Winnipeg’s mayor is expected to discuss the dismantling of two temporary homeless camps near the the Disraeli Bridge and the city’s ongoing response to COVID-19 Thursday afternoon.
Mayor Brian Bowman has scheduled a press conference to discuss both topics at 3 p.m.
A release from the city says Bowman will be joined by Jason Shaw, manager of the city’s emergency operations centre and Michael Jack, the city’s chief corporate services officer at the briefing.
Global News will stream the press conference live in this story.
On Wednesday city crews moved in to start dismantling two homeless camps set up near the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) headquarters building on Henry Street after receiving complaints over safety.
City of Winnipeg takes first steps to remove controversial homeless camps
The move drew criticism from both those living in the camps and protesters, who gathered at the site before marching to Winnipeg City Hall, where they stopped traffic briefly.
The demonstrators later returned to the camps and participants in the march started banging on the doors of the MMF to be let in after the MMF locked its entrance.
The MMF recently threatened to sue the City of Winnipeg if the camp was not dismantled.
A pair of fires were also started at the camps earlier in the morning as local officials moved in to ask people to pack up and leave.
Response to COVID-19
Meanwhile the city has still been dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The economic effects of public health orders put in place when the virus first appeared in Manitoba led the city to temporarily layoff hundreds of city workers and make cuts to services and programs including closing libraries, pools and community centres.
Winnipeg Transit also temporarily laid off staff and reduced bus services, and the city says it’s cut discretionary spending, frozen fleet purchases, and put a hiring freeze in place for the rest of the year.
In its first quarter financial report released Monday the city projects it’s lost $25.8 million as of March 31 and because of the virus and forecasts the operational budget deficit to grow to $53.8 million by the end of 2020.
Coronavirus outbreak: Winnipeg announces temporary layoffs of over 670 city workers
In April the city said it could be losing as much as $12 million a month due to the pandemic.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced details of a draft plan for the province’s third phase of the reopening earlier in the day Thursday.
The proposed changes include doubling public gathering limits to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.
Restaurants and bars could increase customer capacity to 75 per cent from 50 per cent.
Pallister said if case numbers remain low, the changes could take place June 21, and a draft plan is being released now for public input over the coming days.
–With files from the Canadian Press
COVID-19 questions answered
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.
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