Enforcement of Manitoba’s COVID-19 public health orders saw a 167 per cent spike in tickets last week, driven in large part by those caught holding gatherings.
According to provincial enforcement numbers released Tuesday, 33 of 39 tickets to individuals for various offences handed out between April 19 and 25 were connected with gatherings held either outdoors or in private residences.
The tickets come with a $1,296 fine.
The news comes after hundreds of people — most of whom were seen not wearing masks and not social distancing — gathered for an anti-COVID-19 restrictions rally at The Forks on Sunday. The Forks closed its doors Sunday afternoon due to safety concerns surrounding the event.
While the enforcement numbers don’t specify how many of the tickets went to those at the rally, the province says enforcement officers were at the event.
“Enforcement officials investigate all public health order violations they are made aware of, including large gatherings and rallies, and were present at The Forks last weekend,” reads a provincial release.
“The public is reminded that abusive and aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated, and criminal offences will be reported to police and investigated.”
Global News has reached out to the province to find out specifically how many tickets were handed out at the rally.
— Manitoba Gov News (@MBGovNews) April 27, 2021
In all, the province says 56 tickets were handed out last week, up from 21 given out the week before. A total of 92 warnings were also given last week.
As well as the 39 tickets to individuals for various offences, 17 $298 tickets for failing to wear a mask in indoor public places were also handed out last week.
In response to rising daily COVID-19 numbers and a concerning spread of variants of concern in Manitoba, the government announced Monday further public health restrictions will go into effect Wednesday for at least the next four weeks.
Manitoba is banning nearly all indoor and outdoor social visits at people’s homes as part of the new measures, with exceptions for people who live alone, who will be allowed one designated guest.
The province is also tightening restrictions on churches, shopping malls, retail stores and gyms to try to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister also said enforcement of the public-health orders will be stepped up, but did not reveal details.
Currently, nearly 3,300 personnel across various agencies are currently able to enforce public health orders.
Since the province’s enforcement efforts kicked off a year ago, officials have handed out 1,236 tickets and given 3,896 warnings, bringing in more than $1.7 million in fines to Manitoba businesses and individuals.
–With files from The Canadian Press and Anya Nazeravich
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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