Starting November 20, the province of Manitoba is back in lockdown-mode. Premier Brian Pallister and Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, decided to reinstate emergency measures in an attempt to stem the rising tide after cases surged in October. Similar measures were taken when COVID-19 cases ramped up in March.
The updated public health orders include restrictions of gatherings to no more than five people indoors or outdoors, whether it’s in public or in a private residence, along with mandatory mask laws, which came into effect last month.
Retail businesses are allowed to remain open to in-person shopping if they sell essential items, but can’t fill their store past 25% of the usual capacity, or 250 people, whichever is lower. Of course, physical distancing measures must be implemented as well as complying with all other public health orders. Retailers can also sell essential or non-essential items online or over the phone to be delivered or picked up curbside.
Luckily, these allowances also extend to cannabis retailers, which were declared essential back in April. According to Dr. Roussin, taking them off of the list would cause “unintended consequences” that the province just doesn’t have the resources to deal with right now. The provincial government has always allowed retailers to deliver and sell online, but that doesn’t mean it’s business as usual.
Delta 9 Cannabis, Manitoba’s largest local cannabis producer and retailer, is supporting the initiative by rolling out click-and-collect and same-day delivery in Brandon and Thompson. These services are already offered in Winnipeg, where the brand has three stores. Customers in the service areas can place their orders online and pick them up in two hours or less, limiting time in the store and reducing contact with staff.
No word yet on whether Canopy Growth-owned Tweed and Tokyo Smoke will close during this new phase of lockdown. They remained closed in the province from the end of March until June 1.
Increased restrictions and common courtesy for fellow Manitobans helped bring cases down to less than one per day over the summer, let’s hope they can do it again.