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Coronavirus: Family apologizes after getting fined for selling masks in Port Coquitlam park

A family sells medical masks in a Port Coquitlam park on March 20, 2020.
A family sells medical masks in a Port Coquitlam park on March 20, 2020. Submitted

The family accused of “pandemic profiteering” at a Port Coquitlam park over the weekend is apologizing to the community.

The family member has asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Family fined after selling medical masks in Port Coquitlam at steep prices

In a statement to Global News, however, he said he now recognizes it was a poor decision.

“Over the weekend my family and I set up a table in McLean Park to distribute masks to our family and friends in the area. The masks were sent to me by a family member overseas,” reads the statement.

“I recognize this was a bad decision and I want to apologize to the community for my poor judgement. “

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On Friday evening, Port Coquitlam bylaw officers were called to McLean Park after public complaints of people selling masks with a table set up and cardboard boxes filled with supply.

READ MORE: B.C. care providers say hoarding linked to coronavirus causing medical supply shortage

A statement from the city says bylaw officers were told by the family that those who ordered masks were afraid to come to their house because of social distancing so they decided to do it outside.

They stated that they had received money via e-mail transfer mostly and no money exchanged hands in the park.

However, city staff spoke to two witnesses in the park who stated they saw cash exchanging hands and the individuals did not respond to that.

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The masks were being sold for $60 a box.

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The group returned the next day and received a total fine of $500 for operating an unauthorized business.

The family member said he is now giving back to the community.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Plea for donations of medical supplies to protect B.C. health workers

“My family and I have since donated 1,000 masks to a local care center,” he said, adding he made the donation through his church group.

The care centre confirmed to Global News that a church group had made such a donation Monday morning.

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“I want to put this behind me and focus on supporting the efforts of our governments and community based organizations by respecting and following their direction during this time.”

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Port Coquitlam’s Mayor Brad West says he stands by the actions of bylaw officers.

The matter was referred to Coquitlam RCMP.