Crackers and Crazy Cactus in Saskatoon, Stats Cocktails in Regina issued $14K health order fines

·2 min read

Three more Saskatchewan bars have been issued tickets for allegedly failing to abide by public health orders in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Two Saskatoon businesses — Crackers Restaurant Lounge and Karaoke Bar, and the Crazy Cactus — as well as one in Regina, Stats Cocktails and Dreams, were each fined $14,000, the Saskatchewan government said Tuesday.

Crackers was declared the site of an outbreak on Jan. 9. In a social media post, the bar said the outbreak occurred "despite our best efforts." The location has since been linked to more than 80 COVID-19 cases.

During the month of January, the Saskatchewan Health Authority also declared outbreaks at four other bars in Saskatoon: the Blue Rhino Pub & Grill, Venice House Traditional Grill/Dino's Bar & Grill, Specklebelly's Pub & Eatery and Birmingham's Vodka and Ale House.

The health authority's move to name the businesses fined reflects a different policy than in the past. Premier Scott Moe says it's a practice that will continue in the future.

"I had said … over the course of the last few weeks that we are going to be, and I was encouraging all of those involved to increase the enforcement," Moe said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"We don't require additional measures in this province. What we require and what we ask is that everyone follows the existing measures."

Moe said it's mainly bars and restaurants who have not been following the pandemic-related guidelines, and they are "putting their staff, putting their customers and essentially putting their communities at risk."

"We've always said issuing fines and penalties are the last resort, but they are necessary at this point," the premier said.

Only compliance will bring case numbers down and get the province to a point where it can consider relaxing restrictions, Moe said.