Pallister, Bowman Agree To Ticket Public For Defying COVID-19 Stay At Home Orders
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a crippling effect on economies around the world and the nature of the virus to humans can be deadly. Yet, many continue to defy the health warning by local officials and gather in large settings.
Today the often feuding Brian Pallister and Brian Bowan, put aside their differences to work in collaboration for an ‘Operation Safe Apart’ pandemic public health enforcement strategy, including new pre-set fines for individuals or business owners who disregard public health orders, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Everyone has a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19, and the majority of Manitobans are adhering to good social distancing practices and changing how they operate at home, in their community and within their business,” said Pallister. “Unfortunately, there is still a need to have additional measures in place to address situations where people are ignoring the advice of our health experts. These changes will give enforcement officers more tools to help curb the spread of the virus.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province declared a state of emergency on
March 20, which included orders under The Public Health Act to help reduce the spread of the virus including:
• restrictions on public gatherings to 10 or fewer people,
• require the closure of non-essential businesses, and
• enforcement of social distancing measures by businesses and services that remain open including ensuring a two-metre distance is kept between people in the facility or premises.
Effective immediately, fine amounts for breaching these emergency orders will be set at $486 for individuals and $2,542 for businesses.
Manitoba will be implementing a multi-tiered enforcement approach to enforcing orders, which will include public education, written warning or ultimately, enforcement actions such as ticketing or arrest if necessary, the premier said.
In Winnipeg, the province is working in close collaboration with the City of Winnipeg, which will utilize Community Service Ambassadors to participate in public education and awareness, with bylaw officer and support from the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) where required.
“I want to thank all those who are doing their part by staying home, practising physical distancing and respecting the measures put in place by the Manitoba government,” said Bowman. “While most in our community are doing their part, there are some who are not getting the message. I hope education and awareness will be sufficient and enforcement won’t be required but in the event it is, these measures will help protect the safety of Winnipeggers.”
To support these efforts, Manitoba Justice is partnering with City of Winnipeg to create enforcement units, with WPS acting in an assistance role, in ‘Operation Safe Apart’. These units will be dedicated to enforcing orders along with providing awareness and prevention, responding to complaints and supporting bylaw enforcement officers.
In Winnipeg, reports of non-compliance can be made by calling: 311 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Twitter: @cityofwinnipeg.
Measures involving public health officers working in conjunction with local police services, First Nation police services and the RCMP are also in place for municipalities outside of Winnipeg. Plans are underway to expand these and adopt measures similar to those announced today for Winnipeg. These include engaging municipal bylaw officers, community and First Nation safety officers, community volunteer groups such as Citizens on Patrol, and Manitoba Conservation officers who will work with respective police services.
Outside of Winnipeg, reports of non-compliance can be made to the Manitoba Government Inquiry (MGI) inquiry line at 204-945-3744, (toll-free) at 1-866-626-4862 or by email at email@example.com.
“We must to everything we can to protect our most valuable service – our health-care system –and our most vulnerable citizens,” said Pallister. “These orders will help save lives and changing how we ensure compliance will help us flatten the COVID curve.”
More information about Manitoba’s response to COVID-19 is available at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/soe.html.
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