200 coronavirus tickets doled in Manitoba since April, province says

The Manitoba government says 200 tickets and more than 300 warnings have been handed out for violating COVID-19 public health orders since April.

In a release Tuesday the province said the total includes 54 warnings and 32 tickets issued last week alone.

Read more: Manitoba records youngest coronavirus death, 270 new cases

On Thursday the province closed restaurants, bars, gyms, non-essential retail stores and other facilities across Manitoba in an attempt to reduce increasing COVID-19 caseloads.

Provincial fines for individuals breaking COVID-19 health orders are set at $1,296, while fines for businesses are up to $5,000.

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The province gave examples of businesses hit with $5,000 fines since the start of November, including several bars and restaurants in Winnipeg, Brandon, and Neepawa, as well as gyms in both Winnipeg and Brandon, and a gas station in Riverton.

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The province said several $1,296 tickets have also been handed out since the start of the month for those caught at gatherings larger than permitted, including one party with more than 20 people.

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Since the start of the month six people have been ticketed for not isolating, and one person was fined for unnecessary travel to the north, the province said.

The province said one person was ticketed for attending an anti-mask demonstration held in Steinbach over the weekend, but additional charges are expected.

The protest drew nearly 200 people Saturday afternoon while cases of COVID-19 surge in the region and the province.

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On Monday Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said others who attended the rally can expect tickets to be sent to them through the mail, likely based on the licence plates of vehicles seen at the rally.

Earlier in the day Tuesday Pallister announced the province has signed a contract with a private security firm to help hand out fines for infractions such as gathering in groups larger than five.

Read more: Manitoba hiring private security to help enforce coronavirus restrictions

The RCMP and other police agencies, the Health Protection Unit, Manitoba Conservation and Climate, Workplace Safety and Health, municipal bylaw officers, and the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority all also have the power to issue fines.

The province said Tuesday nearly 3,300 personnel across various agencies are currently able to enforce public health orders.

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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.

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