Reopening of Winnipeg libraries delayed as city prepares for new health order changes

WINNIPEG — Manitoba is set to move into the next round of reopening on Saturday, which will see restrictions significantly loosened.

Mayor Brian Bowman along with Jay Shaw, manager of the City of Winnipeg’s Emergency Operations Centre, provided an update to Winnipeggers Friday on how the newest round of reopening will impact the city.

Bowman said while the province continues to move forward with reopening, the city is taking a cautious approach.

“We don’t want to see additional pressures on our health-care system. We need to continue to be vigilant,” said Bowman.

As part of the province’s reopening plans, libraries are now allowed to be open to the public at 50 per cent capacity with a maximum of 150 people.

Bowman said libraries won’t be ready to open on Saturday. He said the city has scheduled the facilities to open on July 26.

Shaw said the reason for the delay is because the official health orders were released on Thursday and the city needs time to implement procedures.

“Getting staff trained up and making sure that we have everybody available, that takes time,” said Shaw. “If we can get things open earlier, we will, but we’re looking for an opening date of the 26th right now.”

Shaw also said people will start to be able to book city parks for up to 150 people on July 19.

“We’re asking residents to be patient as we anticipate there will be a high demand for booking these spaces,” said Shaw.

He recommends people book two to three weeks in advance and bookings will be first come first served.

City transit will also officially open for everyone to ride, as the city had previously recommended that it only be used for essential trips. Mask use will still be required and people are encouraged to distance themselves on buses.

When it comes to vaccine passports, Bowman said the city will not be implementing any procedures for city facilities.

“We have and will continue to request guidance from government officials,” said Bowman.

He said the city still has questions and requests to government such as putting timelines on the passports in the same way the province puts timelines on health orders.

He has also asked if the province will require vaccine passports for provincial facilities and if municipalities should implement vaccine passport for their services.

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