View from halfway up Knox Mountain Park drive. (File)

View from halfway up Knox Mountain Park drive. (File)

COVID-19 concerns prompt over 200 complaints to Kelowna bylaw

Bylaw has received over 200 complaints since provincial orders allowed its officers to support enforcement

Kelowna bylaw officers have been busy over the past two weeks responding to complaints about people not following the advice of the provincial health officer.

Bylaw has fielded more than 200 calls since March 30, when it began implementing orders from Dr. Bonnie Henry allowing its officers to support enforcement of business closures and gatherings.

Lance Kayfish the city’s risk manager said those complaints have ranged from people gathering on their driveways and in parks to complaints about driving ranges and other businesses still being open.

“But the majority of them, 126 as of my last count, have been about people, not social distancing,” said Kayfish.

Kayfish said officers are finding there is some confusion between the orders given by Dr. Henry and her advice. He said the closures of certain businesses, such as hairdressers and bars, is an order while maintaining a two-metre distance is not.

“We’re educating people about those differences but at the same time making it very clear in all of our communications and interactions we’re strongly supporting the recommendations of the provincial health officer that people do maintain social distancing,” said Kayfish.

In parks and other areas, people tend to flock to as the weather gets warmer, bylaw officers are patrolling and educating people about physical distancing.

“The majority of people are already complying, but they’ve talked to a few people playing tennis or not keeping their distance,” said the city’s communications manager Tom Wilson.

“There’s no plan currently to close parks.”

While bylaw officers cannot issue fines based on Henry’s orders, they can give formal warnings.

In the event of ongoing noncompliance, bylaw has been directed to contact Interior Health.

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