
- increased childcare centre occupancy and day camp group sizes;
- lifting occupancy limits for outdoor recreational facilities;
- permitting travel to northern Manitoba; and
- the reopening of certain personal grooming service providers, restaurants, and bars at 50% capacity.
No date has been set for the finalization of the draft or the start of the second phase of the Plan.
On May 22, 2020, the Manitoba government increased the limit on indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 50 people. Professional sports teams may now attend facilities for training and practice provided that no members of the public are permitted to enter.
On May 27, 2020, the Manitoba government announced Phase Two of its Restoring Safe Services plan, which includes the resumption of certain services, businesses, and travel, will begin on June 1, 2020.
On June 5, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that it is enhancing support for small liquor producers by reducing and streamlining markup rates and extending the zero-markup for public sales to include outdoor markets for micro-producers of wine, mead, and cider and for craft distillers. Producers will be exempt from markups when selling on-premises, at outdoor markets, or at other temporary locations. This will bring the local distilleries in line with what is offered in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries will be meeting with local industry stakeholders before changes to the small producer markup program take effect July 1, 2020.
On June 11, 2020, the Manitoba government released a draft of Phase 3 of its reopening plan, tentatively scheduled for implementation on June 21, 2020. Proposed measures in the draft plan include:
- increasing permissible gatherings to up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
- developing guidelines for faith-based and other cultural gatherings, pow wows and other Indigenous cultural and spiritual gatherings, and small summer fairs and festivals;
- easing border restrictions to allow residents of western Canada and northwest Ontario to enter Manitoba without the need to self-isolate for 14 days;
- resuming regular licensed capacity for child-care centres with guidelines in place;
- increasing group sizes for day camps from 24 children to 50;
- increasing indoor occupancy levels for community/service centres and senior centres/clubs;
- allowing people employed by or affiliated with a film production to enter Manitoba without self-isolating for 14 days;
- allowing people employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team to enter Manitoba without self-isolating for 14 days;
- removing occupancy limits for retail businesses while ensuring physical distancing measures are in place;
- increasing indoor and patio occupancy limits to 75% of total capacity for restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, microbreweries and distilleries; and
- lifting occupancy limits for regulated and non-regulated health professions including registered massage therapists.
On June 12, 2020, as part of Manitoba Access Awareness Week, the government is hosting a free webinar addressing workplace accessibility during COVID-19, including employee safety, new accessibility requirements, and accessing goods and services. Organizations can register for the webinar here.
On June 17, 2020, the Manitoba government announced the final details for Phase Three of its reopening plan, including:
- Public Gatherings: Public gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors will be permitted with distancing of 2-metres and compliance with applicable public health guidelines. Larger group sizes are allowed where distinct groups of 50 people for indoor gatherings or 100 people outdoors can be separated to prevent contact with other groups, up to a maximum of 30 percent of the site’s capacity.
- Self-Isolation: Residents of Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan) and Northwestern Ontario (west of Terrace Bay) do not need to self-isolate for 14 days when entering Manitoba if they are asymptomatic and have no known exposure to COVID-19. Travellers from all other Canadian jurisdictions must continue to self-isolate after arriving in Manitoba.
- Professional Sports Teams: People employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team may enter Manitoba without self-isolating for 14 days if they have self-isolated for 14 days before arriving in Manitoba and follow appropriate hygiene measures while travelling.
- Childcare Services: Childcare facilities can return to their regular licensed capacity, provided that measures can be taken to comply with public health guidelines.
- Day Camps: Day camps may continue to operate with a maximum of 50 children per group.
- K-12 Schools: Classroom learning remains suspended for the remainder of the year; however, schools are open for staff and specific programs, including summer school and day camp programming.
- Post-secondary institutions and vocational colleges: Post-secondary institutions and vocational colleges may provide learning in settings where learning and/or research requires hands-on experience (such as laboratories).
- Film Production: Cast and crew members, and others employed by or affiliated with a film production, may visit Manitoba for work without self-isolating for 14 days if they have self-isolated for 14 days before arriving in Manitoba, are asymptomatic and have no known exposure to COVID-19.
- Retail Businesses: Occupancy limits of 50 percent of normal business levels or one person per 10 square metres are removed for retail businesses.
