Winnipeg mayor urges residents to stay home, as another business fined by city
WINNIPEG -- Winnipeg’s mayor and emergency management officer are both urging residents to follow the advice of public health officials during the Code Red initiative and stay home, as the city announced another business was fined for allegedly violating public health orders.
“Don’t gather with people that you don’t live with,” Mayor Brian Bowman said in a news conference on Friday. “Now is not the time to have friends over, and if everyone doesn’t gather, we know that less COVID-19 will be spread in our community and throughout our city.”
The mayor’s comments came as over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases were announced in Manitoba this week.
Bowman urged Winnipeggers to work from home if they’re able to, and go straight home from work if they aren’t able to work from home.
“If everyone puts in this effort right now, and makes these sacrifices to our everyday lives, we will flatten the curve once again,” Bowman said, also urging Manitobans to support local businesses and restaurants during the Code Red orders.
Jay Shaw, the assistant manager of the city’s emergency operations department, said he knows Winnipeggers are concerned about their mental health, but added people can still go outside and get fresh air.
“Fresh air and sunshine are good for everyone,” he said. “This doesn’t mean that we gather in groups, or meet friends in the park. This doesn’t mean that we organize groups to walk together. This simply means take a break, get outside, move your body. Learn to embrace the beauty of Winnipeg in all of its seasons, including this upcoming winter.”
COVID-19 ENFORCEMENT IN WINNIPEG
Shaw said that as of Friday, bylaw enforcement officers from the city have inspected 159 facilities and handed out a ticket to a second business, Serratus Movement Centre, for not closing under the public health orders.
He said the business was fined $5,000.
“I think our city bylaw officers have been working very well with their counterparts in the province, under the direction of their leadership team,” Shaw said. “They’ve been working very well together, and it’s clear what our orders are. Our orders are to enforce businesses that should be closed and help with enforcement where there are capacity limits.”
Bowman asked Winnipeggers to be proactive in following public health orders to ensure enforcement is not required.
Public health order violations can be reported in Winnipeg by calling 311, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
BUSINESS DISPUTES FINE
Liisa Burgess, owner of Serratus, is disputing the ticket, saying it was handed out on Tuesday afternoon, before the official public health orders were put in place for gyms and fitness centres.
“We had just heard the news two hours prior that everything was going to be shutting down Thursday morning at midnight, so we were just going to wrap up with a couple of clients and then close our doors, and then two bylaw officers came in, looked around, and proceeded to fine us.”
Burgess said the ticket is “very vague.”
Under the previous public health orders, gyms and fitness centres were allowed to be open at 25 per cent capacity and participants had to wear masks.
In a statement, the City of Winnipeg said the business was issued a ticket for not being in compliance with orders to close.
Burgess said the business is appealing the ticket, and will be in court on Nov. 25.