CTV Morning Live co-host Michael Hutchinson said on air Monday he broke the province’s pandemic restrictions over the weekend.
"It was a great weekend, I had, you know, met some friends that I didn’t expect to meet, against the restrictions. I guess I broke the law a little bit," he said during a brief exchange on the Winnipeg-produced show with fellow co-host Nicole Dubé.
"Nowadays with all the restrictions, you go over to somebody’s house and you’re in the bad place. I think everybody’s feeling a bit tough this morning and it was a tough weekend," he continued.
Hutchinson did not appear on air for the rest of the show.
There is no word on whether he has been issued a citation for breaking the province’s COVID-19 pandemic regulations.
On May 7, Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief health officer, announced tighter restrictions on gatherings that went into effect on Sunday that include no indoor public or private gatherings; no visitors allowed on private property, including outdoor or patio visits from people outside of your household; and no gatherings of more than five people at an outdoor public place, including household members.
A recording of Hutchinson’s comments was posted on Twitter shortly after it aired, and the reaction on the social media site ranged from discouragement about how lightly he regarded the province’s pandemic regulations to demanding CTV Winnipeg remove Hutchinson from the show.
A Bell Media spokeswoman wrote in an emailed statement that CTV News Winnipeg was disappointed that Hutchinson’s comments went to air and that it takes public health orders and guidelines seriously.
"Michael will share a personal apology to viewers during (Tuesday’s) CTV Morning Live broadcast and will work from home over the next two weeks to ensure the health and safety of his co-workers," Christy Sullivan wrote. "We will continue to work with all of our employees to ensure guidelines are being followed."
Outside of television, Hutchinson has been part of the communication staff of the Indian Claims Commission, the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.
He is also the author of three children’s books, two of which, The Case of Windy Lake: A Mighty Muskrats Mystery and The Case of the Missing Auntie: A Mighty Muskrats Mystery Book 2, have been nominated for Manitoba Book Awards in 2021.
He is a citizen of the Misipawistik Cree Nation, which is near Grand Rapids, about 430 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg.
Alan Small has been a journalist at the Free Press for more than 22 years in a variety of roles, the latest being a reporter in the Arts and Life section.