The province is vowing to continue to punish COVID violators.

It’s doing this by extending its State of Emergency to May 11th.

The extension gives police and health officials extra power to enforce COVID-19 measures, like issuing fines to people who ignore or violate COVID health measures.

This includes $2,300 tickets to owners, operators and organizers who host or promote large events and gatherings.

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said while many of us are doing our part, there are too many who aren’t getting the message.

“Every time someone thinks the public health orders don’t apply to them, or that they can bend the rules just this once, it sets us all back. We have orders in place to keep people safe and bring us through to the end of this pandemic,” Farnworth said.

“Now we have new travel restrictions in place, and people need to follow these orders – not just because we will enforce these orders, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

Anyone caught travelling outside of their health authority for non-essential purposes could face a fine for $575.

From Aug. 21st, 2020 to April 23rd of this year, 1,857 violation tickets were issued, including:

  • 328 tickets for $2,300 each to owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO’s) order on gatherings and events;
  • 53 tickets for $2,300 each for contravention of the PHO’s Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order,
  • 1,441 $230 tickets issued to individuals who failed to comply with PHO’s orders, and
  • 35 $575 tickets to individuals who promoted or attended a non-compliant event

Additionally, since the pandemic began, B.C. police have issued 138 violation tickets totalling $251,994 to people who contravened the Federal Quarantine Act.

Premier John Horgan said that with over 1.5 million British Columbians already vaccinated and tens of thousands more joining them each day, the end of this pandemic is in sight. 

“But we’re not there yet,” Horgan warned. “I know how hard people have been working to keep others safe. The final mile of this pandemic is proving more difficult, but if we all keep doing our part to follow public health orders, including staying close to home, we will get through this sooner rather than later.”