City of Winnipeg to cancel group bookings of over 10 people, may bring in other restrictions

By | September 25, 2020

The City of Winnipeg is cancelling some bookings at its facilities as the region moves to level orange under the province’s pandemic response system, but is still waiting for clarification on what those restrictions mean for recreation facilities.

As of Monday, people in and around Winnipeg will have to wear masks in indoor public places and restrict gatherings to 10 people, the province announced at a news conference 

In response the city said it will cancel all bookings at parks for groups over 10 and reduce gatherings for funerals and weddings at city facilities to the same number. 

But Mayor Brian Bowman and Jason Shaw, the assistant chief of emergency services, said they aren’t sure how much further the provincial orders will impact the city as they only found out about the decision an hour before the public did. 

For example, Shaw said they’re looking to clarify whether recreational facilities such as arenas or libraries should be closed or limit gatherings to 10, or if they can continue to operate under the public health guidelines they currently have to follow. 

“There is a plethora of well-thought out public health orders. These new rules, like every phase the province has gone through, the city needs to take a look, assess how this affects them,” Shaw said. 

“We didn’t know up until a few hours ago what the province was doing. We were [working] in collaboration with them but now that we have the official wording, we’re going to take a moment to assess and make sure that we’ve got things right.”

Asked to comment on the fact that the city was only notified an hour before the announcement, and the degree of coordination between the province and Manitoba’s largest city, Bowman said now is a time for all levels of government to be working together. 

“There’ll be ample time for analysis of all three levels of governments actions with respect to operating in a global pandemic,” he said. 

“Right now, we’re doing everything we can to support public health orders in Manitoba and work collaboratively with them.”

Bowman said he could not remember exactly when he had last spoken with the premier, saying it had been quite some time. 

“It was a while ago. I can’t tell you off the top of my head. It was a while ago,” he said. 

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