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Changes to parks, parking coming due to COVID-19
Published Friday, March 27, 2020 12:35PM CST Last Updated Friday, March 27, 2020 3:45PM CST
WINNIPEG -- The City of Winnipeg is closing all play structures inside city-owned parks, and making changes to parking, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a news release, the city says all amenities inside city-owned parks, including picnic structures and all play structures, are closed. City-owned parks will remain open, but residents are reminded to practice physical distancing.
All permits issued to special events and festivals have been suspended until the end of June.
The decision is to help reinforce new recommendations put in place by the province on Friday, where gatherings are now limited to 10 people or less.
Jason Shaw, manager of the city's Emergency Operations Centre, said it will also allow event organizers enough time to plan accordingly.
"We know that we're in this as a city and a province to potentially be social distancing for many weeks and into months, and it's important for us to make sure that we get the message out that everyone needs to be prepared," said Shaw at a news conference on Friday afternoon.
The changes take effect Saturday.
PARKING ENFORCEMENT CHANGES
The city also announced changes to parking enforcement on Friday.
According to the release, the city will not be enforcing the parking time limit restrictions in residential areas with parking time restrictions.
The decision was made to accommodate employees who are now required to be home more for self-isolation and working from home requirements.
The city is also offering one hour of free parking at all metered locations through Winnipeg, and adding temporary 15-minute loading zones in various locations Downtown and through the Exchange District.
Shaw said outside of these new changes all other parking restrictions with continue to stay in place and be enforced.
These changes will also take effect Saturday.
POTENTIAL STATE OF LOCAL EMERGENCY
Mayor Brian Bowman did mention at the news conference that he will be holding a meeting with council next week to determine if the city should declare a state of local emergency.
Bowman said the meeting will be held on Friday, April 3, at 9:30 a.m.
When asked why he wouldn't declare the emergency earlier he said he felt it was important to discuss it with all of council.
"At this stage today, as you can see with some of the changes that are being made, the city has the tools it currently needs, but we do expect the situation to get worse before it gets better," said Bowman. "I think we need to have that dialogue as a council and my own view is I want to make sure the Public Service has the tools that they need in real-time going forward."
When it comes to struggling local businesses, Bowman said he has been in constant conversation with the province, federal government and other big-city mayors on how to best support those businesses going forward.
- With files from CTV's Devon McKendrick