Manitoba gym owner, sport associations thrilled with changes to public health orders

A Winnipeg gym owner and provincial sport associations are relieved a few public health orders are now lifted.

Across Manitoba, capacity limits have been dropped for most businesses and gatherings, including gyms and fitness studios like Justin Liwanag’s NXT LVL Performance in Winnipeg’s Inkster Industrial area.

“It definitely gives us more freedom in terms of getting more people within the gym, probably doing more personal training sessions while class stuff is going on. So yeah, it’s definitely a good thing,” he said.

“But for us, we still have to make sure in terms of like, a community member safety, to make sure that they feel comfortable with it.”

He believes the changes will help small businesses like his survive.

Sport Manitoba says some parents pulled youth out of sports because of the vaccine and testing requirements. The organization hopes the change will mean more youth sign up for activities in the spring. (PhotoStock10/Shutterstock)

Meanwhile, Johnny Fukumoto of Fukumoto Fitness in East Kildonan says his gym won’t make any sudden changes just because there are no longer capacity limits.

“It’ll just take us a lot longer to be willing to change everything overnight because we want to see how it is, how it unfolds and not have to just change everything back if something else unpredictable happens,” he said.

Changes for youth

There are also big changes for youth take part in indoor sports and recreation.

Anyone age 12 to 17 in these activities will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination or recent testing.

That news is a relief for a lot of people who want to participate in or watch sports, said Janet McMahon, the president and CEO of Sport Manitoba.

“A lot of facilities were only allowing one parent, or grandparents couldn’t go watch. So I think [going] back to full capacity just takes a lot of stress and a lot of a lot of extra effort on facility owners, and I think a lot of people would be happy to be able to go watch their kids participate,” she said.

Some youth dropped out of sports or their parents pulled them out because of vaccination requirements, and the testing requirement was cost-prohibitive, but changes to the public health orders could bring them back, McMahon said.

“We could see, I think, a boost in participation rates just because I think that was, for some families, a barrier,” she said.

Hockey Manitoba Provincials are moving ahead this month now that public health orders have changed. (dotshock/Shutterstock)

Meanwhile, Hockey Manitoba Provincials were rescheduled and are taking place over the next few weeks after a two-year hiatus because public health ordersing tournaments have been lifted.

In 2020, the championships were “knocked on the head,” and had to be canceled partway through because of the partial lockdown, said Peter Woods, the executive director of Hockey Manitoba. Players haven’t been able to compete provincially since.

“I think a lot of kids are looking forward to the opportunity to create lifelong memories, and that’s an exciting part of the continuation and the finalization of the season,” he said.

Restaurants and bars no longer have capacity limits in Manitoba. Patrons must still present their proof of vaccination, but that will change in March, the premier said last week. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Capacity limits axed for restaurants, bars

The public health changes will also mean your next outing to a restaurant, bar, library or hockey game will look different.

There is no longer a cap on the number of people allowed into restaurants, licensed premises, entertainment venues, indoor and outdoor sporting events, casinos and gatherings at private residences.

There is also no limit for outdoor public gatherings.

Indoor public gathering limits are no longer in place so long as proof of vaccination is required to enter. If not, the limit is 50 people.

The Winnipeg Jets posted to social media on Monday that the team is “thrilled to be able to welcome fans back to Canada Life Center at 100 per cent capacity” for Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

To be in the stands, fans must show still show proof of vaccination.

But that will all change in two weeks.

Premier Heather Stefanson said last week the province intends to get rid of proof of vaccination by March, which means QR codes will no longer need to be provided to enter restaurants, bars, venues and other places.

Mask requirements and other restrictions will be lifted on March 15.

Masks not mandatory in PE classes

Another new change effective Tuesday is that masks are no longer required during physical education classes in schools.

Medical masks will be recommended but no longer required for school staff, and cohorts are required for kindergarten to Grade 6 classes in the province.

Starting Tuesday, close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 are recommended to self-isolate, but will no longer be mandated to.

Leave a Comment