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Kelowna, B.C., residents respond to fine increases for non-compliant social gatherings

Click to play video: 'Kelowna residents react to increased social gathering fine' Kelowna residents react to increased social gathering fine
Kelowna residents react to increased social gathering fine – Mar 25, 2021

With spring weather fast approaching, the B.C. government is gearing up to crack down on COVID-19 rule breakers.

“As we move into the nice weather, and the potential for attending large events or parties increases, we need to be even more vigilant about deterring people from not doing the right thing,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

“While the focus has always been on obtaining compliance through education and awareness, some people just haven’t received that message.”

Read more: COVID-19 surging in B.C., as province reports 800 new cases in a day

Farnworth announced on Thursday that due to certain British Columbians who are not taking the pandemic or public health orders seriously, fines have been raised.

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“Effective immediately, violation tickets for prompting and attending gatherings that contravene the provincial health officers orders are being raised from $230 to $575,” said Farnworth.

Some Kelowna residents, who did not want to publish their names, shared their thoughts on the increased fine.

“It’s about time, I’m glad to see it,” said one Kelowna resident.

“I just want to be safe, I think everyone wants to be safe. “

Read more: ‘So much excitement’: Okanagan church to resume small outdoor services

Another Kelowna resident shared, “I think if people are not going to be compliant, they’re not going to be compliant, and changing the fines won’t affect their position in this situation.”

Kelowna RCMP said its enforcement posture will not change with the increase to the fine.

In a statement Thursday, Kelowna RCMP said, “We will monitor, respond and assess violations on a case by case basis and where necessary apply the appropriate fines. The majority of individuals and groups have been compliant and when not, enforcement and fines will continue to be considered and issued.”

The $2,300 fine for organizing and hosting an event will remain the same.

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However, the new $575 fine can be issued for as little as promoting an event on social media, according to Farnworth.

Click to play video: 'B.C. to allow limited indoor religious gatherings for upcoming holidays' B.C. to allow limited indoor religious gatherings for upcoming holidays
B.C. to allow limited indoor religious gatherings for upcoming holidays – Mar 25, 2021

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