WINNIPEG -- June is Pride Month in Winnipeg and even though the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on many of the Pride festivities, organizers say the community needs to support each other.

Pride Winnipeg President Barry Karlenzig says the pandemic has hit the organization hard – forcing them to postpone pride week to September 4-13 and opt for a virtual festival instead of the parade and festivities that normally accompany pride week in Winnipeg.

The national Fierté Canada/Canada Pride Festival was scheduled to be held in Winnipeg this year. The event has been cancelled, but Pride Winnipeg will still be able to host it in 2022.

"From the community, it's been a very positive response from what we've seen," Karlenzig said. "Everyone realizes that public health and obviously the safety of everyone comes first."

He said they are still working out what the virtual festival will look like, and said Pride Winnipeg will be holding public consultations for input not just for this year, but for years to come.

He said more details on how to participate in these consultations will be coming in the next few weeks.

While there will not be any large events for Pride Month in Winnipeg, Karlenzig said there is still pride in the city.

"Pride is more than just one month – pride is 24-7, 365," he said. "We are there to support each other, we are there as a community year-round, and so should the allies and supports and companies around Manitoba and the companies around Canada."

Karlenzig said even with eased restrictions on group gatherings in Manitoba, Pride Winnipeg will not be hosting any in-person events.

"For any of the other groups that can do something in a small setting, we are definitely going to be there to support them any which way possible and provide whatever we can to ensure that their event is the most successful," he said.

He encouraged the community to reach out to Pride Winnipeg if they have questions or want to have their voice heard.

"We are a very transparent organization," he said. "Transparency comes from sitting, listening, and learning from our community and that has been the goal of this organization this year."