Hundreds protest Manitoba’s COVID-19 public health orders at The Forks

Hundreds of people gathered at The Forks in Winnipeg on Saturday to protest Manitoba’s public health orders, breaking gathering rules in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 as well as more contagious coronavirus variants.

Among those in attendance was Tobias Tissen, the minister of the Church of God in Sarto, Man. His congregation has been fined numerous times for holding large, in-person gatherings in violation of public health orders.

Members of the group have also clashed with police and enforcement officers.

Patrick Allard, who has organized anti-mask protests and runs the Manitoba Together Facebook group, which espouses freedom of speech and freedom of choice messages, was also there.

A CBC videographer at the protest estimated roughly 300 people were in attendance.

Manitoba currently has a 25-person limit for gatherings outdoors in public places. In a private yard, the limit is 10, in addition to the residents of a home.

Hundreds of people showed up for the rally, most of whom were not wearing masks or physically distancing. Current public health orders only allow for 25 people to gather outside on public property. (CBC)

Public health officials have refrained from lifting health orders further because Manitoba is in the midst of its third wave of COVID-19 cases, with highly contagious coronavirus variants on the rise.

Manitoba’s chief public health officer did suggest recently more restrictions may be coming, including a possible requirement to wear masks when gathered outside.

Few, if any, of the people at Saturday’s rally appeared to be masked.

No police or public health officials were seen at the protest.

CBC News asked the provincial government if enforcement officers were aware of Saturday’s event. A spokesperson responded that any updates with regards to enforcement will be made available on Tuesday.

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