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Manitoba loosens some COVID-19 restrictions, allows drive-in church services


WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is loosening some of its COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings and businesses.

Starting Saturday, drive-in services at churches and other venues will be allowed, as long as people attend only with members of their household and remain in their vehicles.

A Winnipeg church filed a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge against the ban on drive-in services last week, and lost a bid for a temporary lifting of the rule until the case could be heard.

The province is also adding thrift stores and acupuncture services to the list of essential businesses that can operate.

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It has also added school supplies and seasonal holiday decorations to essential goods that can be sold in-store instead of through curbside pickup or online.

Other rules, including a five-person limit on public gatherings and restrictions on visitors in private homes, remain in place.

Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says Manitoba’s ongoing high number of daily COVID-19 cases and their effect on the health- care system require that restrictions continue.

The new rules are to last until early January — Roussin says an exact date has not yet been set.