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Second phase of Manitoba's reopening has 'been really good': premier
WINNIPEG -- The second phase of Manitoba’s economic reopening has been going smoothly, according to the premier.
“I think it’s been really good,” said Premier Brian Pallister at a news conference on Wednesday.
“I did a little bit of a mini driving tour just to check things out.”
Monday marked the beginning of the province’s second phase of reopening, permitting non-critical services such as spas, gyms, and nail salons to resume operations under strict guidelines.
Pallister said he’s been hearing good things about the loosening of restrictions, and is happy to see the upswing in economic activity.
“Manitobans are getting out there and enjoying our beautiful spring weather and they’re doing it while they’re doing some shopping,” he said.
“I see some lineups and I see they’re longer than I had seen at some of those stores in the past. That’s encouraging, I know, for the small business people and the people who work in those businesses. I see some other places open that weren’t. I see a lot more traffic for sure.”
The premier noted he receives ongoing feedback from the MLAs and said he’s always listening.
“We’re optimistic, we feel we’re in recovery mode and we just have to remember to keep doing the fundamental things we’ve been doing to protect each other,” he said.
Pallister said with the warmer weather, he expects patios will be seeing a lot of business and encourages Manitobans to safely enjoy the outdoors.
In a statement, Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said not everything is going well.
"We are hearing from small businesses facing eviction, small landlords facing bankruptcy, early childhood educators and teachers who are frustrated and overwhelmed — all in addition to post-secondary education that is facing massive cuts,” he said.
He noted the parts of Manitoba’s reopening that are going well have to do with the work of the residents, rather than the government.
Jamie Moses, NDP MLA for St. Vital, said his party thinks there are areas that can be improved on.
"Mainly ensuring that there are personal protective equipment available for businesses to have available for their employees and customers so that it is a safe environment," said Moses.
He thinks many businesses were "behind the eight ball" during Phase Two of reopening because of short notice by the premier and his government.
"If we were able to prepare more, this transition could have been handled more smoothly," he said, adding businesses like child care facilities would have benefitted from extra time to prepare.
Moses said that whenever Phase Three comes around, the government needs to make sure that Manitoba doesn't head backward, and that it should listen to the voices of the people in the province.