The province is sharing an update on several Public Health Order enforcement efforts, including the arrest of Maxime Bernier, and a local church's college that faced controversy in May for holding an unmasked graduation.
The latest COVID-19 enforcement update highlighting last week's enforcement efforts, showing there were more tickets and warnings given out.
Two Winnipeg churches are facing COVID-19 enforcement tickets.
Springs Church is facing scrutiny for an unmasked graduation ceremony at Springs College and now, a court date.
The May 20 photos, first posted on the church's Instagram, showed unmasked young adults standing on stage in formal wear. The church says the Springs College activities pictured were a misunderstanding and was a TV shoot with attendees in the parking lot.
"Countless hours are spent interpreting and implementing new weekly Manitoba Health orders. Members of the public were not put at any risk at any time as a result of the virtual college graduation," Lead Pastor Leon Fontaine said in an earlier statement.
The province says Springs Church now is being summoned to court. This would not be the first time the church and province met there, as in the winter Springs took the province to court over drive-in services and lost. A short while later, the health orders were changed to allow drive-in services.
Springs is facing two counts of failing to abide by public health orders including conducting an indoor gathering on private property and failing to ensure that every person who is not wearing a mask while in the indoor public place is given a reminder to do so as soon as practicable.
On May 26, Justice Minster Cameron Friesen released a statement saying "allegations of breaches of the Public Health Orders are circulating on social media. We take this situation seriously - there are consequences for those who break the public health rules and put others at risk" after Manitobans questioned why the church had not been ticketed yet.
We have reached out to Springs Church for comment, who did not immediately respond.
Iglesia Ni Cristo Church on Garrioch Avenue is facing one $5,000 business fine.
The province says some public gathering plans were thwarted this week after RCMP officers arrested Maxime Bernier for failing to self-isolate and holding gatherings in Niverville and St. Pierre on Friday. Bernier has since left the province with a court date.
"Officials advise the choice to defy public health orders is a serious offence and violators will be held to account," the province says in a statement.
Six others who attended previous rallies have been given $1,296 tickets. The province says investigations are underway and expect to give more tickets in the future.
"The Manitoba government has made amendments to the Preset Fines and Offence Descriptions Regulation and the Provincial Offences General Regulation under the Provincial Offences Act to strengthen provincial public health order enforcement for repeat offenders including increased fines for individuals and doubled default conviction amount."
Total tickets last week
Officials gave out 108 tickets and 96 warnings between June 7 to 13.
- 95 $1,296 tickets to individuals, including one business being given a $1,296 ticket
- seven $298 tickets to individuals for failure to wear a mask in indoor public places
- two $5,000 tickets to businesses