Saskatchewan fines five restaurants for COVID-19 violations

Saskatchewan fines five restaurants for COVID-19 violations

Two North Battleford Tim Hortons were each fined $14,000, along with Chicken Chef in Esterhazy and A&W and Bluez on Second, both in Unity.

Author of the article:

Phil Tank  •  Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Five Saskatchewan restaurants found out last week how seriously the province is approaching enforcement of prevailing COVID-19 measures.
Five Saskatchewan restaurants found out last week how seriously the province is approaching enforcement of prevailing COVID-19 measures. Photo by BRANDON HARDER /Regina Leader-Post

Five Saskatchewan restaurants found out last week how seriously the province is approaching enforcement of prevailing COVID-19 measures.

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The province announced Tuesday that Saskatchewan Health Authority inspectors issued $14,000 tickets to five restaurants for failing to screen for proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test.

Three of the restaurants were located in towns and the other two were located in North Battleford. The news release from the province did not provide dates for the alleged violations.

Two separate Tim Hortons locations in North Battleford were fined for failing to screen, as was Chicken Chef in Esterhazy and two venues located in Unity: A&W and Bluez on Second.

Premier Scott Moe told reporters at the legislature that he doubts the fines were part of a deliberate effort to crack down on businesses for violating the pandemic measures.

“Ultimately, the public health measures we have in place are proving to be very effective,” Moe said.

He pointed to declining case numbers and thanked what he called the “vast majority” of residents who are adhering to the public health restrictions.

The province introduced a requirement for face coverings in indoor public spaces in mid-September and implemented the proof of vaccination or a negative test mandate for non-essential businesses at the start of October.

The Saskatchewan Party government imposed the measures to address rising COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations.

Chicken Chef declined to comment in a message on Tuesday.

Jim Bence, president and CEO of Hospitality Saskatchewan, which represents the restaurant industry, said businesses that defy the rules are prolonging the pandemic and “really infuriate” those who are complying because it makes everyone look bad.

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There is only one way out of this mess and that’s through complying with the public health orders,” Bence said in a text message. “It’s not that hard, and if you can’t get it right, then there has to be effective enforcement and meaningful consequences.”

The province also announced five fines for individuals of $2,800 each for failing to wear a mask inside an indoor public space.

One of these fines was issued in Unity at the same time tickets were handed out to A&W and Bluez on Second.

Three people were fined for failing to wear a mask at the Oasis Roadhouse in Pangman, and a fine was issued to someone in Outlook for failing to wear a mask as a result of a complaint on Sept. 20.

The province announced three $14,000 fines for venues in smaller communities earlier this month.

As of the end of last month, 522 charges had been laid for violating pandemic health orders; 156 had resulted in convictions, 272 were awaiting a court date and $32,252 in fines was collected.

— With Leader-Post files from Arthur White-Crummey

ptank@postmedia.com

twitter.com/thinktankSK

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