When should COVID curfew start in Manitoba, who should be exempt? Province launches survey

Manitoba is diving headlong into gathering public feedback on whether a curfew should be imposed to help halt the rising tide of COVID-19 cases, and if so, what it should look like.

Premier Brian Pallister broke the news on Monday that his government is “seriously considering” imposing a curfew, blaming “late-night situations in Winnipeg” for the recent deluge of cases.

Since Friday, the province has reported 1,382 new COVID-19 cases, and now has the highest number of cases per capita in Canada. There have been 80 COVID-related deaths in the province since the start of the pandemic — 60 of which have have come in the past month.

On Tuesday, the province launched a brief online survey with questions about what time each day a curfew should start, who should be exempt (such as first responders, city crews, grocery store workers), and which areas of the province should be subject to a curfew.

It doesn’t identify, however, the time each day that a curfew might be lifted.

The survey also asks people to list places where they have seen people violating the current restrictions in place in Manitoba, and how they report those violations.

Winnipeg streets were empty in the spring, when a full shutdown was implemented. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

In a news release Tuesday, the province said it will be asking Manitobans to offer feedback and thoughts in a variety of other ways in the coming days, too, including telephone town halls, stakeholder roundtables and additional surveys.

“Our number one priority is protecting Manitobans, and we want to stay connected and hear directly from Manitobans, even when we must stay physically apart,” Pallister said in the release.

The province intends to host weekly telephone town halls on different topics around COVID-19, he said. The first, scheduled for Thursday, will focus on enforcement of the public health orders and the possible curfew.

People can register online to take part in Thursday’s telephone town hall.

Future town halls will look at enforcement practices for COVID-19 restrictions, vulnerable populations, and personal care homes.

Plans for future stakeholder roundtable discussions will be announced in the coming weeks, the province said.

“I want to emphasize that we need the help of all Manitobans to get the message across that we are in this together, and we all have a role to play in protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our community,” Pallister said.

“We know Manitobans have valuable insights and will provide great input, and I look forward to working with Manitobans to help make these important decisions together.”