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COVID-19: Manitoba Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

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Reopening the economy

Which sectors in Manitoba are currently allowed to open?

As of April 17, 2020, businesses allowed to open include:

  • Businesses that support supply chains;
  • Restaurants for takeout or curbside pickup only;
  • Grocery stores and supermarkets (excluding a farmer’s market);
  • Businesses selling child care products;
  • Hardware stores;
  • Convenience stores;
  • Bakeries;
  • Butcher shops;
  • Wholesale businesses;
  • Businesses selling personal protective equipment;
  • Pet food and supply stores;
  • Businesses selling and/or repairing computer products;
  • Liquor and cannabis retailers;
  • Hotels and motels (with exceptions);
  • Parking lots;
  • Maintenance and repair services (property management, snow clearing, skilled trades, custodial services, fire and safety systems, etc.);
  • A business providing telecommunications services and/or support;
  • A business providing information technology;
  • Broadcasting services and newspaper publications;
  • Transportation businesses providing services/products necessary for daily living;
  • Businesses providing services to transportation businesses or individuals by road, rail, air or water;
  • Businesses maintaining;
  • Repair and services shops for vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, bicycles;
  • Businesses providing goods and services for the operation and maintenance of transportation systems;
  • Manufacturers;
  • Farming, processing, fishing, hunting, and aquaculture businesses (not including fishing and hunting lodges);
  • Businesses that support the food supply chain including seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, equipment, animal waste, etc;
  • Businesses that support food safety;
  • Veterinary service providers;
  • Construction and demolition businesses for industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors;
  • Financial firms, insurance companies, banks and credit unions;
  • Mining, forestry and other natural resources related businesses;
  • Laboratories;
  • Waste collection and recycling facilities;
  • Businesses that operate or service utilities such as potable drinking water, electricity and natural gas;
  • Medical services and related supporting businesses;
  • Home care providers, child care centers, personal care homes, assisted living facilities, etc.;
  • Businesses providing food, shelter, protection and social services for economically disadvantages and other vulnerable individuals;
  • Pharmacies and pharmaceutical suppliers;
  • Mental health and addiction services providers;
  • Medical supply companies;
  • Businesses supporting the justice system including lawyers, paralegals, accountants, etc.;
  • Rental and leasing service providers;
  • Laundromats;
  • Funeral homes and affiliated service providers;
  • Land registration services;
  • Security businesses;
  • Businesses providing staffing services;
  • Tax preparation services;
  • Travel consulting businesses;
  • Lawncare services;
  • Greenhouses and related suppliers.

As of May 4, 2020, additional businesses allowed to open include:

  • Any retail businesses not previously allowed to open (including malls);
  • Non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures;
  • Therapeutic and health care service;
  • Restaurants for patio and walk-up services;
  • Hairstylists and barbers;
  • Outdoor recreation and campgrounds;
  • Horse race tracks and motor vehicle race tracks;
  • Museums, galleries and libraries reopen.

Public gatherings remain limited to no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor place or premises. This includes places of worship, gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals. Travel restrictions also remain in place and important regulations to ensure public health remain in place for any businesses that are allowed to open.

On May 21, the province unveiled a preliminary draft plan for Phase Two of opening more businesses. On May 27, the province released the final plan for Phase Two to begin June 1.

Effective May 22:

  • The size of public gatherings (eg. social gatherings, weddings, funerals) will increase to 25 (indoors) and 50 (outdoors);
  • Professional team sports may resume some activities.

On June 1, the following businesses can open (with restrictions):

