The B.C. government will increase its efforts to levy and collect fines for those who violate orders aimed at curbing COVID-19.
Premier John Horgan told reporters on Tuesday that the province will work with community safety investigators and others to ensure that those who break rules around social gatherings and physical distancing are fined.
“There are those who are not prepared to bend a little bit in their personal lives for the benefit of all of us,” Horgan said. “So consequently, we are going to be beefing up public health orders in the next couple of weeks.”
Nearly 200 COVID-19 violation tickets were issued in B.C. between Aug. 21 and Dec. 4.
This includes 36 tickets to owners or organizers contravening the order on gatherings and events, and 16 tickets for contravention of the Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order. Each ticket carries a $2,300 fine.
The violations also include 142 tickets issued to individuals who refused to comply with direction from law enforcement for actions such as not wearing a mask in indoor public places. Those tickets each carry a $230 fine.
British Columbians can challenge fines, Horgan said, but once due process is complete, it is time to pay up.
“If you do not pay the fines, we will send collections (agencies) after you,” he said.
“This is serious. This is not a lark. This is not something we do lightly. Those who do not want to follow the rules we are all following will have to pay the consequences.”
Horgan’s comments came the same day as the first person in B.C. received the vaccine.
Few details were released, though officials did say it was a front-line health worker.
About 4,000 of the 30,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that Canada has received are being transferred to two sites in the Lower Mainland: one in Metro Vancouver and one in the Fraser Valley.
Long-term care residents are officially next on the list, but won’t be able to receive it for at least a few more weeks until the doses are safe to transport outside of subzero temperatures.
The Moderna vaccine, which is awaiting approval, has less stringent restrictions because of the way it’s manufactured.