Households in Manitoba will not be permitted to have any social gatherings, but family can continue to provide essential care to vulnerable family members such as grandparents.
On Tuesday, the province of Manitoba announced that as of Thursday, social gatherings will not be permitted. Households are not to mix. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says if essential shopping needs to be one, to designate one person in the household to do so. If one member of the household is isolating at home, the entire household must isolate from the public, including from work and grocery stores. The isolating household member must isolate from other members of the home.
"We have to keep our contacts down, and that protects all those loves ones. The less contact they have with others, the safer they will be."
If a family shares custody, there are no restraints on moving between households.
"In all of our orders, even our travel orders, those were exempt. So really it wouldn't mean anything special to those," Roussin says.
Roussin does not suggest merging households in order to socialize.
If a family member needs care, such as an ageing grandparent, Roussin says these essential acts are not considered social gatherings. He says if a Manitoban needs care, they should seek it.
"If it is an essential visit, you are caring for your parents or childcare arrangements, this would be essential."
He is encouraging families to visit virtually. He says to find "creative ways" to stay in contact with loved ones.
For Manitobans who are isolating and live alone in their household, Roussin says this is a grey area.
"We run into this with all the restrictions and advice. Do we want a black and white answer? Or do you want that ability to have a grey zone response?"
He says the "black and white" answer is to not socialize with other single households but says if both are isolating there is a grey area.
"A specific situation like that is certainly a very low-risk situation but there is a myriad of situations to go through."
For those who would like mental health supports, there are many services in Manitoba to provide care including:
Klinic Crisis Line
204-786-8686 or 1-888-322-3019
Manitoba Suicide Prevention & Support Line
Kids Help Phone (national line available to Manitoba Youth)
Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line
204-786-8631 or 1-888-292-7565
Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services
1-866-367-3276 (hours Mon-Fri 10 am to 9 pm)
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line
Manitobans can also dial 211 to be connected to community supports.