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MPI to resume Class 1 testing with COVID-19 safety measures in place

MPI
After a two-month hiatus due to COVID-19 concerns, Manitoba Public Insurance is set to resume Class 1 testing. Global News/File

As the province continues to ease coronavirus safety restrictions, Manitoba Public Insurance plans to gradually begin offering Class 1 road and knowledge tests, beginning the week of May 18.

The public insurer says testing will begin at Winnipeg’s Gateway Service Centre (40 Lexington Park), before being rolled out at other locations.

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“This resumption on Class 1 road tests and knowledge tests is a small step forward to the day we can resume other class road tests and services to our customers,” said Satvir Jatana, MPI’s vice president of employee and community engagement, in a news release.

“COVID-19 dramatically changed our world and services we offer, however, we must all do our part to continue decreasing the curve.”

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All vision and knowledge testing have been on hold since March 16, when MPI announced an immediate halt due to COVID-19 concerns.

READ MORE: Public Utilities Board approves MPI rebate for ratepayers

However, MPI emphasizes it needs to work through the backlog of cancelled tests before it can begin accepting any new ones — a task that may take some time.

“Significant would be an understatement,” says MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley, when discussing the backlog.

“To give you an idea, we do about 5,000 road tests a month. The majority of those are Class 5, but I would say we do up to 100 Class 1 a month.”

Smiley adds they are drawing up plans to resume the other classes of tests as well, but based on input from the industry, they felt it was pertinent to begin with Class 1.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: First drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre opens in Winnipeg

MPI says it’s going to begin contacting customers in order of their original test dates to reschedule appointments.

A number of health precautions are being added for customers as well.

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When taking a Class 1 road test, MPI says drivers must wear their own mask (non-medical masks are fine), answer questions to ensure they haven’t been exposed to the virus, and sanitize all touchpoints in their vehicle.

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Those taking knowledge tests must bring their own pens and wear their own mask (again, non-medical is fine), and customers must sanitize their hands when entering the test location and again before having their vision tested.

MPI says more information on the resumption of other types of tests will be coming soon.

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