Manitoba restricts in-store shopping to essential goods only and prohibits all other items effective Friday, November 20, 2020 - Retail Council of Canada
Advocacy | Coronavirus | Manitoba | Store Operations

Manitoba restricts in-store shopping to essential goods only and prohibits all other items effective Friday, November 20, 2020

November 19, 2020

UPDATE: The order has now been extended until January 8, 2021.

UPDATE: Please note that the Manitoba Health Order and Interpretation Information has now been posted.   Further, the government has provided this ESSENTIAL ITEMS POSTER that they would encourage you to post, and use as guidance for your staff.

RCC has also clarified and the Health Order goes into effect Friday, November 20, 2020 at 12:01am, and from that point you are prohibited from selling non-essential items. However, you have until Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 12:01 am to cover, sign, block access or remove non-essential items.

Following continually rising cases and frustration by Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer regarding the amount of in-store shopping for non-essential items, the province has announced strict new rules that will prohibit non-essential products from being sold in-store for most of the province. 

As of Friday, November 20, 2020, essential retailers must prohibit the purchase of non-essential items, and as of Saturday, November 21, 2020, one of the following measures to restrict non-essential items from being sold in-store, must be taken:

  • Non-essential items are to be removed from areas of the business to which members of the public have access, OR;
  • The public is to be physically prevented (barriers) from gaining access to non-essential items at the business, OR;
  • Signs in the business or stickers on items in the business clearly identify non-essential items that cannot be purchased.

All retailers may continue to sell any products online and offer curbside pickup or delivery.  Northern regions with less populated communities have received an exception that will be written into the Health Order.

Effective November 20, 2020, “Essential Products” are being defined as:

As outlined in the Government Backgrounder, retailers are now limited to the following items only:

  • food, beverages and food preparation products;
  • personal care products such as soap and dental care products;
  • health-related products such as prescription drugs and vitamins;
  • mobility or assistive devices;
  • baby and child-care accessories such as diapers and formula;
  • household cleaning products, safety devices, batteries and lightbulbs;
  • outdoor winter apparel such as jackets and boots;
  • personal protective equipment for the workplace;
  • pet food and supplies;
  • postage stamps;
  • cellphones and cellphone accessories;
  • parts and supplies for all types of motor vehicles and watercraft;
  • major household appliances;
  • hunting, fishing and trapping supplies;
  • tools and hardware;
  • materials for home maintenance, repair or construction; and
  • property maintenance products such as shovels.

UPDATE: RCC was able to secure an update to the Manitoba Health Order (November 22, 2020) that allows for gift cards, prepaid credit cards and newspapers to be considered as essential items. Further, stores typically selling winter wear are able to reopen, as long as the items on display are restricted to essential items only (as listed on page 27/28 of the Health Order. Read more

Non-essential items refers to any good and products not set out in the orders. This includes jewelry, flowers, perfume, consumer electronics, sporting equipment, books and toys.

The operator of a retail business must:

  • Limit the number of members of the public shopping at the business to 25 per cent of the usual capacity of the premises or 250 people, whichever is lower;
  • Implement measures to ensure that members of the public attending the business are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from other members of the public; and,
  • Establish a system to ensure compliance with the capacity limits and provide proof the capacity limits have not been exceeded on request from a person.

For more information, contact John Graham, Director of Government Relations (Prairie Region), at (204) 918-3353 or