The province is extending its B.C.-wide state of emergency for another two weeks.
This gives police and other enforcement officials the power to hand out tickets to anyone caught violating COVID-19 provincial health orders, like hosting large parties, or refusing to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
From Aug. 21st to Dec. 4th, 194 violation tickets were issued, including:
- 36 $2,300 tickets to owners or organizers contravening the PHO’s order on gatherings and events;
- 16 $2,300 violation tickets for contravention of the PHO’s Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order; and
- 142 $230 tickets issued to people who refused to comply with direction from law enforcement.
The state of emergency will continue until the end of the day on Dec. 22nd.
“We’re all feeling the effects of needing to distance from friends and loved ones, but the surest way to keep our families safe is by doing the right thing for a little longer,” said Premier John Horgan. “So rather than finding a way around the rules, I encourage everyone to follow the intent behind the public health orders, which is to get everyone to step back for a little while so we can reduce cases, save lives and work toward visits with family and friends again in a safe way.”
The original declaration was made on March 18th, the day after provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, declared a public health emergency.
On Nov. 24th, B.C. solicitor general Mike Farnworth introduced a mask enforcement order under the Emergency Program Act, requiring masks in public indoor settings for people over the age of 12.
As well, the province is urging everyone to limit non-essential travel to combat rising cases and help avoid further restrictions.
“Most British Columbians continue to do the right thing, and our collective efforts are something to be proud of,” said Farnworth. “Having said that, I can assure you this government will not hesitate to take further action against those who insist on putting the lives of others at risk. The orders are in place to keep people safe, and we will use those legal tools when necessary to ensure public safety.”
Additionally, since the pandemic began, police across B.C. have issued 70 violation tickets to people contravening federal Quarantine Act, totalling $76,216.
The Quarantine Act is meant to protect public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.