Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth (Photo supplied by BC Government Flickr
Even as case numbers drop and vaccinations ramp up, the province isn’t letting up on COVID-19 rulebreakers.
B.C. has extended its state of emergency through to May 25th.
This gives police and officials extra power to enforce COVID safety measures, like doling out big fines to organizers and hosts of large parties and events, and smaller ones to people who flout provincial health orders.
One example of that is $230 tickets to anyone who refuses to wear a mask in public indoor spaces.
From Aug. 21st, 2020 to May 7th, 1,974 violation tickets were issued, including:
- 361 tickets for $2,300 each to owners or organizers of large gatherings and events;
- 54 tickets for $2,300 each for contravention of the PHO’s Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order;
- 1508 tickets for $230 each to people who didn’t comply with PHO orders, like wearing masks in indoor public spaces;
- 50 tickets for $575 each to people who promoted or attended a non-compliant event; and
- One $575 ticket to a person for failing to comply with the travel restrictions.
Additionally, since the pandemic began, police agencies in British Columbia have issued 153 violation tickets to individuals who were in contravention of the Federal Quarantine Act, totalling $288,736.
Since the start of the pandemic, WorkSafeBC has done 26,588 COVID-19 related work site inspections.
On Dec. 16th, 2020, the province announced additional measures including bumping up COVID-19 fine collection efforts, and asking enforcement officers to support police, by issuing violation tickets during their normal course of duties or when in public places.
“As our vaccine rollout speeds up, we need everyone to register to be notified as soon as it’s their turn,” said Premier John Horgan. “Getting vaccinated and continuing to follow public health guidance helps support our health-care workers and gets us all a step closer to putting the pandemic behind us.”
The original declaration was made on March 18th, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.
“Most British Columbians have been doing their part to stay close to home and follow public health guidance, and that commitment is showing as the number of cases and hospitalizations begin to ease,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“But we’re not through this yet, and everyone must continue to follow the rules or face enforcement. More importantly, by following orders for the next while and avoiding non-essential travel, you’ll be doing your part to get us all through this sooner.”