Premier Brian Pallister says his government’s push to stop the spread of COVID-19 has included a ticket to the Corona Hotel in western Manitoba.
Premier Brian Pallister mentioned the Glenella-area hotel, located near Riding Mountain National Park, during a news conference Tuesday in which he talked about businesses and individuals accused of violating public health orders.
“One of the tickets had to be issued to a hotel in western Manitoba that had its beverage room open and had people playing pool in it,” Pallister said.
“That hotel was the Corona Hotel, which I have had a beer or two in in my life and it’s a nice hotel … but guys, don’t do things like that. This is disheartening.”
The hotel’s owner, however, said his beverage room wasn’t open, at least to the public.
“The bar was closed,” Bob Fuglsang said when informed of the premier’s comments.
Fuglsang said a liquor inspector came to the hotel one evening when Fuglsang and five relatives were talking in the beverage room.
A beer store that is part of the hotel had its “closed” sign up, he added, although people were not being turned away from that section of the property. Beer vendors are allowed to operate under public health orders.
The only person playing pool in the beverage room, Fuglsang said, was his five-year-old grandson.
The inspector issued Fuglsang a ticket for $1,296, he said. That is the fine levied to individuals. Incorporated businesses are fined $5,000 for offences.
The provincial regulator said Fuglsang was fined as an individual because the hotel is not a corporation.
Fuglsang was charged with breaking sections of the public health order that require licensed operators to close their premises and not admit members of the public unless they are there to take out food, Lisa Hansen, spokeswoman for the Manitoba Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority, said.
Manitoba public health orders have shut down bars and have also banned gatherings of more than five people.
Pallister also says tickets are being issued to people who gathered for a church service on Sunday outside of Steinbach, southeast of Winnipeg.
Health officials reported 476 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and 12 additional deaths.
The daily number of new cases has not dropped since the province enacted its latest round of restrictions 12 days ago. Retailers can only sell essential items in store. And people are not allowed to have visitors in their homes, with some exceptions.
But the province’s chief public health officer said the rate of growth has begun to slow.
“A few weeks ago, our doubling time was at two weeks. As we updated it, we see that now about three weeks,” Dr. Brent Roussin said.
“If you plot out the cases per day on a graph, it’s much more flat now than it was.”