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Manitoba government launches ‘restart’ ad campaign amid coronavirus

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister is scheduled to talk about the province's ongoing efforts to reopen amid COVID-19 Wednesday.
Manitoba premier Brian Pallister is scheduled to talk about the province's ongoing efforts to reopen amid COVID-19 Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The Manitoba government has launched an ad campaign touting the province’s “roadmap to recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The paid advertising campaign, called #RestartMB, includes spots on radio and billboards, with plans to expand to print and digital ads, the government said in a release Wednesday.

The campaign, which has so far cost $250,000, focuses on public safety and economic recovery. Health precautions must be balanced with the economy, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said at a Wednesday press conference held at a hotel in Brandon, where a COVID-19 outbreak has grown to at least 64 active cases.

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“Manitobans have been careful and we’ve been able to protect each other through this time,” he said. “But we have to remember that folks need to get their lives back.”

The premier also said it is important to support people going back to work. He called on the federal government to finalize details of the Pan-Canadian Sick Leave Program, which was announced nearly a month ago.

Read more: Manitoba reports 4 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, new testing site opening in Brandon

“Manitobans want to work, they don’t want to just sit at home and collect a subsidy cheque — they want to be able to have a chance to go to work,” Pallister said.

According to the government’s release the campaign’s tagline, “Ready. Safe. Grow.” is designed to reinforce the following messages:

  • Manitoba is ready for what lies ahead – ready to live with COVID-19, ready to return to school, ready to restart services, create jobs and grow the economy. The government’s actions and investment in being ready include the Manitoba Gap Protection Program, wage subsidies and Restoring Safe Schools plan.
  • Staying safe is the first step to growth. The province must continue to act and follow public health advice to keep COVID-19 test positivity cases low and learn to live with the virus, and continue to focus on public health through Manitoba’s COVID-19 Risk and Response System, and a focus on public health fundamentals.
  • Manitoba will grow its way out of this economic challenge and take action to ensure the province is in a stronger place after COVID-19 passes. Manitobans share a collective role in growing the economy. The campaign will build confidence and awareness of public health measures and employment support programs.

“Public health and safety is a key driver of recovery, and as we continue to safely restart our economy and reopen our communities, we must learn to live with this virus,” said Pallister in the release. 

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“We are committed to being ready for what lies ahead – ready to live with COVID-19, ready to return to school, ready to restart our services, create jobs and grow our economy.”

Coronavirus: More Manitoba families looking at homeschooling for fall
Coronavirus: More Manitoba families looking at homeschooling for fall

Health officials reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba Wednesday, bringing the province’s total number of cases since March to 578. A provincewide state of emergency was also extended , for the fifth time, for another 30 days.

As of Wednesday, Manitoba has 202 active known cases, with five people in hospital, including three who are in intensive care with the virus.

Read more: 3 more employees at Brandon Maple Leaf hog plant test positive for COVID-19

The majority of current active cases — 86 — are in the Prairie Mountain Health region, which includes Brandon. Several employees at a Maple Leaf Foods plant in the city have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks, prompting their union to call for a temporary closure of the plant.

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Health officials have said the cases are linked to gatherings outside the plant and there is no sign of spread in the workplace. Maple Leaf’s CEO has said he has confidence in the safety precautions in place and the plant will remain operational.

Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew called Wednesday for all employees at the plant to be tested in order to slow the spread of the virus.

Pallister said the province is following public health advice. He added that case numbers in Manitoba were low for a long time, which may cause people to be more fearful over the increase.

“There was nowhere to go but up.”

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Read more: Lineups begin early as Brandon residents wait for coronavirus tests

Eight Manitobans have died from COVID-19 since the first case was reported in the province in March and 368 have recovered.

The Manitoba government started lifting public health restrictions put in place to help stem the spread of COVID-19 in phases May 4, most recently allowing casinos, cinemas and theatres to reopen at 30 per cent capacity under the fourth phase, which kicked in on July 25.

Manitoba had gone nearly half the month of July without reporting a single new case of the virus. But that streak ended July 14 when five new cases were identified. Since then, 248 new cases have been reported in Manitoba.

–With files from The Canadian Press

Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 35 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths
Coronavirus: Manitoba reports 35 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

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

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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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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