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Manitoba man arrested, fined thousands after meltdown over COVID-19 mask request

A 51-year-old Manitoba man is facing thousands of dollars and fine and criminal charges after police say he became belligerent over being asked to wear a mask. Global News

A man from rural Manitoba has been charged and is facing thousands of dollars in fines after police say he blew up over being asked to wear a COVID-19 mask.

Russell RCMP were called to the report of a disturbance at a business on Main Street in Inglis, roughly 314 km northwest of Winnipeg, around 2:30 p.m. March 24.

Read more: Manitobans ticketed for holding private gatherings since start of COVID-19 spring

They say a 51-year-old man who’d come into the businesses without a mask got angry and became belligerent when an employee reminded him of the rules.

“He refused to put on a mask, and then began to bang his fists on the counter and against the plastic partition, where the employee was standing,” police said in a release Wednesday.

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“He then left the store for a few minutes, then returned and continued to be belligerent and act out.”

Officers caught up with the man a short time later at his own place of business, where police say the man was still expressing displeasure.

Read more: Charges laid in alleged assault of Manitoba COVID-19 enforcement officer, province says

“The male was yelling, swearing and being belligerent towards officers and was subsequently arrested,” police said.

As well as charging the man with mischief and causing a disturbance, police also gave the man two $298 tickets for not wearing a mask in a public place and fined him an additional $5,000 for failing to wear a mask in his own business.

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The man has since been released from custody with conditions and is scheduled to appear in court on June 23.

The province has been calling on Manitobans to follow COVID-19 public health orders and be respectful to those charged with enforcing the rules.

Read more: Manitoba reports no COVID-19 deaths, 77 new cases

Last week the province said charges have been laid in connection to the alleged assault of a COVID-19 enforcement officer on Feb. 19.

Since enforcement efforts start last April, the province says 3,541 warnings and 1,120 tickets have been issued to individuals and businesses, resulting in more than $1.5 million in fines.

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