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Victoria party host fined $2,300 under new coronavirus enforcement rules

Click to play video 'B.C. cracks down on those violating COVID-19 safety measures' B.C. cracks down on those violating COVID-19 safety measures
Anyone holding large parties or social gatherings will get more than a warning if they are caught. The province announced Friday that it is going to start handing out fines. Criminal Defence Lawyer Sarah Leamon discusses the possible legal ramifications.

Victoria police have issued what may be the first fine in B.C. under new COVID-19 enforcement powers granted on Friday.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth gave police and other compliance officers the ability to issue $2,000 fines to hosts and $200 fines to individuals found to be breaking public health orders.

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

Police say the fine was issued to the hosts of a “noisy” party in a multi-unit residential building on Fort Street.

Officers had originally attended the property around 7 p.m., after learning a party was planned, and warned the host about COVID-19 regulations around large gatherings.

When officers returned at 10:30 p.m., they found 15 people inside a one-bedroom suite, and told the hosts to end the party, according to Victoria police.

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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

The host told police they’d shut the event down, but police say they saw people continue to come and go from the property.

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Officers returned to the unit where they say they found about 30 people inside and not practicing social distancing.

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“Many of the party attendees were youth,” said a police media release.

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“The room was densely populated, hot, and moisture had built up in the windows.”

Read more: Vancouver councillor says more resources needed to enforce new COVID-19 fines

The party hosts also failed to collect contact tracing information from the guests, and police said they believe between 40 and 60 people attended in total.

Police issued a $2,000 fine and a $300 victim surcharge levy to the host, but no one who attended was ticketed.