Manitoba issues $181,574 worth of COVID-19 fines in the past week
Parishioners at Church of God Restoration, lined the side of the Highway 12 as RCMP cruisers blocked the parking lot Sunday morning. (Source: CTV News/Touria Izri)
WINNIPEG -- Nearly 50 Manitobans have been fined for violating public health orders in Manitoba in the past week, including attending church services, and Manitoba's premier says there is more to come.
On Tuesday, the Province of Manitoba said in the past week, from Nov. 23 to 29, enforcement officers issued 100 tickets, totalling $181,574 worth of fines, for people and businesses violating public health orders. The province also issued 202 warnings.
This includes 22 businesses and 48 individuals fined for various offences. The province said 23 people were fined $298 for not wearing a mask indoors. The Manitoba First Nations Police Service also issued seven band bylaw tickets.
"There is a small minority of people and organizations who are not doing their part and in doing so are putting their health and the health of others at risk," Premier Brian Pallister said. "The message is clear – there will be consequences for those who disregard the public health orders, and put the health of others at risk."
WEEKEND CHURCH SERVICES RESULT IN SEVERAL TICKETS
The province said six tickets, each worth $1,296, were handed out to individuals who attended a church service at the Church of God Restoration near Steinbach, Man., over this past weekend. The church itself was also fined $5,000.
Pallister praised the RCMP officer's actions at the service who blocked the entrance to the church's parking lot.
"If you can prevent the gathering from happening, that’s probably better than going in and ticketing after it happens," he said.
One person was fined $1,296 in relation to drive-in church services at Springs Church in Winnipeg that attracted hundreds of cars.
"Several tickets are pending, including a business fine of $5,000. Investigations related to these services are ongoing and further tickets are expected to follow," the province said in a news release.
Pallister would not say if any other places of worship were ticketed in the past week.
MORE PEOPLE TICKETED FROM ANTI-MASK RALLY IN STEINBACH
Pallister said the province has been continuing with its investigation into an anti-mask rally in Steinbach on Nov. 14 that had hundreds of people gather for a protest of public health orders.
One ticket was handed out at the rally to Lewis Weiss, the Reeve of the RM of La Broquerie, who spoke at the event.
Pallister said on Tuesday that another 30 tickets have been sworn and more tickets are coming.
"I want to emphasize that peaceful protest in democracy is a right, but today's public health and emergency orders matter more because they protect an even greater right – the right to life itself," Pallister said.
The province said current health orders restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings in public places to less than five.
"It is critical right now that we do not gather with people outside of our households and we need the full participation of all Manitobans for these strict public health measures to work," Pallister said.
"It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would blatantly disregard the public health orders in place to protect Manitobans."
RCMP ISSUE 21 FINES FOR VIOLATING HEALTH ORDERS
Manitoba RCMP gave some more details about the fines it issued between November 21 and 27.
It said officers issued 49 verbal warnings and handed out 21 fines for violating the public health orders. Eight fines were for hosting a gathering, five fines were for failing to self-isolate, four fines were given to people hosting outside household guests, three fines were given to people not wearing a mask, and one fine was issued for attending a large gathering.
RCMP said since April 9, officers have issued 188 warnings and 99 fines.
The province said another 208 people have been trained to enforce public health orders, adding to almost 3,300 enforcement officers across the province.
Pallister told Manitobans to report health order violations, telling them, "If you see something, say something."
People can report enforcement issues online or by calling 204-945-3744 or toll free at 1-866-626-4862 and pressing option three on the call menu.