WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg restaurant owner who was fined more than $2,500 for breaking health orders says they believe a warning would have been enough.

Shea Ritchie, owner of Chaise Corydon, has been in the restaurant business for seven years. He said since the pandemic, he’s been working to comply with the new guidelines put in place for restaurants.

He thought Chaise Corydon was doing a good job, but last week he was told otherwise.

“Two health inspectors from the city came down, and they were concerned about the placement of some of the tables and chairs,” said Ritchie.

The health inspector handed Ritchie a ticket for more than $2,500.

The Government of Manitoba website said Chaise Corydon was fined for failure to comply with the special measures in the order issued by the chief public health officer.

Ritchie said prior to the ticket, he was issued a warning from the liquor commission for capacity, but he was never warned by anyone about spacing between tables.

“If they’re going to start issuing fines, I think the first step that makes sense is to have a written warning. That’s the way it’s always been,” Ritchie said.

Arthur Schafer is the founding director and professor at the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba.

He said the new rules and regulations for restaurants are necessary, but they need to be applied reasonably with discretion and compassion.

“People shouldn’t be given fines unless their breach of the rules is flagrant,” said Schafer.

He said if someone is making an honest effort to comply with the guidelines, a warning should be enough.

“This particular business owner was given a warning, but not about the breach for which he was fined,” said Schafer. “He complied with the warning, so it’s not as if he was deliberately intentionally, knowingly in violation of public health orders.”

Ritchie said in his seven years as a restaurant owner, he’s never received a fine.

He said he takes the public health orders very seriously, but there are a lot of rules and they can change quickly.

“We’re also trying to provide a public service," said Ritchie. “I understand the importance of making sure people understand the rules, but it’s been a little bit tough with the situation.”

Chaise Corydon isn’t the only restaurant that’s been fined in the province.

Lee’s Buffet in Brandon and The Westwood Inn in Swan River were both fined more than $2,500 for failure to comply with the health order.

Other Manitoba businesses that have been fined for not following the restrictions include: Ramallah Café After Hours, Pony Corral, Arabesque Hookah Café and Lounge, Daughter on Call, Joey’s Only Seafood Restaurant, Executive Bath, Sung’s Restaurant, Beauty Infinity, Thi Bui, JT’s Club, California Nails, and Ruby Nail Bar.

The province is able to issue fines of $486 for individuals and $2,542 for corporations for defying health orders.

-with files from CTV's Kayla Rosen