As part of what it said are updated measures around its COVID-19 restrictions, the BC government announced that fines can now be issued to bars, nightclubs, and restaurants for not adhering to provincial public health orders.
In a release, the province said effective immediately, all previously announced ticket measures to enforce COVID-19 public safety at gatherings and events will remain in effect and will be expanded.
“Now, more than ever, we all need to follow the guidelines of the provincial health officer,” said BC’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. “These updated measures ensure police have the tools necessary to continue enforcing the PHO’s orders on unsafe gatherings.”
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In addition to previously announced ticketing measures on gatherings and events, the measures announced today include the following provisions, which are also subject to ticketing and enforcement:
- The holding of any event in a banquet hall is prohibited;
- Nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs;
- Background music or other background sounds, such as from televisions, must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation;
- Liquor sales for onsite consumption must cease by 10 pm;
- Unless a full meal service is provided, premises must close by 11 pm and all patrons must vacate the premises. If a full meal service is provided, premises may stay open, but liquor must not be served until 11 a.m. the following day;
- Liquor must not be consumed on premises by owners, operators or staff after 11 pm;
- Liquor service at private events must cease at 10 pm;
- If food or liquor serving premises hold private events, like wedding receptions, the same rules that hotels and other venues must follow apply to these premises.
The province said the enforcement focus will continue to be on $2,000 fines to owners, operators and organizers for contraventions of the PHO’s orders. Individual patrons may be levied with $200 fines.
In addition to enabling action from police, the BC government is enlisting compliance and enforcement staff from provincial ministries to “support enforcement and help issue tickets.” This includes liquor, cannabis and gaming inspectors, community safety unit inspectors, and conservation officers.
The province noted that if violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, police can recommend charges in relation to the offence.