The province of Manitoba has kept things in check recently with regards to COVID-19, reporting zero new cases on Monday.
TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor spoke with Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Brent Roussin on a conference call with other reporters on Monday about the possibility of sports returning with fans in the province by September. Roussin said he isn't closing the door on the possibility, but added the province will continue to take a cautious approach.
"It's difficult to say because even though our numbers are favourable right now, we know this fall is going to bring with it respiratory virus season. And so we know that moving into that we're going to have to be cautious again," Roussin said.
"...Look[ing] at things back in April or May, we're probably a lot more ahead than I thought we'd be at this point. And we certainly don't close a door on any options, but I think still this fall we're going to still need to be cautious about large, very large gatherings."
Roussin added at this time he doesn’t know exactly what would need to occur to approve a CFL hub city in Winnipeg.
“I don’t have any specific updates on that. Public health has been involved and has been reviewing some plans on what that could look like, but we don’t have anything finalized as of yet. For public health, the biggest issue is the protection of Manitobans so we need to assure that whatever the plans are is not going to put the risk of transmission or importation of this virus on the backs of Manitobans. And so, there are a number of strategies that can achieve that, I believe. And so we’re looking at things and probably going to have more of an update on that in the near future.”
Roussin also touched on the topic of CFL players coming to Canada from COVID-19 hotspots in the United States.
“The challenge there is one, the importation of that virus. And certainly if you look at it as the perspective of a team, you have to be very careful to not import the virus where a transmission event could occur widespread within the team environment as well. So this would be best managed through a combination of self-isolation, as well as strategic testing. So there are ways of dramatically reducing the risk of that. But for public health in Manitoba, we want to first and foremost protect the health of Manitobans.”
Earlier in the month, TSN Football Insider Farhan Lalji had this to say on 3 Downs when asked about Winnipeg potentially becoming a hub city should the CFL find a way to begin its 2020 season:
"It’s not a done deal quite yet, but Winnipeg is the clear frontrunner and the Bombers have gone well down the road with government officials and what it would take, both logistically and medically, to house a hub in that city. They’ve also looked into hotels and made sure there was availability at the right hotels along with food, catering and they’ve got Investors Group Field as a practice venue. They’ve also got a couple of fields nearby – one indoor, one outdoor – they’ve also looked at other fields in the area, much like they would do in and around a Grey Cup. So, the Bombers definitely want this and they’re well down the road to making it happen."