A Winnipeg property management company is concerned for the well-being of its tenants after some of them have returned home from travel and are failing to self-isolate.
Brydges Property Management says it has been fielding calls from concerned residents and on-site staff that neighbours aren’t abiding by rules set by the province to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“This is not about business — it’s about saving people’s lives,” says Brenda Brydges, president of Brydges Property Management.
Under public health orders, anyone entering Manitoba — whether it be from another province or internationally — must self-isolate for 14 days. Highway checkpoints have been set up informing travellers entering Manitoba from Ontario and Saskatchewan.
Brydges says it has been contacting non-compliant residents, but there aren’t legal measures or fines in place to enforce the order.
“Our concern is that if no one has authority to enforce social distancing and self-isolation among tenants and residents, who are sharing common spaces like lobbies, elevators, stairwells, gyms, laundry areas and hallways, then this puts them at higher risk of infection,” says Brydges.
“We need to do everything we can to slow the spread here.”
Brydges says her company has contacted Winnipeg police, Mayor Brian Bowman’s office, city councillors, the province and two property management associations looking for guidance, but says their hands are tied.
“We’re trying to be innovative to protect our residents, staff and partners,” she says. “But so far, we have received little support from decision-makers whose priority should be the protection of Manitobans. We need more definitive preventative and enforcement action now.”
Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, says health inspectors are the ones to enforce such regulations. The province has previously directed people who witness self-isolation and social distancing protocols are not being followed to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (204) 945-3744.
Elderly residents in Brydges’ lower-income seniors’ complexes are being offered $100 every month they comply with staying put.
“We feel responsible not just for the buildings we manage, but especially for the people who live in them. We’ve seen how the virus can spread in nursing homes and other multi-family buildings in Ontario; I simply can’t sleep at night worrying that people in our multi-family properties could be at an increased risk of infection.”
Brydges manages 175 buildings, representing more than 5,500 units and 10,000 residents in Manitoba.