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On November 3, 2020 the Manitoba government announced the launch of the next phase of a comprehensive public engagement strategy inviting Manitobans to share their feedback. The first week of this engagement strategy focused on enforcement, awareness of current Pandemic Response System restrictions and collected feedback from the public on the possibility of a curfew as a measure to halt the growing community transmission of COVID-19 in our province.
The first telephone town hall took place November 5 and had 26, 279 attendees. A participation report with results from the telephone town hall poll questions is available below. In total 18, 615 people provided feedback through an online survey between November 2 and November 5.
Overall, awareness of current public health orders under the pandemic response system is high. The top three locations where respondents see people breaking public health orders include grocery stores, private homes and retail outlets. This problematic behavior is spread out somewhat evenly between gathering in groups larger than five people, not wearing a mask in indoor spaces when required and sites not enforcing capacity limits. The survey asked respondents for examples of locations where they had seen problematic behavior. Responses to this question will be sent to the Public Health Enforcement Unit for review. The majority of respondents indicated that education, warnings and fines were all somewhat or very effective measures to ensure compliance with public health orders. Respondents were askedif a curfewwould help prevent gatherings, reduce contacts and slow the spread of COVID-19. The results received show that public feedback is divided on this issue with a majority of respondents indicating they definitely or somewhat agree that a 10PM curfew would be effective in reducing COVID-19 transmission.
Public feedback to the survey indicated the desire to provide additional open-ended comments. The survey was edited to allow respondents to provide general comments on enforcement and the potential for a curfew. The top three themes emerging from these comments include:
Curfew - Responses were mixed with comments both in support of and against a curfew. Those in support of a curfew thought it would slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent additional widespread restrictions. Those against a curfew thought it would create unneeded worry and confusion.
Enforcement and Fines - Respondents indicated a desire for enforcement of public health orders with fines imposed.
Curfew Exemptions - Respondents wanted to see curfew exemptions granted to essential workers and others on a case-by-case basis.