Winnipeg’s mayor has laid out three considerations he hopes to see made in Mantioba’s plan to ease restrictions on people and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Brian Pallister is expected to reveal provincial plans to reopen the economy Wednesday.
At a Tuesday press conference Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he hopes those plans include protection for vulnerable people, consideration for Winnipeg’s business community, and continued collaboration with municipal governments.
He said COVID-19 has “amplified the need to better protect some of our most vulnerable citizens”, including those with addictions, the homeless, and those in need of protection from women’s’ shelters.
“What we recognize in this is just how vulnerable some of our citizens are,” he said.
“I just want to make sure that those plans recognize the ongoing need for us to provide those protections from COVID-19 to those that are most vulnerable because they’re not able to go home and self-isolate the same way.”
Bowman said he also hopes the province’s plan is as consistent as possible with the reopening roll-outs in other jurisdictions, so the city’s business community– particularly those with offices in other cities in Canada and around the world — isn’t negatively affected.
“That’s going to help with the administrative buy-in and therefore the health protections,” he said.
“The more that they can be consistent with businesses throughout Canada, in fact internationally, the easier it will be for businesses that are based here in Winnipeg.”
Finally Bowman said he’s hopeful the province’s plan includes “continued and strengthened collaboration” with city officials.
“We want to make sure that the City of Winnipeg can continue to provide the support to Manitoba Health and to the provincial government,” he said.
“Having advanced information, having administrative coordination will help us make sure that we are ready to roll things out in a timely and thoughtful way.”
At the press conference Jason Shaw, head of Winnipeg’s emergency operations centre, couldn’t say which local businesses would be prioritized to open as restrictions are lifted because he said the province hasn’t shared its plans with city officials yet.
“We look forward to seeing the document, either when it’s released or hopefully a little bit before so we can work with the province,” said Shaw.
“It has to be done with thought and it has to be done in a way to protect our citizens and all Manitobans.”
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.
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.
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