Some Winkler stores may not be adhering to public health orders

With the province taking action to ramp up restrictions starting Tuesday, some people in the Morden and Winkler area feel there’s a lack of regard for the rules that are already in place.

Susan Brown lives in Morden but does most of her shopping at the Superstore in Winkler.

She said last week while in the store, the public health orders weren’t being followed by many of the customers.

“Every second person didn’t have a mask, there were groups of people not masked. I often wonder if they go there on purpose just to flaunt the not wearing a mask,” Brown said.

When she brought her concerns to an employee about the lack of regard for the mask mandate, it fell on deaf ears.

She said living in Morden, there aren’t many options for buying groceries in the area.

“I’ve tried not to shop in Winkler, but it’s the only place I can go unless I want to drive for an hour,” said Brown.

In addition to the Winkler Superstore, pictures shared with CTV taken at the Winkler Walmart also showed customers not adhering to the mask mandate.

Winkler Mayor Martin Harder said when he goes shopping he sees very few people without masks, but said enforcement in Superstore has been lacking.

“They’re refusing to enforce the restrictions that are there. Again, it’s the business’s choice and we can’t be there giving tickets to everybody that walks around without a mask,” said Harder.

The town of Winkler also has multiple mobile signs posted throughout the community spreading misinformation about the vaccine and downplaying the severity of COVID-19, saying things like ‘Vaccine’s Kill’, and ‘Fear is the Real Pandemic’.

“They should be taken down,” said Harder. “I’m very disappointed, I know some of them have been taken down.”

On Tuesday, Premier Stefanson said some Manitobans think there’s been a lack of enforcement, and that’s not the case.

“Between October and December of this year, about 68 per cent of the tickets that were issued were in Southern Health alone. So we take this very seriously. I don’t want anyone out there to think we’re not taking enforcement seriously,” said Stefanson.

Brown believes there needs to be more enforcement in her community.

“I feel like the province abandoned us because the enforcement isn’t here. Restrictions mean nothing if there’s not enforcement and that’s what I’ve lived in for the past two years,” said Brown.

CTV has reached out to the province’s Minister of Justice along with Superstore and Walmart, and we will provide additional details when they become available.

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