Manitoba cranks up COVID-19 enforcement machine, hands out record 102 tickets

Manitoba's enforcement of COVID-19 public health orders took a big jump in the past week, with more than $126,000 worth of fines handed out.

88 of 96 individual tickets were for gatherings in private residences or outdoors

Businesses can operate at 10 per cent of capacity and only one person per household can enter. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Manitoba enforcement of COVID-19 public health orders took a big jump in the past week with 102 tickets and 130 warnings— the largest number of fines in one week since the start of the pandemic.

There were 96 tickets for $1,296 given to individuals for various offences during the week of May 17-23, a Wednesday news release from the province said.

Of those, 88 tickets were for gatherings in private residences or outdoors, three were for failure to self-isolate, two were for unnecessary northern travel and three were given to business owners: at Baba's House Ice Cream in Winnipeg, the UPS Store on Ellice Avenue in Winnipeg and the Baldur Motor Hotel in Baldur.

Another six tickets, each for $298, were issued for not wearing a mask in indoor public places.

Current public health orders include a strict no-gathering rule. Only people from the same household can be together outdoors and visitors are banned from any private residence — unless a person lives alone, in which case they can still have one designated visitor.

The rules about visiting include campsites, which are considered private during the time they are rented. On Tuesday, the province said conservation officers will be out enforcing the rules in provincial parks.

Businesses can operate at 10 per cent of capacity and only one person per household can enter, though there are exceptions for people such as single parents and caregivers.

Rally tickets

The province said it is also continuing to investigate and follow up on rallies that violate the restrictions, which led to 22 people being ticketed $1,296 each.

Those are part of the total 102 tickets from the past week, a provincial spokesperson said.

The 22 tickets were linked to events in Winnipeg, a provincial spokesperson said. The spokesperson would not provide any specific details on who was fined, or what events were involved.

Since enforcement efforts began in April 2020, a total of 4,358 warnings and 1,526 tickets have been issued, resulting in more than $2.1 million in fines to businesses and individuals.

A spokesperson for Manitoba Justice says those who break the rules must face consequences.

At the same time, the spokesperson said, investigations take time to ensure the evidence is well-founded and documented. 

Individuals and entities have the right to respond to the allegations and contest the charges in court, the spokesperson added.