- Restaurants, Bars, Beverage Rooms, Brew Pubs, Microbreweries and Distilleries: These businesses may fully operate if they implement measures to ensure that members of the public are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least 2-metres from others. Standing service is not allowed. Dance floors remain closed.
- Therapeutic or Health Care Businesses: Occupancy limits are lifted for all health professions.
Phase Three is scheduled to commence on June 21, 2020. The full details of Phase Three are available here.
On June 18, 2020, the Manitoba government announced the Back to Work this Summer program to provide eligible employers with funding to hire or rehire up to five employees after June 18, 2020. The program will reimburse 50% of the total wages paid to employees from June 18 to August 30, 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000 per worker and $25,000 per business. The application process opens next week. Charities, not-for-profit organizations, and public-sector employers are not eligible.
On June 22, 2020, the Manitoba government announced plans for outdoor, all-season shelters near personal care homes for residents to safely visit with loved ones. The proposed designs will be posted on June 26, 2020, and public feedback on the designs will be accepted here for one week thereafter.
On June 23, 2020, the Manitoba government announced the Manitoba Job Restart Program. The Program will provide direct payments of $500 per week to a maximum of $2,000 to help qualified individuals return to work.
Eligible employees must:
- actively return to work with one or more eligible employers in Manitoba,
- anticipate that they will work at least 30 hours per week;
- after the first week, complete a simple declaration for each week to certify that they are still working at least 30 hours per week;
- stop receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Canada Emergency Student Benefit, or similar COVID-19 related support from the Government of Canada;
- follow the provincial COVID-19 health guidelines in the workplace; and
- be legally entitled to work in Canada and permanently reside in Manitoba.
The Program will be funded by the Manitoba Government and does not require any contributions from employers. The amounts received from the Program will be a taxable benefit for employees.
Full details about the Program, including eligibility requirements, are available here. Applications for the Program will be accepted from June 26 to July 31, 2020.
On June 25, 2020, the Manitoba government released a planning framework for the resumption of in-class learning in September 2020. The framework provides guidance on three public health scenarios:
- in-class learning with near-normal conditions;
- in-class learning, taking additional public health measures into consideration; and
- remote learning from home, with limited use of school facilities.
The full details of the framework are available here.
The government will provide final confirmation of its in-class learning plan by August 1, 2020
- remove restrictions on travel to northern Manitoba and remote communities;
- remove the requirements for people coming to Manitoba to work on film productions to self-isolate for 14-days before entering the province;
- clarify that professional sports teams from Manitoba are exempt from certain self-isolation requirement; and
- permit individuals who are self-isolating under federal or provincial health orders to visit a family member or friend who has a life-threatening disease in a health-care facility, if the facility permits them to do so and they are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
Also, applications for the Manitoba Job Restart Program are now available, through and until July 31, 2020. Eligible applicants will receive an initial payment of $500 upon enrolment, plus 3 subsequent payments of $500 per bi-weekly reporting period, for a maximum total of $2,000. Payments will be made by direct deposit to your financial institution.
On July 15, 2020, the Manitoba government announced that as part of #RestartMB, Manitoba’s roadmap to recovery, the Manitoba government is expanding its ‘Back to Work’ wage subsidy program and providing additional financial support for businesses to bring more Manitobans back.
The enhanced Back to Work program will reimburse up to $5,000 for up to 10 new workers to a maximum of $50,000 per business, not for profit or charity. Businesses that have already benefited from provincial summer wage subsidies are eligible for this new wage subsidy benefit to hire or bring back an additional 10 employees. The program will now reimburse half of all wages for those newly hired to Oct. 31. Employers that have received financial support from other various provincial and federal programs are all eligible.
The application deadline is Oct. 1, with a deadline to submit proof of wages of Jan. 4, 2021. Businesses can apply for the wage subsidy starting July 16 at noon at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/business/btwmp.html.
As an additional support for Manitoba businesses, the government also announced that it will be extending the Manitoba Gap Protection Program deadline for applications to Aug. 31 from July 31. Businesses that are ineligible for federal support can also apply for an immediate $6,000 under this program, which has already provided more than $45 million in COVID business relief to over 7,600 employers who otherwise had no government support. More than 2,500 Manitobans have already applied for the Manitoba Job Restart Program, which provides up to $2,000 to those who safely return to work and voluntarily stop collecting the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The program application deadline is July 31.