Premier demands compliance, RCMP step up enforcement

In a news conference on Nov. 2, Premier Brian Pallister, acknowledged the gravity of the surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and said Manitobans have it within their power to flatten the curve.

“We need to get back to green,” he said of COVID-19 response code. Enforcement of COVID-19 protocols will be stepped up. The Premier pointed to large gatherings and party-goers for irresponsible spread of COVID, as the number of young people testing positive continue to rise.

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Manitoba appears to be on the brink of a curfew. “We are giving serious consideration to imposing a curfew,” Pallister said Monday. “That would be designed to restrict travel within key hours when gathering sizes tend to be dangerously in excess of the rules. Late night hours.” He said there will be an opportunity to weigh-in on this piece of enforcement at the Engage Manitoba web site.

On Wednesday, Manitoba RCMP released statistics and a statement on COVID-19 enforcement. Chief Superintendent Rob Hill, Criminal Operations Officer, Manitoba RCMP stated, “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.”

During the week of Oct. 26 - Nov. 1, RCMP in Manitoba received 182 calls related to COVID-19. Most of the calls were resolved through education and/or guidance from responding officers.

In five instances, officers issued a verbal warning. Three fines were issued for Failing to Comply with a Provincial Emergency Order, under the Public Health Act:

On Oct. 28, Stonewall RCMP responded to a report of an intoxicated female causing a disturbance. She was fined for not wearing a mask.

On Oct. 30, Cross Lake RCMP responded to a house party, and the homeowner was fined for having more then five people in her residence.

On Oct. 30, Norway House RCMP responded to a report of an adult female who was not self-isolating as directed. The female had been warned in the past, and was issued a fine.

Since April 9, the Manitoba RCMP has issued 77 warnings and 42 fines.

Manitobans living outside of Winnipeg are asked not to call 911 regarding concerns of non-compliance but to call the Manitoba Government Inquiry line at 1-866-626-4862.

In a warning statement Superintendent Hill said, “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.”

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