COVID-19: Illegal gatherings in Manitoba lead to $37K in fines

Sean Glass, a bartender at The Smiling Moose Bar/Restaurant, shows his COVID-19 protective covering he has at the ready Friday, May 14, 2021, in Pittsburgh's South Side neighborhood. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Manitoba COVID-19 enforcement officers handed out $37,584 in fines to people caught at gatherings that contravened public health orders last week.

Between June 21 and June 27, according to the government, 31 tickets valued at $1,296 were given out to individuals, including 29 connected to gatherings in private residences or outdoors.

Read more: Manitobans embrace summer ‘staycations’ as COVID-19 pandemic hampers travel options

Another two people were given $1,296-tickets for failing to self-isolate as required under health orders, officials said.

The province says three people were slapped with $298-tickets for failing to wear a mask in an indoor public place, and three businesses received fines of $5,000.

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Health orders were loosened over the weekend to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people on private property and groups of 25 in public areas. Getting together indoors is still not allowed.

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Under the new orders, restaurants and bars are limited to 25 per cent capacity indoors and 50 per cent on patios. Hair salons, gyms and indoor sports can resume operating, but with capacity restrictions. Hair and nail salons, as well as barbershops, are able to offer services by appointment only.

Masks are still required in all indoor public spaces under the latest orders.

Read more: Canada’s COVID-19 death toll could be thousands higher than official count: report

Since enforcement started in April 2020, the province says a total of 4,972 warnings and 2,016 tickets have been issued to individuals and businesses, resulting in more than $2.7 million in fines.

In May the province announced it would begin issuing double fines for repeat offenders caught breaking COVID-19 public health orders.

An extra $100 default convection penalty is also added to unpaid fines, and the province warns those who don’t respond to tickets will be prohibited from renewing a driver’s license or vehicle registration until the ticket is paid.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.

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