Manitoba

Fitness facilities, more libraries to reopen on limited basis in Winnipeg

The City of Winnipeg is reopening a number of recreation and leisure facilities — with limited service — and recalling about 75 employees.

City-owned pools and arenas remain closed until further notice

City of Winnipeg fitness facilities, closed since October due to the COVID-19 restrictions, are beginning to reopen. Pools and arenas will remain closed until further notice. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The City of Winnipeg is reopening a number of recreation and leisure facilities — with limited service — and recalling about 75 employees.

The facilities had been closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions. City-owned pools and arenas remain closed until further notice.

Beginning March 8 the following will reopen on a limited basis:

  • Chief Peguis Fitness Centre.
  • Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex.
  • Elmwood Kildonans Pool.
  • Fort Rouge Leisure Centre.
  • Freight House Recreation Centre.
  • Kinsmen Sherbrook Pool.
  • Pan Am Pool.
  • Sergeant Tommy Prince Place.
  • St. James Assiniboia Centennial Pool.

All Winnipeg Public Library branches will be open for pickups and returns as of March 1, with the exception of the Cornish Library, which remains under renovation.

Hours are also being expanded to include Saturdays at all branches. Book return chutes will be available 24/7.

Capacity limits

People wanting to use the fitness facilities are encouraged to book times in advance, either online or through 311, as there is no guarantee of available space upon arrival, a news release from the city said.

Capacity is being restricted to ensure physical distancing guidelines are maintained.

The blocks of time will be offered on a week-by-week basis and reservations can be made up to 30 minutes ahead, space permitting. Every Thursday, another week of fitness blocks will be added to what's available for registration.

No group activities will be available.

Fitness areas will be closed for 30 minutes between every two-hour block to sanitize and allow those who have finished their exercises to leave. Change rooms will not be available, so users need to come already dressed in their workout gear.

Collecting contact information

Under current public health orders, the city is also required to collect contact information from visitors to its recreation and leisure facilities.

A QR code-based system will be used for safety and convenience, the city news release stated.

Visitors must scan the QR code using their smart phone camera app and enter their name and phone number into the digital form. Only one member of each household is required to enter their contact information.

Front desk staff will manually input that information for those without a smartphone.

The data will be stored on a secure network for 21 days and only accessed if required by a public health investigation.

In the event a potential exposure to COVID-19 occurs, the information may be used by Manitoba Health to notify individuals who were at the facility.

Shelter from cold

The city facilities will also be available for anyone who needs a temporary place to seek reprieve from the cold, the city release said.

It's an expansion on an announcement made earlier this month when the city said the Millennium Library and St. Boniface Library would be converted into temporary emergency shelters to be used in the daytime.

The lack of warming spaces for Winnipeg's unsheltered population has been stark this winter due to the closure of many buildings owing to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

As a result, people seeking an escape from the chill have packed themselves into bus shacks.

The city has assumed the costs of running the emergency shelters at its facilities, employing staff to operate them.

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