Manitoba's Premier is applauding the efforts of elected local officials in Steinbach, for encouraging more people to get vaccinated.

As of Monday, 77.6 per cent of Manitobans have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. In Steinbach, it is 56.8 per cent, where earlier this year, the city was called out for having one of the lowest vaccine uptake rates in the entire province.

"I'm very encouraged to see the numbers trending upward in areas like Steinbach," says Brian Pallister. "I would commend the local elected officials for working very hard at the municipal level to get the word out that these are a safe way to protect yourself and your family and your community too."

Pallister reiterates that there have been a lot of direct victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only have Manitobans suffered physically, but so too have families struggled through restrictions. And on top of that is the group that is impacted by having to continue to wait for surgery or treatment.

"There's a lot of Manitobans out there that want to have a chance to get a hip done or get their cataracts out, or whatever the case may be, and I think of these folks too and these aren't just seniors," says Pallister.

He notes we all want to get back to doing the things we love, which includes travel. Pallister says Monday's announcement that the Canada/ US border will reopen to fully vaccinated Americans beginning August 9th, is great news for our tourism industry.

"I was just talking to a fellow the other day, runs a hunting lodge up north, he says eighty per cent of his business, I did not know it was that high, comes from Minnesota and North Dakota, Wisconsin, down that way," says the Premier. "Our tourism industry is a big growing part of our economy, we've got a lot to show off here in Manitoba, we've got a lot of great attractions, but we have a lot of folks that are out of work right now because we just can't get the tourists in that would normally like to come and visit here in Manitoba."

Pallister says as Chair of Canada's Premiers and the Council of the Federation, he emphasized to the Prime Minister last week, the importance of getting our border reopened sooner rather than later. To his credit, Pallister says on Monday the Prime Minister made the announcement to begin the process of reopening.

Meanwhile, Pallister says when it comes to international travel, he believes vaccination cards will almost certainly be needed moving forward. He refers to Manitoba's vaccination card as a temporary measure to give additional security to people, and benefits to be able to attend certain venues and events in Manitoba. It has already been stated that currently if you want to attend a Winnipeg Blue Bombers home game or walk into a museum or theatre, you will need to have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.