More than $12,000 in COVID-19 fines were issued during the first week of ticketing, according to the provincial government.
Last month, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth gave police and other provincial enforcement officers the ability to issue fines to owners, organizers, and individuals that contravene health guidelines.
Fines of $2,000 can be issued to owners and organizers of gatherings and events, while $200 violation tickets can be issued to individuals.
Farnworth says that while it’s “encouraging to see the vast majority of British Columbians following public health rules,” there remains a “small group of people ignoring Dr. Henry’s orders.”
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Ten violation tickets were issued between August 21 to 28, which was the first week of enforcement. Six of those tickets were issued to gatherings and events, resulting in more than $2,000 in fines. Four tickets were issued to individuals.
“Since we announced the new enforcement measures, we’ve seen several examples of violation tickets being issued to people breaking the law,” Farnworth says in a statement. “It’s disappointing to see behaviour that shows a blatant disregard for the safety of citizens.”
“It’s time to stop breaking the rules. It’s time to do better. It’s my hope that these enforcement measures will result in a change in behaviour and fewer violation tickets will be needed in the future.”
One of the individuals who received a $2,000 ticket was the host of a one-bedroom party on Vancouver Island. The Victoria Police Department (VicPD) said that 40 to 60 people were believed to have attended. One of the individuals who attended that party was also the recipient of a $200 fine.
BC Premier John Horgan says that “whether it’s an end-of-summer gathering or hockey celebration, this is not the time to bend or break the rules.”