Manitoba mask rules could ease depending on vaccinations: health officials

WINNIPEG — It will be a while before Manitoba eases its mandatory mask rules for residents, according to the province’s deputy public health officer.

On Friday, Dr. Jazz Atwal was asked if Manitobans could see new rules on mask wearing if they’ve received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, similar to the United States.

On Thursday, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) released guidance, saying people who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer need to wear masks outdoors or in most indoor settings.

Atwal said it will still be a while before any change comes to Manitoba, but it’s something the province is considering.

“With enough Manitobans who are vaccinated, who have two doses of a vaccine, I think there’s a lot that we’re going to be able to do from a public health perspective, and not having a mask on would be one of those things,” he said, noting any decision would be made weeks down the road.

Masks in Manitoba are mandatory in all indoor public spaces.

Earlier this week, Johanu Botha said the province was hoping to have every adult in Manitoba receive their second vaccine dose by July.

As of Friday, 625,404 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and 49.4 per cent of Manitobans 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC still recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks while flying, while on public transit, and while visiting health-care facilities.

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