Health-care workers have been named the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic, working tirelessly on the front lines.
The long hours also mean workers have been exceeding parking times at hospitals and health-care facilities, leaving some with hefty parking fines after their shifts.
Patrick White, owner of Winnipeg’s Signcraft Display, says that didn’t sit well with him.
He says was approached by Greg Veosovich, a local freelance graphic design artist who had a layout idea for parking permit tags, and the concept took off.
White say’s he plans to use Veosovich’s design to create the tags at his printing business.
The two plan to donate them to the City of Winnipeg in hopes they will encourage council to permit free parking for health-care workers at health facilities.
“They deserve a lot more recognition than what they get. And for a tiny little thing like this, if it can give them a break with parking tickets and things like that, I think it’s the least we can do to help,” White said.
White’s family-run business has been operating in Winnipeg for nearly 27 years, specializing in large-format printing, including banners, decals and vehicle graphics.
He says that while the parking tags wouldn’t cover the cost of parking, it would be a way to notify enforcement not to ticket health-care workers.
Manitoba Shared Health says parking options for health-care workers continue to be discussed.
“Staff who have been temporarily deployed to new sites as part of the response to COVID-19 are receiving parking vouchers,” a Shared Health spokesperson said in a statement to Global News.
The City of Winnipeg confirmed it has been in contact with Shared Health about parking options.
“At this time, Shared Health and the hospitals have not made requests for parking around the hospitals to change,” a City of Winnipeg spokesperson said in a statement to Global News.
The Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) is also lobbying for parking fees to be temporarily waived for health-care workers.
“MNU is urging the government to do more to recognize the contributions of health-care workers during this difficult time,” MNU president Darlene Jackson told Global News.
Last month, British Columbia’s provincial government suspended paid parking at hospitals and other health facilities amid the COVID-19 crisis.
This includes free parking for patients, staff and visitors at sites owned by health authorities.
MNU is hoping the province will follow B.C.’s lead.
“If a nurse stays late after an overnight shift in order to support a shift change, some are required to pay for daytime parking after already paying for an overnight rate,” Jackson said.
As for White and Veosovich’s project, the plan to take the idea to the city later this week.
“There’s a lot of stories out there where businesses are working to help the community and other local businesses, and I think that’s great,” White said. “It’s a great time to show everybody what Winnipeggers are all about.”