Virden man voices need for kids' sports to re-open

Open letter

Dear Manitoba Ministers, Govt. officials:

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I’m writing this letter to offer a voice for so many Manitobans that are having are hard time finding the words to express their feelings right now as we see prolonged lockdowns and now further limitations on travel.

PMH was the first region to be placed into our color-coding system. Where we had outbreaks, they were quickly controlled. We knew where they were and the people in our region responded.

We are now seeing and hearing firsthand the effects of these lockdowns through mental health problems, learning problems, suicides, opioid overdoses, missed diagnostics, etc. We are afraid COVID-19 fatality numbers will pale in comparison to what we will need to deal with next as a society.

We need to strike the right balance of protecting people, while also allowing them to earn a living, be active, and take care of their families. I am proposing that the Government of Manitoba implement a risk-based approach, which is to allow all businesses to reopen and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to stay active. By limiting the amount of people in a store or in a dressing room, there are proven ways to limit the transmission of COVID-19, without completely shutting everything down.

Using a risk-based approach, the Government of Manitoba can still institute Health Orders to protect the most vulnerable, while allowing people to resume their lives, keeping countermeasures in place such as masks, hand sanitizer stations and encouraging people to boost their immune systems. Now that we have lived with the virus for over a year, statistics show the virus impacts the elderly and those who have underlying health conditions. The evidence also shows that the vast majority of Manitobans do not need hospitalization if they contract the virus.

Moving forward, the government should focus on promoting active lifestyles and take a proactive approach to healthcare. This is an opportunity for healthcare officials to embrace the need to get more kids active again knowing their risk levels. Reward our kids during these tough times by allowing them to get out and get active in a controlled environment that doesn’t expose the elderly and most vulnerable. Furthermore, if we can use this time to get all Manitobans more active, it will reduce the pressures on our healthcare system in years to come.

I know the Premier is a proponent of people playing sports and staying active. While using a risk-based approach, it would give the government the ability to implement policies to get people moving.

In closing, I want to thank the Prairie Mountain Health Region and frontline responders for all that they have done throughout the pandemic. We know we can once again let people earn a living and stay active, while also protecting the vulnerable and letting our kids play again. Its essential.  I look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Daren Bryant

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