A Canadian couple who drew widespread criticism for flying to a small indigenous community in January to be vaccinated pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating local coronavirus restrictions, according to court records.
The couple, Rodney and Ekaterina Baker from Vancouver, appeared in practice in the Yukon Territorial Court and pleaded guilty to charges under the territory of the Civil Emergency Act, which was passed during the pandemic and asked people to isolate themselves for 14 days after entered the Yukon, the records show. .
While Bakers will not face jail time, each was fined $ 1,000 plus an additional $ 150, a total of $ 2,300 for the couple.
Fortunately, nothing physical happened in this case, no one got Covid as a result, Judge Michael Cozens said during the court proceedings, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. There was damage, but the damage was not being caught by anyone who caught Covid. It was certainly psychological.
The Bakers traveled about 1,200 miles to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukons, on January 19th. Two days later, bypassing the required two weeks of quarantine, the couple scheduled a flight to Beaver Creek, about 300 miles northwest of Whitehorse, and introduced themselves as motel workers. in the area and received vaccines. Later that day, the couple returned to Whitehorse, where authorities found them.
Within days, Mr. Baker, who had been the chief executive of the Canadian Grand Gaming Corporation, which operates casinos and hotels across Canada, resigned from his position. Mrs. Baker is an actress.
Kelly McGill, who pursued the case as part of the Yukons branch of legal services, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Beaver Creek, which relies heavily on traffic from the Alaska Highway, has suffered economically amid travel restrictions during the pandemic. Community became a priority for vaccinations in part because of its remoteness, and shoots became available to adults of all ages. Yukon ID cards were not required.
The couples’ actions highlighted both the complications of a global vaccine spread and the disparities in vaccine distribution, which are increasingly complicated by the disproportionately high rates of infection and death between poor and colored people. These issues were particularly associated between vaccine shortages and distribution problems.
Jennifer Cunningham, the couples lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
John Streicker, the Yukons community services minister, said at the time that he was outraged by the selfish behavior of the couples.
Similarly, Angela Demi, the chief of the First White River Nation, called the Bakers privileged multimillionaires.
It is clear to me that because we are a predominantly indigenous community, they assumed we were boats, she said. A clear signal must be sent that this behavior is unacceptable.
Eduardo Medina contributed to reporting.
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