City ambassadors to patrol parks for people breaking COVID-19 procedures
File photo of people walking in a park.
Starting Saturday, City of Winnipeg ambassadors will be deployed in city-owned public spaces to provide information on COVID-19 and the measures being implemented by Manitoba Health.
As part of the new Community Service Ambassador (CSA) program, the ambassadors will remind large groups or residents using city amenities that are closed due to COVID-19, about the current guidelines.
“This is an opportunity to speak with residents who might not be getting the message regarding usage of our public spaces and the recommendations on physical distancing,” said Mayor Bowman in a news release.
The city’s CSAs will be spread across Winnipeg, with a focus on parks, open spaces, and places where people tend to gather.
“We recognize that the guidelines around safe social practices for COVID-19 are dynamic and changing regularly and that we are continuing to make changes on a nearly daily basis around the operation of various City facilities,” said Jay Shaw, assistant chief of emergency management.
“By engaging in this manner, we are able to provide the most up-to-date information directly to residents who might be carrying out activities that are in contravention of current recommended practices or current closures.”
PENALTIES FOR BREAKING THE RULES
In addition to CSAs, the city will be utilizing its by-law enforcement officers to enforce the city orders.
By-law officers can hand out warnings and appearance notices that could result in penalties of up to $1,000 and up to six months imprisonment for not respecting city orders.
“The goal of this program is to enhance efforts to get factual information into the hands of the public. Ideally, we hope that we don’t have to hand out any penalties; however, that mechanism is there if we need it to help reinforce the message on City closures,” said Bowman.
RESTRICTION OF ACTIVITIES
The city’s interim chief administrative officer, Mike Ruta, authorized a new order regarding the restriction of activities in city-owned parks, which goes into effect immediately.
The order prohibits access to the following areas or locations within city-owned parks:
• Skateboard sites;
• Play structures;
• Picnic shelters;
• Outdoor barbeques; and
• Athletic and sports fields, pitches, diamonds, greens, courts or similar areas.
The order also outlines physical distancing requirements while within city-owned parks:
• Individuals must maintain a distance of at least two metres from every other individual while within any park;
• No person may be within a group of 10 or more people; and
• Physical distancing requirements do not apply to people who can demonstrate that they are living together.