‘Wear a friggin’ mask’ Winnipeg mayor responds to anti-mask protests

By | October 16, 2020

WINNIPEG — Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman had a message for anti-mask protestors who have been holding rallies against mandatory mask rules in the city in recent weeks.

During a news conference Friday afternoon, Bowman spoke about the recent rallies, including one outside of Winnipeg City Hall nearly two weeks ago.

“In a country like Canada, where we are a free and democratic society, lawful, peaceful protests are obviously okay,” he said.

“In terms of the substance of the protest though, while I recognize that not everyone can wear a mask, for everyone else, simple message; wear a friggin’ mask. Look after people other than yourself, and you can do that by simply wearing a mask.”

The comment came as additional COVID-19 restrictions were announced by the province on Friday, which will take effect on Oct. 19.

Masks are mandatory in all indoor public places in Winnipeg, including all city-owned facilities.

THE NEW RESTRICTIONS AND THEIR IMPACT ON WINNIPEG

The City of Winnipeg detailed how the new COVID-19 restrictions that are coming into effect will impact city services.

During a news conference Friday afternoon, the province announced that starting Oct. 19, gathering size limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people for at least two weeks.

This means the City of Winnipeg will be cancelling all bookings for groups over five in city-owned parks and reducing gathering sizes for weddings and funerals on city property.

“This is a tough time for everyone,” said Jay Shaw, the assistant chief of the emergency management centre for the City of Winnipeg. “When we went down to 10 (person gathering limits), you saw in the province that there were some people that were scrambling to be able to rebook and to do those things. COVID-19 has affected everyone, this has been emotional for many folks that have been trying to plan gatherings, retirements, weddings, and unfortunately, even for funeral services to pay respect to our loved ones.”

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman echoed Shaw’s comments on lowered gathering sizes for funerals.

“It’s heartbreaking when you think about it,” he said. “I know people, and I’m sure others here, know people who have been lost recently,” said Bowman.

He reiterated wearing a mask can help “mitigate some of the heartbreaking stories that we’re hearing about the sacrifices that people are having to make in times of grief.”

Winnipeg libraries will have their inside capacity reduced to 50 per cent, Shaw said.

CITY SERVICE SUSPENSION

The city is also suspending in-home, non-emergency inspections starting Monday, until further notice. Shaw said those who have scheduled inspections or appointments will be contacted and given alternative means to conduct their inspection where possible.

Interior inspections for the assessment and taxation department, along with bylaw enforcement services, and inspections will be completed via phone or photo.

“For those requiring a permit through planning, property, and development, inspections of unoccupied homes will continue, as will on-site inspections for urgent situations, following all established safe work procedures,” Shaw said.

In-home visits for emergency utility services will also continue, but water meter reading and inspections are suspended.

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