Despite a recent slew of social media posts and rumours to the contrary, RCMP said they are not specifically issuing COVID-19 fines to people from different households travelling together in vehicles.
Have you heard the rumours circulating that we’re issuing fines for people driving together if they’re not from the same address? False! Surrey RCMP have not issued any such tickets, nor is there a provision or authority to do so. pic.twitter.com/U2g8jd5ZV9
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) November 27, 2020
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu confirmed with Daily Hive that the rumours are untrue.
“A vehicle may have been stopped over for other reasons and the officer may have inquired if those individuals were in the same household and attempted to educate them,” she said.
She noted, however, that “the health orders made it clear that we are not to have direct contact with anyone outside our household, so we also have to wear masks when we are not able to distance with those who are not in our household.”
However, in the case of actually ticketing someone, Sidhu said “an officer has to have legal grounds and legal authority [to do so] in the first place.”
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When reached for comment, BC’s Ministry of Public Safety told Daily Hive “there is no mask requirement as per the order – but we strongly encourage anyone to wear a mask when they cannot physically distance from people outside their household or core bubble.”
And of course, “there are requirements to wear masks in public or shared transportation settings,” the ministry said.
Under the provincial order, face masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older, in a number of indoor public settings, including:
- malls, shopping centres, coffee shops, and retail and grocery stores
- liquor and drug stores
- airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres
- restaurants, pubs and bars
- places of public worship
- on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle
- common areas of office buildings, courthouses, hospitals and hotels
- common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity
- common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations
For people looking to report “non-emergency” contraventions of the mask order, the ministry said they should contact their local bylaw office. Those unable to reach a local bylaw office can contact their local police department’s non-emergency line.
Anyone without a mask in an indoor public place, or who refuses to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer – including the direction to leave the space – or who responds with abusive or belligerent behaviour, may be subject to a $230 fine.