100 tickets, over $180K in fines issued for not following COVID-19 public health orders last week

Fines totalling more than $180,000 were issued to COVID-19 rule breakers in the last week, the province said Tuesday.

Out of the 100 tickets issued last week, 22 tickets of $5,000 each were issued to businesses accused of various offences, 48 tickets of $1,296 were given to individuals who allegedly weren’t following various public health orders, and 23 tickets of $298 were handed to people accused of not wearing a mask in indoor public places. 

Those tickets include one for $1,296 related to the drive-in service at Winnipeg’s Springs Church, which held large drive-in service last weekend contrary to public health orders. 

Enforcement officers are still investigating that incident and are expecting to hand out more tickets. 

The Church of God in Sarto, Man., south of Steinbach, was fined $5,000, and six people were given individual tickets of $1,296, after the church tried to hold a large drive-in service on Sunday. They were blocked by RCMP officers, which led to more than 100 cars lining the highway trying to get into the church’s parking lot.

A total of $181,574 in fines was issued from Nov. 23 to 29, up from $126,082 a week earlier.

Premier Brian Pallister said 30 tickets have also been issued to people who took part in a large demonstration in Steinbach on Nov. 14. 

Officers are investigating and are expecting to hand out  additional tickets, Pallister said Tuesday at a news conference about COVID-19 enforcement. 

“There will be consequences for those who disregard public health orders,” he said. 

“It’s incredibly disappointing that anyone would blatantly disregard public health orders in place to protect Manitobans.”

The update comes after Manitoba hit a record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday with with 342 people in hospital, and 43 positive patients in intensive care units.

Last Tuesday, Pallister said the province had issued close to 100 tickets from Nov. 16 to 22, totalling $126,082. It was a significant increase from the week prior, when Pallister announced the province was hiring a private security firm to help crack down on COVID-19 rule breakers.