A heatwave that is lingering in the province is resulting in the temporarily loosening of some COVID-19 restrictions.

Outdoor pools or splash pads at hotels, campgrounds and other private businesses can open, starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

"With the current forecast, municipalities will be temporarily permitted to repurpose facilities such as libraries and community centres as cooling centres for vulnerable people who may not otherwise have means to cool off during heat waves," the province says in a statement.

The temperature in the high 20s and 30s will continue for the next week in Winnipeg with very high UV index rates. Environment Canada is issuing a Heat Warning for Winnipeg and the southwest part of the province.


Current watches and warnings

"Temperatures may fall just short of our usual warning criteria in some areas during this hot spell. However, given the added concerns these days with COVID-19 and associated precautionary measures, the warning criteria has been relaxed slightly," Environment Canada says in a statement. 

This temporary allowance will be in effect until June 12. The restriction on non-household gatherings remains. Those who chose to open are being asked by the province to ensure there is supervision, assuring public health protocols are being followed.

Enforcement officials will be visiting open sites.

Public Health is asking municipalities to consider:

  • using transit buses as mobile cooling centres
  • allowing drop-in and overnight shelters to offer expanded daytime hours
  • creating shade tents in priority areas
  • giving out bottled drinking water

They recommend people to seek out cool places such as malls, community centres, a public library, or a place of worship, if they are open under the COVID-19 restrictions.

"Everyone is at risk for the effects of heat. However, during a period of prolonged heat, older adults, people with chronic illness and people living alone have a particularly high risk for heat illness, especially if they are living in an urban area or do not have air conditioning. Others at greater health risks to heat include infants and young children, and people who work or exercise in the heat," the province says.

Individuals are being asked to reduce the risk by avoiding sun exposure and drinking plenty of liquids.

Signs of heat illness include nausea, red, hot and dry skin, and confusion. Manitobans are being asked to watch for these symptoms in themselves and others, and if present, to move to a cool place, fanning themselves and applying cold water over the body.