WINNIPEG -- The province of Manitoba has announced it will be providing nearly $130 million in unconditional operating grants to Manitoba municipalities to ease the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires made the announcement on Friday, saying the province is putting 75 per cent of its municipal operating grants directly to municipalities.

"We recognize the immediate pressures that Manitoba municipalities are facing as a result of COVID-19, and we wanted to provide certainty to help maintain critical essential services, such as emergency personnel, that Manitobans are counting on," said Squires.

She said the City of Winnipeg will be receiving $90.9 million, and $38.6 million will be going to other Manitoba municipalities.

"This is $90.9 million going over to the City of Winnipeg immediately with no strings attached to help them today with their cash flow challenges," Squires said.

The remaining 25 per cent of the province's municipal operating grants will be provided in September according to municipal needs.

A spokesperson for Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he is scheduled to meet with Squires next week to discuss how the province will partner with the City of Winnipeg to implement the post-pandemic plan for economic recovery.

The province said it provides a total of $172.6 million in operating funding to municipalities, as well as $137 million for municipal infrastructure and funding for other strategic priorities such as policing, public safety and solid waste reduction.