Vancouver city council has voted unanimously in favour of a motion aimed at enforcing social-distancing measures during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Council met virtually on Monday morning to vote on an amendment to the city’s emergency powers bylaw that would allow bylaw officers to issue penalties to anyone either gathering in large groups or not doing what they can to keep two metres apart.
The amendment includes fines that could reach as high as $50,000 for businesses that fail to comply with emergency measures.
Enforcement officers would also be able to issue municipal tickets to individuals, as well as a fine of $1,000, the maximum amount allowed under the Vancouver Charter.
Johnston said four bylaw enforcement officers visited nearly 1,600 businesses over the weekend, and issued more than a dozen orders for non-compliance.
The Vancouver Park Board has closed parking lots at the city’s most popular parks and beaches, along with all outdoor sports areas. The parks themselves remain open to the public.
Stewart has previously expressed frustration over residents who refused to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
“This weekend, I saw reports of people hosting house parties, having group picnics on the beach, playing soccer, playing beer pong,” he said. “Beer pong.
“This isn’t a game. People are dying.”
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