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Manitoba pledges $500M to stimulate economy amid coronavirus pandemic

Premier Brian Pallister will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. to give an update on the latest coronavirus measures in the province.

The Manitoba Government has pledged an additional $500 million for infrastructure projects over the next two years to help restart the province’s economy in the wake of COVID-19.

Premier Brian Pallister said Thursday the money for the Manitoba Restart Program will come on top of already-planned infrastructure investments of $3 billion over the next two years.

READ MORE: Manitoba to match scholarship, bursary donations during coronavirus

“As Manitoba continues to flatten the COVID curve, we are now in a position to slowly and carefully begin to restart our economy,” said Pallister in a release.

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“Our government is committed to working with industry, municipalities and all levels of government to help stimulate our economy as we move forward through this global health and financial pandemic.”

Pallister said the pot of money will be used for projects including water and sewer, road and highway resurfacing and repairs, bridge repairs, municipal infrastructure priorities, and possible cost-sharing construction projects with other levels of government.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 7th death in Manitoba reported, health officials say

“We believe that these projects are vital to the growth of our communities across our province,” said Pallister.

“Manitoba’s construction industry is ready to ramp up their work and we have many important shovel-worthy projects throughout the province to start that will improve the quality of life of all Manitobans.”

Pallister adds the earmarked money does not include contributions that may come through partnerships with from other levels of government.

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He said he expects some specific projects will be announced in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile the Progressive Conservative government is also suspending funding this year to some environmental groups.

Pallister says money has to be redirected to health care at this time.

READ MORE: Manitoba says cutting non essential jobs will free up money for COVID 19 fight

The Green Action Centre, a Winnipeg-based non-profit, says it is out $200,000 and will have a hard time maintaining its waste reduction program and other efforts.

On Wednesday, the premier announced Manitoba will match all money raised for post-secondary scholarships and bursaries through the COVID-19 pandemic.

–With files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba’s economic reopening ‘isn’t a return to normal,’ says health official' Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba’s economic reopening ‘isn’t a return to normal,’ says health official
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba’s economic reopening ‘isn’t a return to normal,’ says health official

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

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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.

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

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