City of Winnipeg says no tickets given out yet for COVID-19 rule-breakers in city parks, public spaces

Community Service Ambassadors talking to people at Assiniboine Park on Saturday, April 11th.
Community Service Ambassadors talking to people at Assiniboine Park on Saturday, April 11th. Michael Draven / Global News

The City of Winnipeg says no fines were doled out for COVID-19 public health order violations over the Easter weekend.

Last week the city said a crew of city workers would start patrolling Winnipeg parks and public spaces looking to break-up large groups and educate the public on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday the city said the crews, known as Community Service Ambassadors (CSA), as well as By-Law Enforcement Officers did 234 patrols in parks, open spaces, and athletic fields over the weekend.

The crews reported 819 “positive interactions” but the city says they also gave 12 verbal warnings about social distancing, 32 warnings about closed facilities, and one warning to a large group.

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Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he is impressed by the results so far.

“I’m very grateful for the vast majority of Winnipeggers who have and continue to respect the public health orders made by the provincial government,” said Bowman in a release Tuesday.

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“It is encouraging to see the positive engagement our Community Service Ambassadors had with citizens over the weekend and no penalties handed out.”

City officials say their primary goal is to educate the public, but if crews come across people in groups of larger than 10, or people not practising physical distancing, a fine of up to $1,000 could be possible.

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‘We all have a role to play’

On Tuesday morning provincial health officials announced there were no new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 to report in Manitoba.

The province’s case count stands at 246, with nine people hospitalized and four in intensive care. Four people have died and 99 have recovered, with 142 active cases.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Manitobans should be encouraged by the lack of cases, but said we shouldn’t let up on social distancing.

Community Service Ambassadors patrolling Kildonan Park on Saturday, April 11th.
Community Service Ambassadors patrolling Kildonan Park on Saturday, April 11th. Marek Tkach / Global News

Jason Shaw, head of the city’s emergency operations centre said Winnipeggers need to continue to listen to provincial health official’s orders.

“While the initial numbers from our enforcement efforts in City parks and open spaces is encouraging, it’s really important that residents continue to put into practice the province’s health and safety recommendations and respect our facility closures,” said Shaw in a release.

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“We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and we have to keep working together to flatten the curve.”

The city says up to 44 CSAs and more than 20 By-Law Enforcement Officers may be patrolling throughout Winnipeg at any given time throughout the day.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Winnipeg ‘ambassadors’ watching for rule-breakers in city parks'
Coronavirus: Winnipeg ‘ambassadors’ watching for rule-breakers in city parks

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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