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Coronavirus in Canada; Manitoba, Set to Further Ease Restrictions

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Manitobans can visit their hair salons and gyms starting on Saturday 26th of July, 2021 for the first time in more than a month — and fully vaccinated residents can start to enjoy new freedoms — thanks to vaccination targets being met earlier than expected. 

Earlier this month, the province laid out vaccination goals for reopening by certain dates. Initially, the aim was 70 per cent of eligible Manitobans with one dose and 25 per cent with two by July but the province surpassed those benchmarks earlier this week.

“This is a good news day for Manitobans,” said Premier Brian Pallister at a news conference with Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin on Wednesday. “After a year and a half of fighting COVID-19, it’s time for Manitobans to get some of their freedoms back and enjoy this beautiful summer.”

Many businesses were forced to shutter in early May when Manitoba was hit late but hard by the third wave of the pandemic, overwhelming hospitals and forcing them to fly dozens of critically ill patients to other provinces for care.

For the first time in nearly seven weeks, hair salons, fitness centres, swimming pools and restaurants can reopen this Saturday, while numerous indoor and outdoor activities can also resume. 

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Meanwhile, the reopening plan also laid out a number of increased freedoms for fully vaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated residents will be able to dine indoors with members of different households and visit loved ones in personal care homes and hospitals. They will also be able to attend large-scale outdoor sporting and performing arts events that are approved by Manitoba Public Health.

The provincial government said it will work with sports and arts organizations on ways to determine people’s vaccination status.

Residents of personal care homes and congregate living facilities who are fully vaccinated will be able to participate in social or communal activities. 

The province already announced earlier this month that Manitobans who are fully vaccinated can travel within Canada without having to self-isolate when they return.

Daily COVID-19 cases have fallen to their lowest levels in months.

On Tuesday, the province reported 69 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest it has been since April 4, although the case count on Wednesday rose to 123.As of Tuesday, 71.4 per cent of Manitobans 12 and older have had a first dose and 26.9 per cent have two doses.

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The next target date in the province’s reopening plan is the Terry Fox Day long weekend in August, when it aims to have at least 75 per cent of eligible people immunized with a first dose and 50 per cent with a second dose. If it reaches that goal, capacity limits on businesses are expected to increase to 50 per cent.

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