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Downtown Winnipeg BIZ: Memo - The latest information for BIZ Members

Dear Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Member,

Full disclosure: I'm not the most patient person. When I was a kid my mom had to regularly tell me to dig into my pockets and pull out my patience. It's something I've been working on for years. I'm always trying to remember to pause, reflect and be ok with slowing down. The last seven weeks have been a flurry of activity with everything changing so rapidly. I think now is a good time to practice patience. As much as I would love to see people cramming the streets of downtown Winnipeg again, a bustling Farmers' Market, line-ups for patios and everyone's smiling faces as our city starts to turn green, I'm going to be patient and trust that everything will come in good time, when it's safe.

While the Province announced it is easing restrictions starting Monday, May 4 to allow more businesses to open, it doesn't mean you have to rush to do so. If you're not ready to open, if you're not comfortable opening, if it doesn't make financial sense to open… that is okay. If you are excited to open and trying to figure out how to do so safely that's cool too!

Over the last 48 hours, I've heard from BIZ members who have a lot of questions about reopening and we are working to get you answers. You'll be the first to know when we get clarification and any new details. We also understand that staffing, supply chains and childcare are challenges you may be facing and it's not as simple as flipping a switch.

For those who are able and would like to begin reopening, our Downtown Winnipeg BIZ team is doing what we can to help you open efficiently and safely. Less than five days to come up with a plan isn't much time, but our team has worked quickly to create the necessary signage you will need to post, we're sharing with you where you can find hand sanitizer and we're working with the City on its temporary patio permitting process. We're also looking at other solutions to increase outdoor capacity downtown this summer. We're playing the long game here and if we can provide opportunities for Winnipeggers to explore downtown, visit your business and do all of that safely this summer, we will find a way. For more on how the BIZ is approaching the reopen plan, here's an interview I did with CTV.

I hope you all find some time to pause and reflect this weekend, even if you are still trying to figure out if you can or should open. Please don't hesitate to reach out. We're in this together and our Downtown Winnipeg BIZ team is here for you. (And if anyone could use a little extra patience let me know, there may be some hiding in a winter jacket pocket I can share.)

Province of Manitoba Restoring Safe Services Plan

As a reminder, here's the information from the Province of Manitoba regarding the reopen plan and guidelines (PDF). The Government of Manitoba has a phone number and email address for you to contact them directly with any questions you may have: 204-945-3744 and

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ offering members physical distancing signage

Here's a poster that you can download and print for your entrance: 8.5"x11" PDF or 11"x17" PDF. Printed posters will also be available Monday and we would be happy to deliver a poster to you at no charge. Please contact us at or 204-958-4640 to request material.

Hand sanitizer requirements and where to find it

One of the requirements for businesses to reopen is to provide hand sanitizer at your entrance. We are working to source hand sanitizer and will keep you updated. In the meantime, the following local businesses are producing hand sanitizer. Please contact them directly.

Applications for temporary patios now open

The City of Winnipeg is allowing restaurants to set up temporary patios.

Information about the temporary patio guidelines, along with the online registration form is available at Fees will be waived for registration. City staff will work through the weekend to process registrations to allow these patios to open as soon as possible.

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is working with the city to make temporary patio set-ups as safe and efficient as possible. Our goal is to have them permitted through the summer and pandemic recovery period.

Open or closed, let us help promote your business

As you continue to adapt how you serve customers, we invite you to tag Downtown Winnipeg BIZ on social media so we can share your message. You can also email us at and we'll add your update to our website. We will continue to share information for businesses who aren't reopening but who have virtual experiences and online sales and gift cards available.

Province of Manitoba Gap Program applications now open

The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) for business provides a one-time 6,000 dollar non-interest bearing forgivable loan to Manitoba small and medium sized businesses that have experienced hardships as a results of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health orders. If your business has applied for or received federal government COVID-19 grant funding support, you are not able to receive from the MGPP.

To view all eligibility criteria and to apply, please visit the Province of Manitoba website.

Skywalk system remains closed

The Connected Walkway System remains closed at this time. We understand this may impact your business and should you need assistance or have questions, please contact us at or 204-958-4640.

Shelf space offered to Manitoba producers and businesses

London Drugs is offering up shelf space in select stores to local product producers and small businesses that have had to close their doors due to COVID-19. Small businesses are welcome to submit products for consideration. Examples of products that London Drugs would accept include restaurant graphic tees, coffee and honey Visit the website to learn more and apply.

Applications open for marketing services in "Adopt a Business Challenge"

Sherpa Marketing is offering up to 25,000 dollars worth of marketing services to a Winnipeg business who has been forced to close or seen a revenue drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information and to apply, visit the Sherpa Marketing website. Learn more about the Adopt a Business Challenge Partners.

Food trucks will still be permitted on city streets

We understand food trucks create increased competition for downtown restaurants and this summer will be even more challenging. The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has been in discussions with the City of Winnipeg about changing the food truck permitting process but we have learned the City is proceeding with the same process as past years. Food truck permits will continue to be issued.

Please note, food trucks must be 20 meters away from the nearest entrance to a restaurant, grocery store or other retail food service establishment. If you have concerns about a food truck operating where it should not be, please contact 311 or immediately.

Survey coming next week

We really valued the feedback from the survey we sent to members a few weeks ago. The results from the survey helped prioritize our advocacy and response to COVID-19.

As the Province of Manitoba reopen phases start to roll out, we will be sending another survey to members next week to get an understanding of your plans, concerns and needs.

Again, please don't hesitate to reach out of there is anything we can do to support you: or 204-958-4640.

Thank you,

Kate Fenske, CEO
Downtown Winnipeg BIZ