Those hoping to hear of positive changes to the tight restrictions surrounding recreational sport and activity will not be pleased to learn of the updates (or lack there of) to the upcoming Manitoba Public Health Order, as set to be put in place at 12:00 AM on Saturday, January 23.
On Tuesday, the Province of Manitoba announced the framework of the upcoming PHO, indicating that despite some pushback from leagues, concerns parents and various sporting participants within Manitoba, nothing will change for at least the next three weeks, beginning January 23.
With a variety of proposed alterations set to appear on the new PHO, nothing will be modified in terms of long-exposure recreational activities, including amateur, junior, youth/adult sports.
Implementing visitation changes that will see two people outside of a household allowed to visit another household indoors, paired alongside a five-person outdoor group gathering increase, Dr. Brent Roussin made it clear that long-term exposure is not something that Manitoba is ready for at this time.
Long-term exposure includes that of eating in restaurants, working out in gyms, playing recreational sports, working from the office. Interestingly, retail stores are set to re-open with no restrictions on ‘essential items’, while barber shops and salons will be operating at a 25 percent capacity rate, beginning on Saturday.
On Monday, Hockey Manitoba – alongside Manitoba Public Health – released information pertaining to the potential return of hockey within the province, and upcoming changes which will be implemented upon said return.
“Should the resumption of organized sports be permitted in any Region in Manitoba, Minor Hockey Associations, Leagues, and Teams will require approval from Hockey Manitoba to Return to Play and will be required to spend at least 10 days in Phase 2 of the Hockey Manitoba Return to Play plan,” the Hockey Manitoba release read.
“It is important that Hockey Manitoba stresses that Public Health orders must be adhered to once hockey programming is permitted to resume,” the release continued. “In order to ensure that the game is set up for a successful return, the compliance and support of all members is paramount, required, and not an option.”
Phase II would involve non-contract on-ice drills and strategy with no exhibition or regular season games allowed. This is meant as a way to help bring players back to the ice safely, while resulting in the lowest number of COVID-19 cases, injuries or other issues pertaining to a ‘rushed’ return to action.
On Tuesday, Manitoba reported 111 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 new deaths. Manitoba’s total number of COVID-related deaths is 783. Nearly 28,000 Manitobans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Nearly 24,000 of those people have recovered.