Manitoba restricts operations of non-critical businesses

31 March 2020

On March 30, 2020, the Government of Manitoba issued a new public health order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic ("Order"). Pursuant to the Order, all businesses, other than those listed in the Order must close. Premier Brian Pallister announced that the Order is meant to ensure that critical services are available while taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

What is the effective date of the Order?

The Order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 1, 2020 and will end at 12:01 a.m. on April 14, 2020. Please note that the Government of Manitoba may make a further order extending the closure of certain businesses.

What is considered a Critical Service?

The Government of Manitoba has deemed 74 categories of businesses to be critical services and these businesses are permitted to continue operations. A business is defined as a trade, industry, service, profession or occupation, and includes businesses operated on a commercial or not-for-profit basis. The critical service categories are enumerated under the following headings:

  • Supply chains
  • Retail and wholesale
  • Accommodations
  • Institutional, residential, commercial and industrial maintenance
  • Telecommunications and information technology
  • Communications industries
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Agriculture and food production
  • Construction
  • Finance
  • Natural resources
  • Environmental services
  • Utilities and public works
  • Research
  • Health care, seniors care and social services
  • Justice sector
  • Professional services
  • Other businesses (such as rental and leasing services, mailing, shipping or courier services, and dry cleaning or laundry services).

All businesses listed in the schedule of critical services attached the Order may continue to operate. If the business provides services to the public, the operator of the business must implement measures to ensure that persons attending the place of business are reasonably able to maintain social distancing of 2 meters.

Restaurants are prohibited from providing eat-in dining services. However, restaurants and other commercial facilities can prepare and serve food via delivery and takeout.

Municipal transit services, taxis and other private vehicles for hire can continue to operate under the Order. The operator of the vehicle must take measures to ensure there is a reasonable separation of people in a vehicle.

To view a complete list of businesses that are permitted to continue operating, please see the schedule of the Order set out here.

Impact on Non-Critical Businesses

The Order does not preclude the provision of work and services by businesses that have not been included in the critical service list, provided that such provision is done so on a remote basis. A business that is not included on the list may accept orders on the internet, or over the phone for delivery or pickup, as long as the employees are not working from the place of business.

Despite the mandated temporary closure of non-critical businesses, temporary access to a closed place of business is authorized, unless otherwise prohibited by law, for any of the purposes:

  1. performing work at the place of business in order to comply with any applicable law;
  2. allowing for inspections, maintenance and repairs to be carried out at the place of business;
  3. allowing for security services to be provided at the place of business; and
  4. attending at the place of business on a temporary basis
    1. to deal with other critical matters relating to the closure of the place of business, if the critical matters cannot be addressed remotely; or
    2. to access materials, goods or supplies that may be needed for the business to be operated remotely.

Nothing in the Order precludes operations or delivery of services by any federal or provincial governments or a municipality. In addition, nothing in the Order restricts the activities of a publicly funded agency, organization or authority that delivers or supports government operations or services including health-care services.

If you have questions regarding the impact this will have on your business, we invite you to contact a member of Gowling WLG's Employment, Labour & Equalities group.

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