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

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Family of teen stabbed to death in Kelowna close to getting Christmas wish

A memorial bench in Penticton for Elijah Beauregard is close to meeting its funding goal

(File photo)
Collision at Hwy 97, Hwy 33 causing delays

At least two patients, northbound traffic affected

Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Kelowna's crime rate is growing faster than any other city with more than 100,000 people across the country. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
More help from province needed, says Kelowna mayor following spike in crime

“Community safety cannot rest on the shoulder of police alone,” says Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran

École de l’Anse-au-sable had to shut its doors until Nov. 4 after health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak in the school. (Contributed)
Pandemic safety in Central Okanagan schools starts in the community

COVID-19 school outbreaks last week result of positive test cases rising in B.C.

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

A pair of hunters walked away with minor injuries after their vehicle rolled down an embankment Oct. 28. (VSAR photo)
Hunters free themselves from rollover on Westside

Vernon Search and Rescue was called out for a rope rescue, but the pair were already walking down the road

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

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

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

On Nov. 8, 2017 as the search was called off, white tents and black privacy fencing were no longer visible at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek and fewer police vehicles were present. (File photo)
Several police vehicles seen at Sagmoen farm in Shuswap Thursday night

RCMP at Silver Creek property where the remains of an 18-year-old Vernon woman were found in 2017

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Most Read