Six other passengers on a Sunwing flight bound for Cancun from Quebec have been fined up to $5,000 for violating COVID-19 travel rules.
Videos of the flight sparked outrage on social media as a number of people did not wear masks while using vapes, held a large bottle of vodka and sang and danced in the aisles and on chairs as the country was in the middle of the night. a wave of COVID-19.
“We have issued a new set of 6 fines, up to $5,000, to travelers on the December 30 flight to Cancun. 5 fines for not complying with the vaccination rules & 1 fine for not wearing a mask. 12 fines so far,” Transport Minister Alghabra wrote on Twitter.
He added that “there are consequences for those who break the rules!”
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The flight and raucous celebrations came amid the Omicron COVID-19 outbreak as cases skyrocketed. With a highly transferable variant in play, coupled with fears of an imminent lockdown and travel being discouraged, Sunwing passengers saw immediate and serious reactions from across the country, including the Prime Minister.
“It’s a slap in the face to see people endangering themselves, their fellow citizens, endangering airline personnel by being completely irresponsible,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time.
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The latest penalties to hit Sunwing travelers follow the fines imposed by Transport Canada earlier in March, where six travelers were fined for not being fully vaccinated when they boarded their flight to Cancun. The total number of fined passengers now stands at twelve.
“Certain behavior reported in connection with the flight on December 30, 2021 is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Alghabra said in a press release on March 8.
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A week after the flight, Canada reported 39,433 new COVID-19 cases and 69 deaths, but a number of provinces had restricted COVID-19 PCR testing because they were drowning in demand — prompting the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to warn that daily cases will likely underestimate the real numbers.
“That’s why Transport Canada took immediate action. Aviation rules must be followed by everyone, for everyone’s safety. Transport Canada will continue to investigate and impose all necessary penalties,” Alghabra said.
As Alghabra said, the investigation into the flight is ongoing.
— with files from Rachel Gilmore
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