Planning to visit our facilities or take Transit? Bring a mask

September 11, 2020

Bus driver with face mask

If you are planning to visit one of our facilities, including libraries and leisure centres, front counters, or hop aboard a Winnipeg Transit bus, you’ll need to remember to bring a face mask. We began requiring their use in all the facilities we operate as well as our vehicles since August 29, 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We thank everyone for doing their part and wearing a face mask to protect our most vulnerable residents,” said Jason Shaw, Manager of the City’s Emergency Operations Centre.

Immediately following the mask requirement announcement, our employees worked quickly on distributing masks to more than 100 locations around Winnipeg.

By September 4, one week after the announcement was made, more than 160,000 disposable masks had been delivered to Winnipeg Public Libraries, other City-operated facilities, and Winnipeg Transit Customer Service Centres for the public to use in the event they do not have their own mask.

Outfitting a workforce of around 10,000 people was also no easy feat. Internally, more than 18,200 reusable masks have been given out to our employees since the start of the pandemic, with many of the masks delivered to the workplace within 24 hours of the request.

“The deployment of disposable and reusable masks has been a significant undertaking,” said Lisa Gilmour, the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator.

The distribution of disposable masks for the public is expected to continue until the middle of September or stock runs out.

As we introduce this measure, our employees will be focused on educating the public on the importance of masks; however, Transit riders could face a $100 fine for non-compliance. Most recently, Winnipeg Transit has observed roughly 90 per cent of riders wearing a mask.

While the use of face masks is increasingly recognized by public health officials as a tool to provide protection against the spread of COVID-19, particularly in settings where social distancing may be a challenge, Shaw reinforced that face masks are not replacement for social distancing or proper hand-washing.

“Wearing a face mask in these settings is a reasonable measure in combination with other precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” he said.

Shaw reminds residents to properly wear their mask by ensuring it covers their nose, mouth, and chin.

There are several exemptions to this requirement. These include children under five years old, people who are unable place, use, or remove a mask without assistance, people who are engaging in water activities or physical activity. The full list of exemptions is posted on our COVID-19 website.

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