City of Winnipeg redeploying hundreds of recreational staff hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions

With all city-owned recreational facilities closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the City of Winnipeg is looking to redeploy its recreation staff to work in its parks.

Between 300 to 400 city staff will be offered redeployment in the next few days, said the city’s assistant chief of emergency management, Jay Shaw. 

Those staff will be offered work in the city’s public works department, doing general parks’ maintenance, including litter pickup and trail maintenance, Shaw said during a news conference Thursday. 

Some may also work in the Community Safety Ambassadors Program, which the city is relaunching to encourage physical distancing in Winnipeg parks and outdoor spaces.

“Our parks are going to be busy over the next little while and we want to make sure that the people use them safely and that we have those ambassadors out there providing good information about COVID safety,” he said. 

Last year, the program employed about 40 full-time staff, Shaw said.

The province announced heightened restrictions last week to slow its rising third wave of COVID-19. 

Under Manitoba’s new rules, which came into effect last Friday, indoor sports and recreation — including after-school activities — are banned, while outdoor sports are limited to a maximum of five people.