WINNIPEG — At 12:01 a.m. on November 2, the Winnipeg Metro Region will move to critical level red on Manitoba’s Pandemic Response System.
The change will see many businesses forced to close their doors for a minimum of two weeks, and some owners aren’t sure they’ll survive.
The Park Theatre is a live event venue in Winnipeg.
Earlier in the week, when cases numbers started to rise in the province, Erick Casselman, the owner, voluntarily closed its doors.
“You really want to lead by example and hopefully flatten the curve,” said Casselman. “Now we are in code red where it doesn’t matter, there is no choice.”
When code red comes into effect, bars and restaurants will be closed except for takeout, sports and recreation programming will be suspended, and movie theatres and concert halls will close.
Gyms and fitness centres will have capacity reduced to 25 percent and masks will be mandatory, faith based gatherings will be reduced to 15 per cent or 100 people, whichever is lower, and visitation in hospitals in the Winnipeg metro region will be suspended except for special circumstances.
Casselman fears many businesses he knows won’t make it through this second round of closures.
“As for myself, I just borrowed like crazy, so I’ll make it through this, but it’s going to be tough on the tail end,” he said.
On Friday, Pat Boon, owner of Polo Park Bowling Centre, found out he would have to close for two weeks.
He believes the shutdown was sprung on him, and he doesn’t think his bowling alley should be part of the closures.
“But meanwhile, Monday I can go to the gym, I can go get a haircut, I can go to the grocery store, and I can walk around the mall, which I feel is very unfair,” said Boon.
On Friday, Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said these restrictions are essential if we want to bend Winnipeg’s curve.
“We see the numbers, we see the climb in transmission, especially in the Winnipeg region, we need to get on top of this now,” said Roussin.
Boon wants the provincial government to provide more financial support for small businesses struggling through COVID-19 closures.
“All their programs are for people that don’t qualify for federal funding [and] 99 per cent of the businesses qualify for federal,” said Boon.
Casselman agrees and said Manitobans need small businesses to survive.
“Our economic outlook won’t’ be sustainable without the small business and the pillars of the community that are doing what we’re doing.”
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