Thirty people rallied outside the Manitoba Legislative Building Saturday afternoon, calling for a rollback of pandemic-related public health regulations and more transparency from government.
Everyone from small children with signs to seniors in lawn chairs participated in the protest. One sign read "Save Grandma from Isolation and Oppression" while another had "Enough is Enough".
Monique Os, a speaker at the event, declared to the crowd that the effects lockdown measures have on small businesses are devastating.
"How many people do you know that would be on the streets if they missed a paycheque?" she asked those in attendance.
'I do believe in these measures (but) you also have to think about the trauma and the repercussions of COVID… People are dying from COVID, but people are dying from the lockdown'‐ Theo Landry
She said people who want a fully reopened province are seen as selfish, but that’s not the case — they’re just trying to get by.
"Personally, I need to feed my family. I need money to pay a mortgage, to buy food — otherwise I’m on the street."
Os added that people will become depressed and suicidal amidst a crashing economy.
Theo Landry, 29, also spoke at the protest Saturday. He said he isn’t against all restrictions put in place because of the pandemic. However, he has some concerns, he said.
"I do believe in these measures (but) you also have to think about the trauma and the repercussions of COVID," Landry said to the Free Press before the rally began. "People are dying from COVID, but people are dying from the lockdown."
He cited people overdosing during the pandemic as something to be worried about.
"You kind of have to weigh the damages," Landry said.
Like Os, Landry said he was worried about Canada’s smaller companies.
"(Social distancing measures are) really attacking the small business sector," he said. "For the sake of what we’re seeing, there has to be accountability, there has to be transparency."
He said he’s heard conflicting information regarding public health protocols, and he wants the federal government to be more transparent about how they make decisions. One solution would be to livestream meetings they have when planning new safety measures, he said.
"Keep the public very much updated with this kind of information," he said.
Landry added that officials should improve seniors’ homes — especially after the reports of uncleanliness and neglect that have come out across Canada during the pandemic.
"It should be an eye opener," Landry said. "This is where (the government’s) maximum amount of energy should be put in."
Meanwile, four new cases of COVID-19 had been detected in Manitoba as of Saturday morning.
There are now 388 total cases of the virus in the province the province announced in a tweet.
— with files from staff
The Headliner community journalist
Gabrielle Piché is the community journalist for The Headliner. Gabby is a cub reporter fresh from Red River College’s creative communications program. She majored in journalism and spent the summer of 2020 as an intern at the Winnipeg Free Press. Gabby also has a B.A. in communications from the University of Winnipeg. She reported for newspapers in the Interlake, including the Selkirk Record, in 2019, and received the Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism award in 2020. When she’s not chasing stories, you can find Gabby listening to podcasts, attempting yoga or petting somebody’s dog Email her at email@example.com