Manitoba

Winnipeg, Brandon announce recreation site closures ahead of Manitoba's new pandemic restrictions

The City of Winnipeg has shut down all its recreation facilities, following the province’s announcement that new pandemic rules barring indoor sports and closing sites like libraries and gyms will come into effect Sunday. Meanwhile, the City of Brandon is closing its community sportsplex.

New public health orders take effect Sunday at 12:01 a.m., will stay for at least 3 weeks

City-run libraries in Winnipeg are among the sites now closed ahead of Manitoba's new pandemic rules, which are set to take effect on Sunday. (Daniel Gagne/CBC)

The City of Winnipeg has shut down all its recreation facilities, following the province's announcement that new pandemic rules barring indoor sports and closing sites like libraries and gyms are on their way.

Those new public health orders, announced by Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin on Friday evening, will take effect Sunday at 12:01 a.m.

But the city isn't waiting until then. In a news release sent hours after Roussin's news conference, it announced that as of the end of regular hours on Friday, all city-run recreation sites will be closed until further notice.

That includes gyms, indoor pools, arenas and libraries. Leisure Guide programming has also been suspended, the release said. 

Under Manitoba's new rules, indoor sports and recreation — including after-school activities — will be banned, while outdoor sports will be limited to a maximum of five people.

Organized team sports and indoor community gatherings will also be prohibited.

Gyms, fitness centres and libraries will be forced to close, and day camps will no longer be allowed.

While Winnipeg's community centres are owned by the city, the decision on whether to close them will be left to each site's board of directors, the city said.

The City of Winnipeg says while it owns community centres, the sites are still governed by their own boards of directors — so the decision of whether to shut them down completely is up to those volunteers. (CBC)

That's because the centres are still their own legal entities and those volunteer boards are responsible for their management and operations.

The latest public health orders are in place until May 30.

The city said it plans to move staff affected by the closures to other areas, so no layoffs are anticipated right now.

Visitors at city parks, including playgrounds and skate parks, should remember to stay at least two metres away from people they don't live with, the release said.

The city also reminded people that starting Sunday, group sizes in outdoor public places — including city parks and athletic fields — will be limited to five people.

Parks booking requests will still be on pause for the time being.

The release said the city plans to review the official public health orders once they're posted to see if there will be any other changes to city services under the new rules.

Brandon recreation centre closing

The City of Brandon also announced it will make changes to its recreation services once the new rules take effect.

The southwestern Manitoba city said in a news release on Saturday it plans to close the Brandon Community Sportsplex starting Sunday, though the site's track will stay open for individuals or groups of up to five people.

The city said it will update its signage to reflect the new rules on Monday. It may also cancel bookings for city-run sport fields, depending on group sizes.

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