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Just 1 ticket handed out for COVID-19 business violations in Southern Health for 2 months

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Despite reports of numerous violations and climbing COVID-19 numbers, there’s been just a single ticket for violating the Public Health Act issued to a business in the Southern Health region since the beginning of October.

Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said during his weekly COVID-19 update on Wednesday that enforcement of the current public health orders is key to preventing the virus’s spread.

“Those measures aren’t going to work unless they’re adhered to to a large degree,” said Roussin.

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“Most Manitobans, you know, adhere to the two rules that are set out,” he said.

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Premier Heather Stefanson said as far as she knew the public health orders were continuing to be monitored and continue to be enforced in the Southern Health Region.

“As I understood, that was taking place,” she said “If it’s something other than that, I’ll certainly find out.”

Current public health orders limit religious gatherings of unvaccinated people as the region battles test positivity rates of nearly 17 per cent.

Test positivity rates for the past two weeks were unavailable Wednesday due to a data delay according to a provincial spokesperson.

There have been numerous reports of a small minority of churches and some businesses that refuse to adhere to the rules in the Southern Health region.

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According to Manitoba’s Justice Minister one ticket was been handed out to a business this week for non-compliance in the Southern Health region.

It’s the first ticked given out  in the region since the start of October, according to online records. A gym in Steinbach and a bowling alley in Winkler were the last businesses to be ticketed during week of Oct. 4 to 10.

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“I can confirm that enforcement officials have been present in communities throughout Manitoba, including southern Manitoba, this past week and will continue to monitor for adherence to the public health rules,” Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said in a statement to Global News.

“Our government continues to take action when it comes to protecting Manitobans from the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement officials remain responsive to the evolving situation, and adjust strategies and tactics as needed.”

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Read more: New Manitoba COVID-19 restrictions target religious services in southern health region

The province does not provide a breakdown of tickets for individuals, so it’s unknown how many, if any, were issued in Southern Health.

The province refused to say how many unannounced checks of faith-based organizations have been done in the region in the past month.

“Tips are regularly investigated and credible reports are followed up on,” said a spokesperson for the province.

“The Manitoba government has endeavoured to be as responsive as possible to this evolving situation, and continues to adjust its strategies and tactics as needed.”

There are currently no plans to increase restrictions in the Southern Health region, Roussin said Wednesday.

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