Hospitality beat seniors care and health care in a poll that asked Manitobans to rate their post-pandemic priority.

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Hospitality beat seniors care and health care in a poll that asked Manitobans to rate their post-pandemic priority.

A Winnipeg Free Press poll conducted by Leger found 39 per cent of Manitobans say the hospitality and tourism sector should be the government's highest priority post-pandemic.

Eighteen per cent said it should be growing the economy; 15 per cent backed investing in long term care for seniors; 11 per cent said paying down the deficit created by the pandemic; and just three per cent said health care.

Shaun Jeffrey, CEO of the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said he wasn't surprised by the high level of support for his industry.

"Our industry has been closed the longest of any industry and, because it has been taken away, it will be something people want to be back in as soon as possible. We're just chomping at the bit.

"We appreciate the support."

But Jan Legeros, executive director of the Long Term and Continuing Care Association of Manitoba, said she was disappointed to hear that during a pandemic — which has killed hundreds of seniors in care homes — only 15 per cent of Manitobans said the province should make helping that sector its highest priority.

"That's very discouraging given all that we've been through and everything we've seen," said Legeros.

"We already fund 30 per cent lower than most comparable (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. I would have hoped long-term care would have been no lower than No. 2.

Retired doctor Lisa Bryski, one of 200 physicians who signed a letter this week, urging Manitoba to impose more restrictions to cut COVID-19 cases, said she isn't disappointed that health care scored only three per cent support.

She is pleased restaurants fared best because it shows "Manitobans know health care support will still be there.

"I think they are showing they care for the suffering of people post-pandemic. They want to take care of each other. They know health care will be a priority, so they want to help others."


Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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