Health official urges Manitobans to follow COVID-19 rules Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day

Lovers and football fans must adhere to public health rules during special dates coming up this month, say Manitoba health officials.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go head-to-head Sunday in Super Bowl LV, the National Football League’s championship game.

Normally, Super Bowl Sunday is an occasion for people to gather, but Dr. Jazz Atwal, Manitoba’s acting deputy chief public health officer, is warning against that.

“Although my team, the Dallas Cowboys, are not in the Super Bowl this year, I will be watching — but I will be adhering to the orders,” said Atwal.

“Football might be any given Sunday, but let’s have it be a COVID-free Sunday this year.”

Per public health orders, a household can only have two designated visitors indoors, and there is a five-person limit on outdoor gatherings.

Further to that, Atwal suggests people practise physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, cover their coughs and — most importantly — stay home if they’re sick.

Valentine’s Day during COVID-19

The province has been getting questions about whether young children can deliver valentines to their friends and classmates, said Atwal.

They can, but they must be wary of how the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads.

The illness spreads through respiratory droplets that come from a person’s throat or lungs when they cough or sneeze. These droplets can fall on surfaces and sometimes contaminate that surface for a period of time.

To better avoid possible transmission, children should wash their hands before and after handling valentines and avoid touching their face while writing, opening, or distributing the cards, he said.

Students should not lick the valentines to seal them, he added. Instead they should use tape or a sticker.

Atwal made several suggestions that kids should follow to prevent potentially spreading COVID-19 through valentines cards. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images)

Another option for distribution is for students to give their valentines to their teacher, who will be in charge of distribution, he said, adding that this will result in fewer people touching the cards at the same time.

As for more mature Manitobans, who may be looking to meet up with a special someone on Feb. 14, Atwal is reminding them of the designated-visitor rule for indoor gatherings.

Dates should try to get outdoors where they can distance and there is better air circulation, he said.

“From a public health perspective, there’s a lot of conversations we could have about this as well. But stick to the fundamentals, stick to the messaging that public health is providing and be safe,” he said. “That’s the most important thing.”

Manitoba public health officials announced 126 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths Wednesday.

There are 3,358 known active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, the province’s data says — although health officials have said that number may be inflated due to a backlog in data entry.