Manitoba doles out $25K in tickets to suspected COVID-19 rule-breakers

Manitoba enforcement officers issued 19 tickets last week to those accused of breaking COVID-19 rules — including one business hit with a $5,000 fine and 10 people ticketed for allegedly disobeying gathering rules.

The latest enforcement statistics from the province came out Tuesday and suggest 18 people and one business were ticketed between March 1 and March 7, on top of 89 warnings.

Fifteen $1,296 tickets were doled out to people for breaking a variety of Manitoba’s pandemic health orders. Two-thirds of those were given to people for breaking the indoor household gathering rules, the province says in a news release.

Up to last Thursday, Manitobans were allowed two designated visitors over indoors and five outdoors, not including members of the household hosting a visit. As of Friday, Manitobans can stick with that two-person rule or form a “bubble” with one other household. Outdoor gatherings rose from five to 10.

The province says three people were also fined $298 each for failing to wear masks at indoor public places, and enforcement officers ticketed one business $5,000.

In total, just over $25,000 in tickets were issued during the first week of March.

Along with the gathering size changes late last week, nearly all businesses have been allowed to reopen at limited capacities, and assuming distancing and other measures are in place. Casinos, bingo halls, concert halls and indoor theatres remain closed to the public.

Other recent changes relate to enforcement officers. Last month, an officer was allegedly assaulted while giving out a ticket, so the province has since suggested they pair up when approaching people suspected of breaking rules.

The province encourages Manitobans to report people and businesses who appear to be breaking public health orders by calling 204-945-3744 or (toll-free) or 1-866-626-4862. Reports can also be made online.