RCMP investigating report of Manitoba church breaking public health orders

WINNIPEG — Manitoba RCMP officers, along with public health, are investigating a report that a church defied public health orders over the weekend.

Around 8:35 a.m. on Sunday, officers in Steinbach, Man., were called to the incident at a church in the R.M. of Hanover, Man.

Mounties went to the church and spoke with a representative.

At this time, officers haven’t issued any fines but said the incident is still under investigation.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said at a news conference on Monday that he will not single out any specific region or location, but noted he has heard reports of faith-based organizations that met in person over the weekend.

“At this point we have enforcement officers looking into it with the possibility of enforcement at this time,” he said.

He said he doesn’t have details of exactly what happened in Hanover, but that enforcement professionals are looking into it.

Roussin added there may be more information on what happened moving forward.

DO THESE ORDERS INFRINGE ON PEOPLE’S RIGHTS?

When asked if the public health orders infringe on Manitobans’ right to worship, Roussin said the orders are intended to save people’s lives.

He added when the test positivity rate is as high as Manitoba’s, there’s no way to have safe large gatherings.

“We know how important it is, but the balance, the severity of the issue and all of these restrictions are directly connected to the seriousness of the issue,” Roussin said.

“So we feel that we’re not here to violate people’s rights, we’re here to protect Manitobans’ lives and we’re going to have these in for the least amount of time and the least restrictive fashion that’s required.”

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