Our Current COVID-19 Advocacy Focus: 4 Pillars

May 11, 2021 | From the Desk of the President, Front Page

Monday, May 10 was a day of significant volumes of pandemic-related news in Manitoba, amassed as a result of a number of provincial government pressers over the past few days.

Ironically, this coming Thursday, May 13, is the MCCs 90th annual general meeting and 2021 Manitoba Economic Summit, which we’ve dubbed “The Next Normal: Thriving in a Post-COVID Era.” We talked as a team that we definitely don’t feel like we’ve made it to that next level yet, but we must maintain optimism. Our economic summit will go ahead as planned, because it’s important that we’re ready for that next normal when it arrives. If you haven’t yet registered for this free thought-leadership event, click here to view the full agenda. Take some time to focus on the future, be inspired, and hear from other business leaders, instead of just dealing with the grind of the day to day.

In the meantime, here’s a round up of the provincial pandemic policy changes and program announcements since May 7:

  • First, on Friday, May 7, Premier Brian Pallister announced a Pandemic Sick Leave Program which will provide employers with up to $600 per employee for up to 5 days for COVID-19 related sick leave. This includes time off for testing, vaccinations and side-effects, self-isolation due to COVID-19 symptoms, or care of a loved one in any of these circumstances. In other words, employees collect their pay as usual, and the employer will be reimbursed for the sick leave.
  • During a second media event at 6 PM on May 7, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, announced new and stricter COVID-19 prevention orders which went into effect on Sunday, May 9 at 12:01 PM. These are set to expire on May 30.
  • On Sunday, May 9, we were informed of an imminent move to remote schooling for K to 12 in the cities of Winnipeg and Brandon, which takes effect Wednesday, May 12.
  • Then, on Monday, May 10, we received positive news regarding a 4th installment of the Manitoba Bridge Grant — which will include a $2000 top-up for restaurants for a total of $7000 for this particular installment — as well as an additional $2 million to be directed to the extension of the Dine-in Restaurant Relief Fund.

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is focused on advocating for the following four key issues (or pillars) right now, which we believe will reduce overall risks of transmission, provide the impetus we need to continue moving forward into recovery, and ensure all Manitobans understand the goals. Our vision is to restore a level of hope and commitment:

Vaccination target of 20,000 immunizations per day. We need to be at least at a 70% vaccination rate of the population 18+ by May 30, which is the date of expiry of the current lock-down restrictions.

Increased financial support for businesses which have been forced to close.

Stricter enforcement and stiffer penalties for Manitobans choosing not to follow public health protocols.

A clear re-opening path that emulates the Province of Saskatchewan’s recently released Re-Opening Roadmap. The milestones/benchmarks within demonstrate clearly what needs to be achieved in order to enact positive changes.

I know we are all feeling fatigued, but let’s keep working together to keep each other safe. We can all do our part by booking a vaccine appointment as soon as we’re eligible, respecting the public health orders, and supporting our local business community.


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