Manitoba's non-essential businesses shuttered as province battles COVID-19

You won’t be able to pick out any new threads at the mall while the Manitoba public health order that mandates the closure of non-essential businesses to curb the spread of COVID-19 remains in effect — but you can get your lawn cut.

The list of businesses or services that are considered essential and can remain open in Manitoba as of April 1 — 74 in total — includes the health care, banking and telecommunications sectors, the food service industry, public utilities and grocery stores.

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Coronavirus: Manitoba closing all non-critical businesses Wednesday

But some of the services on the list might surprise you, like office supply stores, dry cleaning businesses and lawn care services.

Read the health order and full list here. 

Meanwhile, other retailers and wholesalers can remain open if selling sanitation and cleaning products or personal protective equipment.

Showcase — a nationwide store known more for selling as-seen-on-TV gadgets than cleaning supplies — had several Winnipeg stores open Wednesday.

Although a customer could buy a gadget, the dozen or so people lined up at the Kildonan Place location had just a few items in mind, judging by the bags of bulk hand sanitizer and face masks customers left the store with.

That’s because the company’s CEO, Samir Kulkarni, issued an edict saying his stores would stay open to sell much-desired health supplies as a way to help Canadians and protect their health amid the pandemic, instead of the usual trendy gadgets.

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What is an essential service? After groceries, it depends where you live in Canada

Meanwhile, the rest of Kildonan Place mall remained shuttered Wednesday — for good reason beyond just protecting public health.

If a non-essential business has not complied with the public health order, a public health inspector will visit the owner and explain they’re required to close and why, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin told reporters Wednesday.

“Most times that’s effective, we have very high rates of compliance, period, and even higher rates when just approached by a public health inspector to ensure they’re comprehending the order and what they should do to comply,” Roussin said.

“Barring that, there are other orders and penalities under the public health act that could be in place.”

However, non-essential businesses can still operate online, allowing sales and curb side pick up.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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