The mayor of Kelowna, Colin Basran, issued a statement Friday afternoon, urging protesters to comply with public health orders, even as they rally against them.
He asked those that attend the weekly protests that are happening in the city to respect their fellow citizens by wearing masks and keeping a safe physical distance from each other.
“People have the right to peacefully protest, but they do not have the right to put others at risk by defying public health orders,” Basran said in his written statement.
“Individual rights and freedoms are fundamental to our democracy, but they are only possible within parameters established by the democratic process. We cannot travel the wrong way down a one-way street because we have a selfish wish to get somewhere faster.
“These parameters of shared ideals prioritize our collective needs over individual wishes,” he said.
Basran also cautioned that RCMP are now issuing fines to event organizers of $2,300 and to individuals of $230 when they find people refusing to adhere to the orders.
“Doctors at Kelowna General Hospital recently expressed their serious concern about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our city. Lives are at risk and the potential to overwhelm the healthcare system is very real,” he said.
“We can see from other jurisdictions what happens when public health rules aren’t followed — increased deaths, increased ICU patients, health systems overwhelmed, schools and businesses closed, and more restrictive measures put in place.”
The mayor acknowledged that businesses and individuals have suffered due to the pandemic, and everyone is tired.
“But we can see the finish line ahead and we must all finish the race together,” the statement said.