  • Religious organizations, other organizations and drive-in movie theatres may hold outdoor events without limitation on numbers if people stay in their vehicles, or stand outside on the left side of their vehicles;
  • Child Care Services: Groups can increase to a maximum of 24 children plus staff. Centres can consider a single room group of up to 24 children plus staff, or more than one group of 24 children plus staff in multiple and separate rooms;
  • Day Camps: Group size increased to 24;
  • Post-secondary institutions and vocational colleges may provide learning in settings where learning and/or research requires hands-on experience;
  • Team Sports and other Recreational Activities: Organized activities, including team sports, bowling alleys and arts and cultural activities, such as dance, art and theatre can resume as long as precautions are taken, such as physical distancing and enhanced cleaning of equipment and indoor spaces. There are occupancy restrictions;
  • Outdoor Recreation Facilities and Golf Courses: Normal capacity outdoors with measures to ensure 2 metre separations except for brief exchanges. Indoor occupancy limits of 50% of normal business levels or 1 person per 10 square metres;
  • Travel to northern parks, campgrounds, lodges, resorts: Manitoba residents will be permitted to travel directly to parks, campgrounds, cabins, lodges and resorts north of the 53rd parallel;
  • Public and Private swimming pools, splash pads, spas, fitness clubs, gyms, rinks and training facilities can operate with occupancy limitations among other rules;
  • Community centres and multipurpose facilities can open for classes and activities allowed in Phase Two with maximum 25 people per site unless groups of 25 can be segregated by using separate exits or staggered schedules;
  • Personal Services: Reopening of manicurists and pedicurists, tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists, electrologists and tanning parlours. Many restrictions are in place that must be followed;
  • Restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, micro-breweries, and distilleries can be open with occupancy restrictions. Common activity areas (dance floors, billiards, darts and VLTs) are to remain closed;
  • Film productions;
  • Therapeutic and health care businesses. Occupancy limits of 50% of normal business levels or 1 person per 10 square meters can be lifted for regulated health professions. Non-regulated health professions must continue these occupancy limitations;
  • Hair stylists/barbers have been allowed to open since May 4 with occupancy limits of 50% of normal business level or 1 person per 10 square meters. On June 1, the limitations on services to hair washes, cuts, colouring and styling are lifted.

 

For a clear lists of requirements for your business to be open, please visit the Government of Manitoba’s roadmap to Restoring Safe Services.

If you are unsure if your business is able to re-open, please consult the Government’s of Manitoba’s EngageMB website to receive a government response in writing to your question, or call CFIB today at 1 888-234-2232.

When is the start of the second phase and future phases of Manitoba’s plan to reopen the economy?

Phase Two of Restoring Safe Services was initially scheduled to not begin before June 1. On May 21, the province's preliminary draft plan for Phase Two stated:

Effective May 22:

  • The size of public gatherings (eg. social gatherings, weddings, funerals) will increase to 25 (indoors) and 50 (outdoors);
  • Professional team sports may resume some activities.

On May 27, the province released the final plan for Phase Two. On June 1, the following businesses can open (with restrictions):

  • Religious organizations, other organizations and drive-in movie theatres may hold outdoor events without limitation on numbers if people stay in their vehicles, or stand outside on the left side of their vehicles;
  • Child Care Services: Groups can increase to a maximum of 24 children plus staff. Centres can consider a single room group of up to 24 children plus staff, or more than one group of 24 children plus staff in multiple and separate rooms;
  • Day Camps: Group size increased to 24;
  • Post-secondary institutions and vocational colleges may provide learning in settings where learning and/or research requires hands-on experience;
  • Team Sports and other Recreational Activities: Organized activities, including team sports, bowling alleys and arts and cultural activities, such as dance, art and theatre can resume as long as precautions are taken, such as physical distancing and enhanced cleaning of equipment and indoor spaces. There are occupancy restrictions;
  • Outdoor Recreation Facilities and Golf Courses: Normal capacity outdoors with measures to ensure 2 metre separations except for brief exchanges. Indoor occupancy limits of 50% of normal business levels or 1 person per 10 square metres;
  • Travel to northern parks, campgrounds, lodges, resorts: Manitoba residents will be permitted to travel directly to parks, campgrounds, cabins, lodges and resorts north of the 53rd parallel;
  • Public and Private swimming pools, splash pads, spas, fitness clubs, gyms, rinks and training facilities can operate with occupancy limitations among other rules;
  • Community centres and multipurpose facilities can open for classes and activities allowed in Phase Two with maximum 25 people per site unless groups of 25 can be segregated by using separate exits or staggered schedules;
  • Personal Services: Reopening of manicurists and pedicurists, tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists, electrologists and tanning parlours. Many restrictions are in place that must be followed;
  • Restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, micro-breweries, and distilleries can be open with occupancy restrictions. Common activity areas (dance floors, billiards, darts and VLTs) are to remain closed;
  • Film productions;
  • Therapeutic and health care businesses. Occupancy limits of 50% of normal business levels or 1 person per 10 square meters can be lifted for regulated health professions. Non-regulated health professions must continue these occupancy limitations;
  • Hair stylists/barbers have been allowed to open since May 4 with occupancy limits of 50% of normal business level or 1 person per 10 square meters. On June 1, the limitations on services to hair washes, cuts, colouring and styling are lifted.

