The COVID mask mandate may be lifted Saturday, but city officials say masks will still be required to ride a bus or head into the library.
“As part of our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our residents and employees, the City of Winnipeg will continue to require face masks in all City-operated facilities and vehicles, including while riding Winnipeg Transit,” said officials in a statement Friday.
Earlier this week, Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said public health orders would be further loosened, and that masks would no longer be required, but would be strongly recommended in indoor public spaces.
He also said that businesses are allowed to still require masks if they so choose.
Manitoba’s COVID-19 case numbers are low, trending in the 15-30 range daily this week, but cases caused by the Delta variant are rising in jurisdictions surrounding the province.
“We may have to consider public health measures” if areas in Manitoba do have Delta variant outbreaks, said Roussin.
Officials said the city’s CAO and Director of Winnipeg Transit both have the authority to mandate the use of face masks in facilities and on buses.
Roussin also said capacity limits are now lifted for most businesses and facilities, but the City said increased capacity in city-owned facilities will be raised over the coming weeks instead.
Malls and stores
Local malls and some stores have said they will not be requiring masks inside their properties.
St. Vital Centre, Grant Park, Polo Park and Kildonan Place all told Global News that masks will not be required inside their shopping centres, but some stores may still require them.
“The mall itself will not be mandating masks, but retailers may elect to maintain mask mandates at their individual stores; that is entirely at their discretion,” said a spokesperson for St. Vital Centre.
Meanwhile, both Walmart and Save-On-Foods say that masks are not required for patrons, but they encourage people to wear them if they choose.
Walmart said their workers will still be required to wear masks while on shift.
Global News has reached out to several other big box and grocery stores for information.
Several local stores have already told Global News that they will be requiring masks while shopping there.
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