The Province of Manitoba says if you choose to defy paying your fine after being caught breaching COVID-19 public health orders, you’re still going to pay.
Over $1.6 million in tickets have been issued in the province since the pandemic took hold last March, and accompanying measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 went into effect.
So far, around 10 per cent of those fines have been paid — totalling $162,975.
“Although this figure represents a smaller percentage of the total fines issued, it’s important to note that Manitoba’s large scale provincial enforcement efforts only began in November of last year and collection efforts are ongoing,” the province says in a written statement.
Many Manitobans were frustrated on social media after seeing images of a large gathering of hundreds of mostly-unmasked, not-socially-distant protestors at The Forks on Sunday.
The province indicated “tickets” (plural) were handed out at The Forks rally. Bets are out that it was two, and no word on whether they were actually for a free Fred Penner concert or not.
— Andrew Westra (@AndrewWestraToo) April 27, 2021
Tuesday’s enforcement update did show a doubling of citations from the week previous, but a later update from the province said a total of two tickets were issued at the gathering.
Justice Minister Cameron Friesen says more fines are anticipated as the investigation continues and video footage is reviewed.
At the time, Manitoba’s pandemic restrictions banned any outdoor gatherings of over 10 people on public or private property.
Some of those who’ve resisted COVID-19 measures have done the same with the tickets they’ve been given.
The province says you can run from the Manitoba’s Offences Court, but you can’t hide.
“If the ticket isn’t responded to, the defendant would be default convicted and a $50 default conviction penalty would be applied,” the province said.
In those cases, the individual wouldn’t be able to renew their driver’s licence or vehicle registration until the amount is paid.
The details are also sent to a collections agency for further action, which could affect the defendant’s credit rating and result in more fees.
Manitoba Justice says there’s an easy way to avoid the trouble:
“Continue adhering to all current public health orders and stay home. Stick to the fundamentals of physical distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask.”
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