Winnipeg closes recreation, leisure facilities as COVID-19 cases surge
Gyms, pools, arenas, libraries will be locked up as of Saturday until further notice
Hockey is on ice and the City of Winnipeg has closed the book on libraries as it suspends all recreation and leisure programming due to soaring COVID-19 numbers.
Manitoba announced a record-shattering 480 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
Health officials then put the city and surrounding areas into the critical, or red, level on the pandemic response system, meaning broad shutdowns for at least two weeks for movie theatres, concert halls, bars and dining at restaurants.
"As part of our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our residents and employees … the City of Winnipeg is suspending all of its recreation and leisure programs and services, including Leisure Guide programming, and closing all city-owned-and-operated recreation facilities, gyms, indoor pools, arenas, and libraries," the city stated in a news release on Friday.
The closures are effective Oct. 31 and will remain in place until further notice.
As for community centre facilities, most are governed by a volunteer board of directors responsible for management and operations. As such, they are ultimately responsible for the decision to close their facilities, the city said.
Winnipeg's council building and City Hall will also be closed to the public as of Saturday, which means wedding ceremonies are being suspended until further notice.
The city previously announced the suspension of in-home, non-emergency inspections. That began Oct. 19 and remains in effect.
The Manitoba Museum issued a release Friday afternoon saying its main galleries will be closed as of Monday, while the planetarium and science gallery will close Saturday.
"Though people may be disappointed to see us close again, we are fully prepared to continue offering online experiences. Protecting our community is everyone's top priority," Claudette Leclerc, executive director and CEO of the museum, stated in the release
"The museum will continue to offer virtual education and public programs that can be enjoyed at home or in the classroom."
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights had also made the decision to close its doors to visitors as of Saturday, spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry stated in a release.
The CMHR will continue to monitor the situation and will inform the public about when it is deemed safe to reopen.