“Can I still buy baby clothes in Manitoba? And other questions on COVID-19 restrictions answered


The toughest public health restrictions since the start of the pandemic went into effect Friday in Manitoba.

The new health ordinances prohibit people from having visitors inside their homes, with a few exceptions, and prohibit the in-person sale of non-essential products and services.

In recent weeks, Manitoba has seen the highest per capita rate of new COVID-19 infections in Canada, as medical departments and intensive care units fill with patients. The new health orders aim to slow the spread of infections by limiting the opportunities for Manitobans to interact with one another.

The restrictions will remain in place at least until December 11.

Many people have written to CBC Manitoba and commented on articles regarding the new orders. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.

What can I still buy in person?

Health Orders limit in-person purchases to essential items and services only (although other items can still be ordered for curbside delivery or pickup).

The province has detailed lists of which companies are allowed to continue operating under health orders, and which products stores can sell.

Non-essential items include anything not explicitly mentioned in Annex B of the health decree.

“Certainly this includes jewelry, flowers, perfumes, consumer electronics, sports equipment, books and toys,” the order says.

Other major categories of products, such as clothing, are prohibited with a few exceptions. The order allows the sale of winter outerwear and baby clothes.

Other childcare accessories, such as diapers, wipes, bottles, car seats and cribs, can also be sold in stores.

The order allows for in-store sales of food and groceries, personal care and health products, household cleaning products, cell phones and accessories, major appliances, tools and supplies for pets, as well as tobacco, alcohol and cannabis products.

As for shops, annex A of the health decree specifies which are still authorized to operate. Others must close.

Registered and regulated healthcare professionals, such as physicians, dentists, optometrists, and psychologists, may continue to see clients.

Massage therapists are not regulated in Manitoba, but those who are members of a professional association, such as the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba, are still licensed to provide health care services. Other unregulated professionals, such as acupuncturists, cannot.

Other critical businesses include those that provide accommodation and financial or communications services, as well as those involved in supply chains, transportation, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Who can I have in my house?

In most cases, ordinances prohibit people from having someone inside their house who does not normally live there.

A person who lives alone can nominate another authorized person to come to their home, and they can visit the home of a nominated person.

For the person living alone, their designated visitor does not have to live alone as well. However, they still could not visit a house where several people live.

Anyone providing health care, personal care, or cleaning services is also permitted to enter a residence. So, for example, a person visiting his elderly parents to help them with household chores or to take care of them in some other way would not violate the order.

People can also enter a home where they do not live if they are a parent or guardian visiting their child, or if they are there to receive or provide child care.

Other exceptions include people providing tutoring or education, construction and renovation, delivery, real estate and moving services, or responding to an emergency.

Can I still see people outside my home?

The increased restrictions on gatherings only apply to private residences. Province-wide public health restrictions that took effect on Nov. 12 limit gatherings to five people in public places, and the new orders do not change that.

This makes it possible to organize small events such as weddings, funerals and baptisms.

It also means that two friends getting together to go for a run, for example, would not violate the order.

Authorities still encourage people to follow public health advice, such as ensuring physical distance, wearing a mask, covering a cough, and washing their hands frequently.

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