Manitoba: Is my retail business an “essential service”? - Retail Council of Canada
Manitoba | Store Operations | Supply Chain & Logistics

Manitoba: Is my retail business an “essential service”?

April 23, 2020

Effective Wednesday, April 1, the Government of Manitoba imposed restrictions on the types of businesses that may continue to operate in the province, as part of its enhanced efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. The order is in place for two weeks.

All businesses that are not listed in the Schedule of Critical Services were required to close between April 1, 2020 and April 14, 2020. This Health Order has since been extended to April 28.  Retail Council of Canada has been working closely with the Manitoba Government for many days to proactively ensure this broader definition of “essential services”, given the evolving requirements and diverse retail needs of consumers living under COVID-19 restrictions.

Stores required to close may continue to sell online and provide delivery or pick-up as a result of RCC’s extensive discussions with the Premier’s office and success having the language changed. Initially the rules would have prohibited employees from working at the (closed) stores in support of online sales. As of April 1, 2020, the Health Order Schedule will be updated to ensure any retailer may now provide online / phone sales, as well as offer curbside pickup and/or delivery from their stores or distribution facilities.

View the new order to maintain the gathering size of no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor premises.

Definitions of allowable retail business services:

The following are considered Essential Services

Retail and Wholesale

  • A business that provides, either by wholesale or by retail sale, food or household consumer goods necessary for the safety, sanitation or operation of residences and businesses. Such a business includes a grocery store, supermarket, convenience store, butcher shop, bakery, market, hardware store and any other similar wholesale or retail business.
  • A business that provides personal protective equipment or protective clothing for use in the workplace.
  • A business that provides essential goods and services for the health and well-being of animals, including animal feed, pet food, and animal supplies such as bedding.
  • A gas station or other business that provides diesel, aviation, propane, heating fuel or other fuel used to power a motor vehicle, aircraft or watercraft.
  • A business that provides office supplies and services. The supplies and services include computer products and related repair and maintenance services for businesses and for individuals working from home.
  • A business that holds a retail liquor licence, a manufacturer’s licence, including a manufacturer’s licence with a retail endorsement, or a retail cannabis licence or that is authorized by the Government of Canada to produce cannabis.

RCC has also worked closely with the government of Manitoba and is pleased with the new Health Order that now confirms garden centres can operate in the province.

Manitoba has clarified that all non-exempt businesses may:

  • Continue to operate where customers can order goods online or by telephone but customers cannot be on the businesses’ premises or property to order goods;
  • Continue to sell goods to customers where those goods can be picked up ‘curbside’ or delivered to customers; however, customers cannot pick up goods at businesses’ premises or on its property;
  • Allow staff to attend the businesses’ premises, without limitation on the number of staff, as long as staff take measures to keep social distancing of one to two metres apart from each other; and
  • Accept delivery of goods and may allow services, such as construction, repairs, maintenance and cleaning to occur at their premises and on their property.

The Manitoba government announced that stores which primarily sell appliances must close to the public. Following immediate and extensive advocacy by RCC, we are pleased to confirm the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer has reversed its decision and will continue to allow appliance stores and furniture stores that sell appliances to remain open to the public, providing physical distancing measures are respected.

Supply Chains

A business that (a) that provides another business listed in this Schedule with goods or services necessary for the business to operate, including transportation and logistics management relating to those goods or services; or (b) that supports or facilitates the two-way movement of essential goods within integrated North American and global supply chains.

Physical Distancing Rules

The province also requires facilities to take appropriate risk mitigation strategies, along with adhering to two metre physical distancing protocols.

Should you have questions regarding this announcement, please contact:

John Graham
Director, Government Relations