 

More information is available in Phase Two.

 

Phase Three may relax 50% occupancy limits, re-open larger facilities (movie theatures, casinos, indoor recreation), but plans will be based on evidence and decisions by Manitoba Public Health. This will not occur before June 21.

Future Phases to re-open large gatherings, events, performing arts venues, etc. will be based on evidence at the time.

More information is available at Phase 3 and Future Phases.

What do I need to know before I can reopen my business?

The Government of Manitoba released workplace health and safety guidelines for each sector allowed to reopen or remain open. Read the province's roadmap to Restoring Safe Services - Phase 1 (May 4) and Restoring Safe Services - Phase 2 (June 1).

Visit Guidance for Industry Sectors for information and best practices for your specific industry (eg., agriculture, food processing, construction, manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, retail, restaurant, tourism), plus topics like car pooling.

The province offers more details in Workplace guidance for business owners.

You can also contact CFIB's Business Resources team at 1-888-234-2232 to inquire if your sector has any specific guidelines, and receive information on what additional measures your business can take to improve safety for your staff and customers.  

 

If I am reopening my business, does that mean the threat of COVID-19 is over?

No, in order to reduce exposure, you will need to follow your sectoral guidelines that ensure the safety of your employees and general public that your business comes in contact.

I am not on the initial list of businesses that can open, when can I open my business?

The Government of Manitoba released its roadmap to Restoring Safe Services. The draft plan for Phase Two was announced on May 21, but did not specify if it will take effect on June 1 or another day. On May 27, the final plan for Phase Two was released, allowing several more openings as of June 1.

Phrase Three is not expected before June 21.

Each phase will release the new set of workplaces, public spaces, and gatherings that can be open/available.

Are there any fines for opening my business, if it is not considered essential or if it has not been reopened by government?

Yes. Penalties for violations for individuals or corporations under the legislation range from fines of up to $50,000 or $500,000 and/or six months or up to a year imprisonment. Tickets can also be issued for violations under any of the orders in the amount of $486 for individuals and $2,542 for corporations.

Public health and state of emergency orders for businesses will be enforced by public health inspectors, liquor, gaming and cannabis authority inspectors, occupational health and safety officers and by-law officers. Police, as well as provincial and First Nations peace officers, will enforce these orders related to public gatherings and self-isolation.

Employment Standards Code

My business can be open, how do I re-call my employees?

Provide employees with as much notice as you can. You can send a registered letter to your employee letting them know the date of their next shift, hours, along with any relevant information they need such as a contact person they can reach out to, like a supervisor, if they have any questions or concerns.

My business is financially unstable, can I reduce my employees’ wages when they return to work?

You are required to give proper notice to employees prior to changing any terms and conditions, such as reducing working hours, pay or entitlements that you have promised in a job description or letter of offer. Any drastic changes to an employee agreement can cause an employee to file a constructive dismissal claim to the Manitoba Employment Standards Branch. An Employment Standards Officer will investigate the claim. Please contact your CFIB Business Resources department at 1-888-234-2232 for further details.

Does my employee qualify for the General Holiday pay for Good Friday, even when they weren’t scheduled to work due to COVID-19?

Note that Easter Sunday is not a General Holiday under the Manitoba Employment Standards Code. For Good Friday, all employees receive General Holiday pay unless:

  • They are absent on the first scheduled workday before or after the holiday without the employer’s consent, or
  • The holiday falls on a regularly workday and the employee is scheduled to work on the general holiday but is absent that day without the employer’s consent.
My employee is not returning due to the Public Health Emergency Leave. What does this mean?

