After handing out dozens of fines for COVID-19 violations, Manitoba RCMP say they’re further stepping up enforcement efforts.
According to police numbers, officers have doled out 42 tickets and issued 77 warnings to people violating public health orders relating to the pandemic since April 9.
On Wednesday the Mounties warned Manitobans to expect less leniency going forward.
“The focus of our officers since the very beginning of the pandemic has been on providing education and issuing warnings, however, with the dramatic rise in cases across the province we recognize that a shift is now required,” said Manitoba RCMP criminal operations officer, Chief Supt. Rob Hill, in a release.
“While officers will still have discretion, I have made it clear that ticketing is the preferred option for individuals who are blatantly disregarding the public health orders and putting lives at risk. This is about protecting the health and safety of every Manitoban.
“We all need to do our part to help reduce and stop the spread of this virus.”
The most recent data from RCMP shows they were called to 182 separate calls related to COVID-19 between Oct. 26 and Nov. 1.
They say most of the calls were resolved through education, but verbal warnings were given in five of the cases, and ultimately three people were ticketed.
Those fined include an intoxicated woman who police say was not wearing a mask in Stonewall, a homeowner who police say was having a party with more than five guests in Cross Lake, and a woman Norway House RCMP say was fined for repeatedly not self-isolating as directed.
Police in Winnipeg also said they will be increasing enforcement efforts against COVID-19 scofflaws in the city.
As of Wednesday morning, the Winnipeg Police Service has issued eight fines related to violations of COVID-19 public health orders since the start of the pandemic.
In Winnipeg, police say those reporting public health violations should call 3-1-1, while outside the city RCMP say reports of non-compliance should be made to the Manitoba Government Inquiry line at 1-866-626-4862.
Last month the province increased fines for people and businesses who ignore public health orders, including gathering sizes limited to five people outside of a household in Winnipeg.
Under the changes, the fine for individuals who break self-isolation orders or violate rules such as a cap on public gatherings has jumped to $1,296 from $486.
For businesses that exceed capacity limits, fail to have proper physical distancing in place or break other rules, the penalty has risen to $5,000 from $2,542.
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, click here.
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