Masks at Town-owned facilities highly recommended

The wearing of masks at Town-owned facilities was a focal point of this week’s Town of Virden Council Meeting.

Prior to Tuesday’s session, Mayor Murray Wright, Deputy Mayor Tina Williams and Chief Administrative Officer Rhonda Stewart discussed what action should be taken in light of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and the forthcoming hockey season at Tundra Oil & Gas Place. “The way COVID’s going, I think we should be recommending something,” Wright said.

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Stewart explained that according to the “Return to Play” protocols issued by Hockey Manitoba, Skate Canada Manitoba and the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, masks will be a requirement but don’t have to be worn all the time. “The coaches and staff are supposed to wear masks, except for when on the ice,” she said. “That’s mandatory for them.” She noted that at present, Hockey Manitoba as well as (Chief Medical Health Officer) Dr. (Brent) Roussin are highly recommending that masks be worn anywhere inside where social distancing is not possible. At the local level, this will likely include those attending Virden Oil Capitals hockey games.

“In the MJHL, I believe that all of their volunteers and staff are going to be required to wear masks, with the spectators being highly encouraged to wear them,” she said. “MJ is going to be able to have half capacity at their games, so we’re talking 600 people (in Tundra Oil and Gas Place). I think for everyone’s safety and our staff, probably highly recommending the wearing of masks by resolution (of Council), and following recommendations of Manitoba Public Health wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

After further discussion in-camera, Council passed a motion to align with provincial guidelines to make their use voluntary but recommended in Town-owned facilities.

“I thought that if we wanted to go with starting to recommend masks then if we have to at some point make them mandatory, we kind of got people used to the idea that this could be long-term,” said Williams.


There is an upcoming election for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) Board of Directors, which members of Virden’s Council may let their name stand for if they choose to. Anyone wishing to run needs Council’s endorsement and to apply 21 days before the AMM convention on Nov. 23.


The CAO presented cost estimates for asphalt resurfacing of McMillan Bay, as well as repair and paving at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Provincial Road 257.

Separate quotes for the work, which falls outside this year’s Equipment and Materials Tender, is valued at more than $10,000. “Not only is Zenith (Paving) quite a bit lower, but if we let them know right away, they can probably do it in conjunction with the paving of Queen Street and Oxford Street,” she said. Council authorized the work to proceed during the remainder of this year’s construction season. Coun. Grant Gardiner did not vote on the motion due to technical glitches in the Zoom meeting.


A quote of $702.15 was received from Prairie Blasting and Coating for the painting of the Nelson Street Bridge. “I don’t have a problem with repainting it. We should still be under budget, and it does need another coat of paint,” said Gardiner during the discussion. However, Gardiner took issue with the quality of earlier work performed on the bridge by the same firm, and took photos of the problem areas. Public Works Foreman Maurice Kernel will be asked to consult with the company and request that the deficiencies identified be corrected at no additional cost to the Town. “If they did it (the initial painting), I’m sure they’ll stand behind their work and come and fix it properly,” Wright said.


Council authorized the Virden Lions Club to use one-third of the Sunrise Banquet Hall at TOGP to hold their meetings to enable social distancing.


Next council meetings are Sept. 8 and 22.


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