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

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

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-governance wishes

Preliminary designs of the new West Kelowna city hall, which is about to begin the design phase. (City of West Kelowna)
West Kelowna to choose architect for design of new city hall, library

The project is projected to cost $18M by the time it is completed in winter, 2022

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

After a Vernon resident tried to domesticate a pair of gopher snakes, BC Conservation Service reminded that it is against the law to keep wild animals in one’s possession. (Yuval Levy/Unsplash)
Wild gopher snakes aren’t pets: Vernon conservation officer

After resident kept two gopher snakes in his home, conservation reminds it’s illegal to domesticate wildlife

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Most Read