Black Friday comes with a warning in Manitoba

The Manitoba government sent out a stern reminder Friday morning that its public health orders must be heeded.

Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, typically has crowds of people lining up well before stores open, but with a strict COVID-19 lockdown in place this year, the province wants the public to know that “personnel empowered to enforce public health orders will be out in full force.”

Anyone who breaks public health orders faces fines of $1,296 for individuals to $5,000 for business.

A news release from the province also urged Manitobans against leaving the province to shop in places where the restrictions aren’t as stringent.

In its release, the province noted a handful of new fines recently handed out, including in the Duck Mountain region, where $1,296 tickets were given to each of four hunters from Ontario for failing to self-isolate upon entering Manitoba.

A $5,000 fine went to Costco on McGillivray Avenue in Winnipeg for selling non-essential items on Thursday, while a ticket in the same amount was handed to the Church of God, south of Steinbach, for holding a service on Nov. 22.

Under current public health orders in Manitoba:

  • Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to COVID-19 by a close contact must self-isolate.
  • Anyone arriving in Manitoba is required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to reduce the spread of COVID-19, with some exceptions.
  • Wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces is required, in addition to maintaining the required social distance of two metres in all indoor and outdoor public spaces. The fine for not wearing a mask is $298.
  • Gatherings at private residences are restricted, with some exceptions.
  • Gatherings of more than five people at any outdoor or indoor public place or in the common area of a multi-unit residence are prohibited, with some exceptions.
  • Retailers allowed to remain open must only sell essential items in person.
  • Businesses must limit the number of members of the public at the business to 25 per cent of the usual capacity of the premises or 250 persons, whichever is lower.
  • Places of worship must be closed and drive-in religious services are not permitted.

Despite the rules, the province said there are videos circulating widely on social media that show individuals gathering in groups larger than permitted. Anyone who knows the individuals involved is asked to call the COVID tip line at 204-945-3744 or toll-free at 1-866-626-4862.

Manitobans can also report compliance and enforcement issues online.

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