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$2,000 fines to be issued to enforce B.C. COVID-19 public health rules

Click to play video 'The B.C. government announces stricter enforcement fines for COVID-19 safety measures' The B.C. government announces stricter enforcement fines for COVID-19 safety measures
The B.C. government announces stricter enforcement fines for COVID-19 safety measures – Aug 21, 2020

Anyone caught violating B.C.’s public health rules, especially the order on large gatherings, will now face fines of up to $2,000.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the move, effective immediately, to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the province amid a recent surge in cases.

Police and bylaw officers will now be able to issue $2,000 tickets to property owners and operators who host large house parties and unsanctioned events on streets or beaches if there are more than 50 people present.

This also includes failing to provide appropriate hand sanitation and washroom facilities, failing to provide sufficient space in the venue for physical distancing, failing to obtain a list of names and contacts at a large event, and having more than five guests gathered in vacation accommodation.

“Enough is enough,” Farnworth said.

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“These actions could cost people their lives and that is why stricter enforcement is necessary.”

In addition, anyone promoting a large event or gathering could be issued a $200 violation ticket.

Anyone refusing to follow the guidelines or being abusive to staff at a business who are trying to enforce those guidelines could also get a $200 ticket.

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“Now more than ever, this is a time to be selfless. This is time to tell friends and family that breaking the rules will hurt us all,” Farnworth said.

Now is the time to re-double our efforts to re-flatten the curve, he added, referring to a “small minority of selfish individuals across the province who are putting everyone at risk.”

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‘Don’t yell at the waiter’ – B.C.’s solicitor general details how the new enforcement will happen – Aug 21, 2020

Read more: B.C. records 200th coronavirus death, 80 new cases

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In rare cases of the violation tickets not acting as a deterrent, or if there are repeat offenders, then police can recommend charges, Farnworth said. If someone is convicted, fines of up to $10,000 may be issued.

On Thursday, B.C. recorded two new deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the province’s total to 200. Both were in long-term care in the Fraser Health region.

The province also recorded 80 new cases of the virus, with 2,574 people in self-isolation, as new public exposures continue to be announced on a near-daily basis.

Click to play video '‘Selfish individuals’ – Mike Farnworth lays out new consequences for breaking COVID guidelines' ‘Selfish individuals’ – Mike Farnworth lays out new consequences for breaking COVID guidelines
‘Selfish individuals’ – Mike Farnworth lays out new consequences for breaking COVID guidelines – Aug 21, 2020
Click to play video 'B.C. health officials report 200th COVID-19 death, 80 new cases' B.C. health officials report 200th COVID-19 death, 80 new cases
B.C. health officials report 200th COVID-19 death, 80 new cases – Aug 20, 2020

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said the number of people in isolation reflects the “type of places where the exposure has occurred.”

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“The two notable things about these gatherings are crowding and in some cases alcohol,” she said.

New cases remain driven by younger adults, added Gustafson.