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B.C. Premier John Horgan threatens escalated enforcement as COVID-19 cases surge

Last Updated Aug 13, 2020 at 9:52 am PDT


The B.C. government could soon crack down on people who are still partying in large groups despite the pandemic

John Horgan says while enforcement is an option, punitive measures are a last resort

Premier's warning comes as B.C. marks third largest single-day increase in COVID-19 infections

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The province could soon be cracking down on people still partying in large numbers despite the threat of COVID-19.

The premier is putting them on notice, threatening enforcement if British Columbians don’t shape up.

John Horgan’s warning came as B.C. recorded the third largest single-day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic.

Young people on the Lower Mainland who were exposed to the coronavirus at events, as well as people who travelled outside the province, make up the majority of the new cases.

“When it comes to things like private parties, people flaunting the restriction on the number of faces in the smaller spaces, and so we’re going to be looking hard at enforcement when it comes to situations like that,” Horgan said. “We don’t want to do that, we prefer the good judgement of British Columbians, but those tools are available to us and they’re escalating, starting with warnings, of course, and then getting into more severe penalties.”

B.C. recorded 85 new cases on Wednesday, the most in a 24-hour period since the end of April.

“The cases we are seeing today reflect exposures from a week to 10 days ago,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

The update came the same day B.C. announced it was hiring 500 additional healthcare workers to conduct contact tracing across the province.

Horgan said while most British Columbians are following the recommendations and rules, there are some who are not. Those are the people who will be targeted by any escalated enforcement.

“We have been successful without taking a punitive approach to this pandemic and we want to keep it that way, but if people continue to work around or try and disregard the rules that the rest of British Columbians are following then we will, of course, take action,” Horgan said.

It was just last week that B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix shared a stern message to people still partying in large groups and ignoring COVID-19 guidelines.

“I want to say something to those who organized private parties, to those who are attending them, and those who are thinking of other ways to hold large gatherings in the middle of a global pandemic: enough,” Dix said on Aug. 6.