B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: B.C. imposes $2,000 fines for uncontrolled party organizers

Participants who break rules can get a $200 ticket

The B.C. government is empowering police and other enforcement staff to impose fines of up to $2,000 for people who host or organize parties in violation of COVID-19 public health restrictions.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the new fine authority Aug. 21, after the province’s coronavirus infection rate jumped in recent weeks to as many as 100 cases a day. Public health officials say the majority of the new cases have been identified through contact tracing after summer parties and gatherings.

Owners and organizers can be fined for having more than five guests at a vacation rental, or failing to keep a contact list of people who have attended. For public gatherings, witnesses are advised to contact their local government bylaw office, or the local police non-emergency line to report violations.

“Just because your party has less than 50 people does not make it legal,” Farnworth said.

Fines of $200 will be imposed on people who are not hosts or organizers but encourage people to violate public health orders, or are abusive to people attempting to follow physical distance rules. In addition to police, conservation officers, liquor and cannabis inspectors, bylaw officers and WorkSafeBC inspectors are empowered to issue tickets.

“Don’t yell at the waiter who asks you not to push your tables together at a restaurant,” Farnworth said. Enforcement will target “large house parties, unsanctioned events on our streets, on our beaches. Enough is enough.”

RELATED: B.C. reaches 200 deaths, 80 new cases on Thursday

RELATED: Airbnb bans house parties at its rentals world-wide

Farnworth emphasized that the enforcement is aimed at a small minority of people who put others at risk.

“If violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, or in cases of particularly egregious contraventions or for repeat offences, police can recommend charges in relation to the offence,” the ministry said in a statement. “On conviction, judicial penalties of up to $10,000 may be levied.”

The measure was endorsed by B.C.’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees, after public health restrictions were eased this summer to allow pubs and restaurants to operate with space restrictions.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Winemakers press on with help of Nelson Italian-Canadian Society

The society helped secure a transport of grapes, juice from California

Indoor pools in RDCK to reopen Oct. 13

Pools have been closed by the pandemic since March 16

Books for Kids fundraiser celebrates 10 years

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s annual campaign is in partnership with Black Press

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

Metis pilot Teara Fraser profiled in new DC Comics graphic novel of women heroes

The Canadian pilot’s entry is titled: ‘Teara Fraser: Helping Others Soar’

Horgan vows to replace B.C.’s shared senior care rooms in 10 years

$1.4 billion construction on top of staff raises, single-site work

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

Most Read