During Covid-19, the province has provided an unpaid, no limit, job protected, leave for employees (retroactive to March 1, 2020) if they are:

  • Quarantined, isolated or has travel restrictions due to public health orders related to Covid-19
  • Under medical treatment related to Covid-19
  • Caring for a family member as a result of Covid-19, including school or day care closures
  • Directed by the employer to not work as the employer is concerned about the employee’s exposure to others.
Can my employee take another leave after the Public Health Emergency Leave?

Depending on an employee situation, they may be entitled to another leave under the Employment Standards Code such as: 

What are the rights of my employees that are on a protected leave?

Your employee is entitled to return to work to same job or comparable job, without penalty, able to continue to receive their benefits (if opted in) and continue to add to years of service with your business.

I am considering terminating my employee at this time, what should I know?

The Manitoba Employment Standards Code outlines an employee’s minimum entitlement when the employee is being terminated. This includes termination notice or pay-in-lieu of notice – each entitlement depends on length of employment. While this may seem like the only option, please consider speaking with your CFIB Business Resources team (1-888-234-2232) as this can be a sensitive time to make this decision.

My employee has decided to resign, what should I do?

If the employee has decided to part ways, the employee should give you a letter of resignation for your records. With a resignation, you must pay all wages earned and any accrued vacation pay, but you are not required to issue pay-in-lieu of notice based on length of employment.

Workplace Safety and Health (WS&H)

What are my employee safety and health rights?

Manitoba WS&H requires all employers to take all reasonable precautions to protect the safety and health of workers. An employee has the right to participate by providing feedback to their employer, the right to know hazards that they may be exposed to, and the right to refuse working in unsafe environment.

What should I have in my workplace to maintain a safe environment?

While the Manitoba government has created guidelines to assist as you reopen your business, every business is different, and you should assess your business operations to address potential risks. Preventative measures can include installing physical distancing signage, adding plexi-glass to create a barrier between customer and employee, and/or having a supply of hand sanitizer, paper towel, and soap for employees on site.

Along with creating preventative measures for your business, you should also aim to comply with current WS&H rules, such as having a violence and harassment policy and program, as well as safety and health policy and training.

My employee feels ill, do I have to send them home?

If your employee is ill, the employee must be sent home and you should contact your employee remotely to advise them to complete the online COVID-19 Screening Tool and call their family physician or Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257. You should create a list of their whereabouts in the workplace, including but not limited to: the washroom, workstations, lunchroom, and equipment used so that you can assign a staff member to disinfect areas. If possible, also compile a list of staff they worked with during their shift.

What if I find out my employee tested positive for COVID-19?

Manitoba Public Health’s investigations of someone with a positive diagnosis can include their workplace. The province may contact you and explain if anything needs to be done in your workplace. You are encouraged to follow steps in the above question.

What should I know about how Workers Compensation will handle COVID-19 situations?

Most instances of Covid-19 are not work related. However, if a worker believes it was contracted at work and has time missed from work, employers must submit an Employer Injury Report to WCB within 5 days. For a Covid-19 claim to be accepted, WCB must determine it was a result of exposure arising out of and in the course of employment.

What if my employees are refusing work due to COVID-19 concerns?

Employees have the right to refuse working under what they consider unsafe environment. If this is the case, remind your employees of the preventive measures that have been put in place, and the safety products available to them. Communicate to the employee that their safety is your priority.

You may choose to reassign work, perhaps allowing them to work from home. In this case, the employee must receive the same wages and benefits as they would have received under their previous assignment. There is a work refusal process, which may include calling the Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health inspector to ensure safety of the employee and confirm if your preventative measures are up to the standards. Please contact CFIB Business Resources for further details on this topic.

Can I hire a replacement to an employee on a leave?

You can hire temporary employees to replace employees that are unable to return. When hiring temporary staff, provide them with a contract that details their terms and conditions – as well as a termination date as this serves as the formal termination date.

We are here to help

Don’t see the information you need? To talk to an expert, contact us at:

1-888-234-2232     Ask a COVID-19 Question

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