VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Citing people’s refusal to abide by city orders since Vancouver declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19, the mayor said council will meet and decide on penalties for violators — including fining businesses that remain open $50,000.
“The time of asking nicely is coming to an end,” Kennedy Stewart said at a news conference Sunday.
The mayor said news of people flagrantly disregarding the need for physical and social distancing forced his hand.
“The vast majority of residents and businesses have been outstanding members of our community, abiding by these rules. But too many did not. This weekend I saw reports of people hosting house parties, having group picnics on the beach, playing soccer, playing beer pong,” he said.
“This is not a game. People are dying.”
— Charmaine de Silva (@char_des) March 22, 2020
Stewart said council will meet–remotely, not in-person–to vote on bylaws authorizing penalties for anyone found violating orders from the city and province.
Orders that the city has made in the last week include closing restaurants except for takeout and delivery, prohibiting parking at busy parks, and closing all outdoor public fitness facilities.
Saturday the province ordered closures of salons, spas and other personal care services.
@kennedystewart’s message today:
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) March 22, 2020
He also said they will seek power from the province to issue an order for non-essential workers to stay put, in the event that becomes necessary.
“We have also been in contact with Provincial emergency management and health officials about going even further and ordering a general order for non-essential workers to stay put,” Stewart said.
“I am asking Council to approve this power tomorrow just in case we need to use it.”