Manitoba makes changes to public health orders due to heat wave

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is easing some of its public health orders in order to help people stay cool during the current heat wave.

These changes come as Environment Canada issued a heat warning for several parts of the province, saying, “very hot temperatures are pushing their way through southern Manitoba from the west.”

The weather agency noted that temperatures will hit the low 30s on Thursday and will be “extremely hot” on Friday and Saturday. The overnight lows will be in the teens.

Due to this forecast, the Manitoba government said municipalities will temporarily be allowed to repurpose facilities, such as libraries and community centres, into cooling centres for vulnerable Manitobans.

The province noted that the changes to the public health orders also allow for outdoor pools or splash pads at hotels, campgrounds and private businesses to operate. However, restrictions on gatherings and interacting with people not in your household still apply.

The Manitoba government said anyone going to these facilities must be able to maintain at least two metres distance from other members of the public. It added that the facilities will have supervision and efforts will be made to make sure the public follows physical distancing and public health protocols. Enforcement officers will also be monitoring and recommending any adjustments.

These public health orders went into effect on June 2 at 2 p.m. and will remain in place until 12:01 a.m. on June 12.

The province added that municipalities can also consider providing the following services to help with the heat wave:

  • Distributing bottled drinking water;
  • Providing shade tents in priority areas;
  • Operating transit buses as mobile cooling centres, where applicable; and
  • Allowing drop-in and overnight shelters to provide expanded daytime hours during times of extreme heat.

Environment Canada reminds Manitobans that everyone is at risk when it comes to the effects of heat. However, during a time of prolonged heat, older adults, those with chronic illness, and people living alone are at particularly high-risk, especially if they live in an urban area or don’t have air conditioning. Others who are also at a high risk include infants and young kids, and people who work or exercise in the heat.

The weather agency urges people to take care of themselves and others, and check in with vulnerable or socially isolated people. It added that people or pets should never be left alone in a parked vehicle or direct sunlight and water should be provided.

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