WINNIPEG -- As the holiday season approaches, Winnipeggers will need to find a different ride program to get home.

Operation Red Nose is cancelling its service for the 2020 holiday season because of COVID-19.

Sharra Hinton, who is the coordinator for Operation Red Nose, said it was a tough decision to make.

"Just where things are with COVID-19, we're not sure how to be able to provide our ride program safely for both our volunteers and clients," she said.

Hinton said the service, which requires three volunteers to pick up a customer and drive their vehicle home, couldn't figure out how to operate while physically distancing.

"It's not even an option for us to operate otherwise. We can't just provide that program safely."

Hinton said she is hopeful that with COVID-19, many people won't be having big parties and many won't rely on the service.

"My gut tells me there is going to be fewer parties out there. Usually, around September and into early October, we start getting some enquires from different companies that are planning their Christmas party," she said, "So I start to hear from them in September and I haven't heard from anyone yet."


The RCMP said the fact Operation Red Nose is cancelling for this season is a big loss but added that it is not concerned.

"We are confident that the overwhelming majority of people will make the responsible decisions," said Sgt. Mark Hume, who is the unit commander of the North West Traffic Services, in an email to CTV News.

He noted people will have to find another way to get home safely whether that be a taxi, arranging a ride from a friend or relative, or just not drinking.

He also had a message for the people who decide to drink and get behind the wheel.

"We will do our best to be there to pick you up, but we won't be taking you home."

Hinton said she is hopeful Operation Red Nose will be back in full force for the 2021 season.