An affluent Canadian couple was fined after they allegedly flew to an isolated community and got COVID-19 vaccines under false pretenses.
According to Yukon News on Monday, husband and wife Rodney Baker, 55, and Ekaterina Baker, 32, allegedly traveled from Vancouver to Whitehorse and then to Beaver Creek, a remote area of the Yukon that is home to approximately 100 residents.
Allegedly, the now-former casino executive and the actress went to a clinic where a team was administering Moderna vaccines to the community, including members of the White River First Nation (WRFN).
Per Community Services Minister John Streicker, the two allegedly lied to officials, claiming to be workers at a local motel.
Per Newsweek, after receiving the shots, the Bakers allegedly asked for a ride to the airport, which raised concerns among community members.
Additionally, vaccine clinic workers reportedly checked with the motel and discovered that the Bakers did not in fact work there.
Eventually, officials intercepted the couple at the Whitehorse airport.
Per Yukon News, both received two fines under the Civil Emergency Measures Act, one for failing to self-isolate and a second for failing to follow their signed declaration. While Yukon News says the fines add up to $1,150 each, People and Newsweek report it to be $900 per person.
In addition to fines, Yukon News adds that the maximum penalty under CEMA is six months in jail. However, it is unclear if the Bakers are at risk of serving prison time for their alleged actions.
On January 25, Rodney reportedly resigned as CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which owns casinos and race tracks across Canada.
On Friday, Streicker released a statement expressing outrage at the couple.
“I’m very upset at the individuals — the couple — who did this. What they did was to mislead our officials and the community,” said Streicker.
The WRFN are also demanding that authorities “pursue a more just punishment” against the pair.
“We are deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes,” Chief Angela Demit said in a statement obtained by Yukon News.
Demit also told the Washington Post that the community was considered a priority “given our remoteness, elderly and high-risk population, as well as limited access to health care.”