Gradual Opening of City Facilities

Starting Monday, May 4th, the City will be gradually opening facilities. I’ve provided the information Council has received below.

Now, I will be frank on a couple of issues that concern me:

1. The pandemic is NOT over. I am very very concerned that people will think life is going back to normal. It’s NOT. I’d say this opening is more of an ‘experiment’ to see what happens. Will people keep physically distancing ? Will people gather in 10 people or LESS? Where will infections break out ? How many will get infected now that the economy is opening? Because – to be clear – the more society moves out and about – infections WILL increase. Please please be very cautious in anything you do.

2. Opening Play Structures: In our ward – in Waverley West – we have many many many children. There is not a lot of data on how long the virus lives outside – or on metal or plastic. I have very serious concerns and am wondering HOW people will monitor gatherings at play structures? HOW will children physically distance from other children? HOW will the grandparents (in the higher risk category) remain safe when their grandchildren hug them at the play structure?

Community Service Ambassador will be patrolling & educating – but there are only so many of them, in a City that has hundreds and hundreds of parks.

I have more concerns about the various things ‘opening up’ – the bottom line though is – the pandemic is NOT over. This is a highly contagious virus. We have many many multi generational families with grandmas and grandpas living at home with children. We ALL have to be very cautious as we ‘open up.’

The City of Winnipeg is announcing the resumption of some services, in response to the Province of Manitoba’s Restoring Safe Services plan which was released on April 29th, 2020.

“Organizational recovery operations will not just be the simple reversal of steps taken during the response phase,” said Jason Shaw, Manager of the City’s Emergency Operations Centre. “Resumption of a closed program, process, or work function needs to be assessed and planned out. We are embarking on a ‘new normal’ where the way we were before COVID-19 may never be quite the same again. While we are beginning to move into recovery operations, we will also need to be ready to respond quickly to any subsequent waves of COVID-19.”

Community Services
• All City-owned and operated recreation centres, pools, arenas, and libraries will remain closed until further notice. We are looking at options for re-opening City libraries, as per the Province’s plan; however, we do not have an opening date at this time. We are carefully weighing options that balance the health and safety of our staff and our patrons within these facilities.

Golf Services
• Effective Monday, May 4, Kildonan Park, Crescent Drive, and Harbour View golf courses will open and will follow the provincial guidelines, including pre-screening golfers by phone, limiting golfers to one per motorized cart or two per household, and closing ball-washing stations, among other measures. To reserve a tee time, please phone the golf course directly. Kildonan Park, Crescent Drive, and Harbour View golf courses will begin accepting tee-time bookings at 9 a.m. tomorrow.The opening of the Windsor Park Golf Course is delayed due to high water levels on the Seine River.

Planning, Property & Development
• The City will be posting guidelines for restaurants that wish to establish temporary patio space, as per the Province’s plan. These guidelines, along with online registration form, will be posted on the City’s website tomorrow. City staff will work through the weekend to process registrations, to ensure restaurants are able open their temporary spaces as soon as possible. Temporary patios will be allowed until May 31, and will be re-evaluated at that time to ensure they continue to align with the Province’s plan. Once the Province enacts Phase 2 of their Restoring Services plan, these temporary patios will no longer be allowed, and an application will need to be submitted for a permanent patio space.

Public Works
• Effective Monday, May 4, all City-owned play structures and picnic shelters will open as per the Province’s plan. We will also be opening skate parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, and athletic fields (soccer, baseball, football, etc.); however, members of the public are reminded that these are to be used only for non-contact sports, and that users must adhere to social distancing and cannot gather in groups of more than 10. The City is still not accepting any park bookings at this time.

Winnipeg Transit
• Winnipeg Transit will continue to move to a reduced schedule effective Monday, May 4; however, it will be monitoring passenger levels and will increase the number of buses in service if social distancing cannot be appropriately observed.

I will update as more information becomes available.