Province to lay charges against protesters in Steinbach, PM says

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The province is laying charges against those who took part in a rally in Steinbach on the weekend where protesters flouted COVID-19 regulations, in addition to imposing fines, the premier said.Prime Minister Brian Pallister said on Tuesday he respects people’s right to protest peacefully, but those who took part in the protest put people at risk.

On Monday, Pallister said protesters should expect to find tickets in the mail and condemned those who participated.

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Premier Brian Pallister is set to give Manitobans an update on the enforcement of COVID-19 measures as the province continues to have the worst per capita virus rates in Canada.

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 am. CBC Manitoba will broadcast it live here and on Facebook, Twitter and CBC Gem.

All of Manitoba came under Code Red restrictions on Thursday, forcing most businesses and non-essential services to shut down, but the province’s workload continued to increase.

A new daily record was set on Sunday, when 494 more cases of COVID-19 were announced. 392 more cases were announced Monday.

In addition, a total of 20 additional COVID-related deaths were reported during those two days.

The total number of deaths in the province from the pandemic is now 172. Of those, 103 deaths have occurred since the start of November – 49 since Code Red restrictions began.

On Monday, Pallister said the government was considering placing tougher restrictions on big box stores, suggesting they were flouting the spirit of the lockdown orders.

Places like Walmart, Costco and Superstore have been allowed to stay open because they are seen as essential retailers, supplying groceries and drugstores.

Long lines of shoppers wait to enter these stores, where they can purchase all kinds of non-essentials.

Small independent businesses that do not offer a wide range of products have been forced to shut down during the lockdown.

Preventing big box stores from selling non-essential products is clearly “something that needs to be looked at,” Pallister said Monday.

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