In an embarrassing turn of events, the City of Winnipeg has closed down several of its workplace fitness facilities, including one at city hall campus that was open to elected officials and city employees. The decision comes on the heels of a Tweet by Coun. Shawn Nason (Transcona) that indicated the facilities were open despite the code red forced closure of privately owned gyms in Manitoba.
It’s unclear if any elected officials or city employees used the campus gym during the lockdown. However, a new treadmill was brought into the campus gym earlier this week.
In a leaked internal statement on Tuesday, the city’s Interim Chief Administrative Officer Mike Ruta deflected to the province, saying the city reached out to the province for clarification about whether or not the employee-only fitness facilities could remain open during the lockdown. The province, he explained, gave the green light on condition the city maintain capacity limits and social distancing.
“However, prior to today, we were not aware this exemption was granted to us solely by virtue that we are a municipal government,” Ruta said in the statement.
He said fitness facilities in Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and Winnipeg Police Service stations, plus six others were operational at other workplaces, including facilities located at 457 and 510 Main Street, which were used mainly by first responders working in or near those buildings.