On November 10th, the Provincial Government issued a news release announcing that, due to the recent COVID19 surge in cases, the entire Province was moving to Critical (or Code Red) on the Pandemic Response System.
As part of the news release, the Province’s Code Red Backgrounder provided information to the public about what was considered critical services, and further that libraries were required to close. See the Public Health Order for more information.
PLSB issued a communication in the early afternoon to all public libraries, rebroadcasting the News Release and advising, in part:
Public Library Services (PLS) encourages your library to follow all applicable response measures and related Health Orders. Libraries should confirm local response measures with municipal authorities and keep current with alert levels, health orders and response measures posted to the Pandemic Response System web page.
PLS recommends that your library work closely with your municipal partners to create plans for temporary changes to service levels.
MLA has received confirmation from PLSB, that public libraries:
‘can remain operational (curbside service, e-services/virtual programming etc.). All library staff need to continue to practice physical distancing, mask and hygiene protocols’
A MLA member public library has also advised it has received the following response from Municipal Relations:
A business or facility that is required to be closed under the Preventive Health Orders (this includes libraries) may continue to operate in order to provide goods by delivery or pick-up that have been ordered online, by telephone or other remote means. If a business or facility allows members of the public to attend to pick up goods, the operator must implement measures to ensure that members of the public attending are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from other members of the public.
In a news conference on November 10th, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, indicated that the length of the widespread closures may be in effect for a minimum of two weeks and up to four weeks (4 weeks being two incubation periods of the virus). See this CBC News article for additional information.