Manitoba truckers being refused service, says health official

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba health official is urging businesses across the province to do better when it comes to the treatment of essential workers.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, said his department has been receiving reports that truckers are being refused service at public washrooms.

Atwal said this is not the Manitoba way of doing things.

“We rely on this industry to provide the goods and services we use every day and we likely take these services for granted,” he said.

“They offer a vital service and for them to be treated like this is unacceptable. To the businesses that are turning truckers away, I ask you to open your doors and make these facilities available. We are friendly Manitoba for a reason, and I ask that you show that friendliness towards these essential workers.

Throughout the pandemic, CTV News Winnipeg reported that truckers were refused service at restaurants, and denied medical appointments and flu shots due to concerns around COVID-19.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, previously defended the drivers saying they are essential workers who have helped to keep the economy running during the pandemic.

“We shouldn’t be stigmatizing truck drivers. We should be thanking them,” Roussin said in June.

“They’ve kept out supply chains open. They’re taking risks,” said Roussin.

Truck drivers are considered essential workers and are therefore exempt from travel restrictions.

– With files from CTV’s Danton Unger and Touria Izri.

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