Strict orders continue over holidays

Manitoban families cannot join other families in homes for Christmas Day or any other seasonal celebrations. Premier Brian Pallister and Chief Medical Office Dr. Brent Roussin are telling Manitobans to stay put in their own homes. Don’t visit. In outdoors public places, gatherings are not to exceed five people. In common rooms within multifamily residences, up to five can gather.

When pressed by journalists about why Pallister was mandating health orders that could be responsible for businesses failing, Pallister referred to his own back story, coming from a small business background.

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He stated this is a tough time for all Manitobans including the 500 plus who have died due to the virus, their grieving families, the thousands who became sick with it, the health care workers, teachers and every Manitoban who cannot move about or travel.

Although rural western Manitoba has been relatively free of COVID-19 cases, in todays mobile society health restrictions have to be broadly applied.

Until this past week Prairie Mountain Health recorded often around 10 new cases per day. But this week there were over 30 new cases on several days and several deaths.

Hamiota Health Centre acute care was declared as an outbreak on Dec. 11

In a press conference Pallister pointed out that Manitoba did not have a first wave of COVID-19. Cases spiked this fall as did other provinces. Now, however, Manitoba has seen a 16 per cent drop in cases, while Alta cases have risen 24 per cent, Ont’s 16 per cent and Que. 18 per cent.

 In the weekly provincial update of ongoing COVID-19 enforcements, government, officials advise that the strategy is beginning to pay off.

Of 5,764 calls received for the week of Dec. 7 to 13, only 48 tickets were issued including:

• seven $5,000 tickets to businesses for various offences,

• 36 $1,296 tickets to individuals for various offences,

• five $298 tickets for failure to wear a mask in indoor public places, and

• a total of $82,146 in fines were issued last week.

The province is also providing an update on ongoing enforcement efforts at the Church of God (Restoration) in Sarto, officials advise that five individuals received $1,296 tickets related to weekend services.

Since enforcement efforts began in April, a total of 1,207 warnings and 497 tickets have been issued, resulting in more than $761,000 in fines to businesses and individuals.

In addition to a $298 fine for not wearing a mask in indoor public places, fine amounts for violating public health orders have been set at $1,296 for tickets issued to individuals, including sole proprietorships and partnerships, and $5,000 for tickets issued to corporations.

Officials advise that most business and individuals are supportive of current public health orders to protect Manitobans from the spread of COVID-19, while some require additional education and enforcement.

Manitobans can report compliance and enforcement issues by visiting www.manitoba.ca/COVID19 and completing the reporting form, or by calling 204-945-3744 or 1-866-626-4862 (toll-free) and pressing option three on the call menu.

The Manitoba government is taking strong action to protect Manitobans and ensure timely access to care. Current orders under the Public Health Act are available at:

https://www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/proactive/2020_2021/orders-soe-11222020.pdf.

© Virden Empire-Advance