Coronavirus: Winnipeg property manager claims tenants are ignoring social-distancing warnings

A Winnipeg property manager says tenants aren't following social-distancing guidelines amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Global News / File

A Winnipeg property management company is begging its residents to take the novel coronavirus pandemic seriously.

Brydges Property Management, which manages buildings housing more than 10,000 Manitobans, says it’s seen a “systemic lack of compliance” to basic social-distancing guidelines.

The company’s president, Brenda Brydges, told 680 CJOB she’s been fielding a steady stream of phone calls from tenants about groups hanging out in common areas, neighbours throwing parties and people generally ignoring coronavirus safety regulations.

READ MORE: Manitoba provides funding to Winnipeg homeless shelters for COVID-19 prevention

“The primary concern is two-fold,” Brydges said. “One is not self-isolating. We have a number of snowbirds who have come back, and some are self-isolating but a majority of them aren’t.

“The other thing is social distancing, that people just simply aren’t respecting the social-distancing laws … and regrettably, they come to us for help,” she said. “As a property manager, there’s really nothing I can do other than send letters and phone calls.”

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Brydges said that despite the company’s efforts, scofflaw tenants are blowing off requests to obey health and safety signage in the buildings.

READ MORE: ‘This is disrespectful’ — Manitoba premier says it’s time for people to follow COVID-19 directives

“They say that we don’t have any authority to do anything, and they have their rights to be in the common area,” she said.

“(They say they) can go ahead and use the exercise equipment even though we’ve closed it down. They’re just not willing to help.

“I’ve got owners calling me that are crying. I’ve got staff on the front lines saying, ‘Brenda, what do I do?'”

Brenda Brydges. Brydges Property Management

Brydges said her company has even gone to the extreme length of offering $100 to each resident in a lower-income seniors’ building for every month they comply with regulations, but there are still some ignoring the rules.

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“It’s very, very frustrating. We have signs up all over the place asking people to wash their hands and about social distancing … but I’m just a property manager.

“There’s always one guy who thinks he’s a cowboy and he’s immune to this virus.”

Last week, Premier Brian Pallister and chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin urged Manitobans to abide by health and safety guidelines.

“This is disrespectful to each other,” Pallister said. “This is not what good citizenship looks like.

“Listen carefully, understand this is real. This is not pretend. This is not a video game. You have the chance to save lives. Do it, listen and act accordingly and respectfully.”

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Social distancing enforcement – Apr 3, 2020

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