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About 1% of COVID-19 complaints in Manitoba lead to fines

A vehicle with plates from Texas driving in Winnipeg. Global News

Data from the Manitoba government shows that since the pandemic hit the province and COVID-19 guidelines were put in place, about one per cent of complaints about people breaking the rules has resulted in fines.

Concerned Manitobans have had multiple avenues to complain about people breaking provincial rules: police agencies, the Manitoba government, Workplace Safety and Health, and the Health Protection Unit.

Read more: Coronavirus: Flouting public health rules will now bring $486 fine for Manitobans

Since the province announced fines for breaking emergency orders of $486 for individuals and $2,542 for businesses in April, 5,284 complaints have come in.

Of those complaints, there have been 59 tickets issued and 137 warnings issued.

A spokesperson for the province says the focus is on educating the public and most people are following the rules.

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There are federal rules in place, as well.

The federal health department has fines for people who don’t properly quarantine when they return from visits abroad.

The penalty can range from a verbal warning to an arrest with up to six months behind bars as well as fines up to $750,000.

The penalties are higher if you cause a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm while not following the Quarantine Act. That can land you in jail for three years and a fine of $1 million dollars.

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In Manitoba, no one has received a fine and two verbal warnings have been issued.

Since July 16, there have only been 18 tickets issued across Canada — seven in British Columbia and 11 in Ontario.

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Christopher Graves, owner of the King’s Head Pub, says the province isn’t doing enough to enforce the rules. He says his pub has started checking people’s IDs, not just for legal drinking age but to make sure they’re allowed to be in Manitoba.

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“Sunday alone we turned over 20 people away, many people who hadn’t quarantined and admitted to it. We noticed in the last couple of weeks many people who haven’t been quarantining. We had people who had flown in from Florida that didn’t quarantine, people that flew in from Germany that didn’t quarantine,” he said.

“It’s difficult for us because we’re financially stricken right out. Our industry, the hospitality industry, has been absolutely decimated when it comes to financial gains. So, for us to turn away people is really tough but we still feel like it’s the right thing to do to keep people safe.”

When he heard Premier Brian Pallister is considering opening the borders up to a Canadian bubble, Graves said he’s concerned about the move and would consider only allowing Manitobans to dine at the King’s Head.

“From what we’ve seen so far, there should be a lot more tickets issued, for sure. The checks and balances from the Manitoba government are lacking,” he said.

Graves says his business could be one that ends up having to shut down if a second wave closed businesses in Manitoba.

Read more: Manitoba looks at starting Phase 4 reopening amid coronavirus as early as July 25

If you do see someone or know of someone who may be breaking the COVID-19 rules, inside Winnipeg, contact 311 by phone or email at 311@winnipeg.ca. If the concern is outside the city, contact the Manitoba Government Inquiry line at 204-945-3744, (toll-free) at 1-866-626-4862, or by email at mgi@gov.mb.ca.

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If your concern is about businesses not complying with public health orders, you can contact healthprotection@gov.mb.ca or 204-945-4204.

 

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