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B.C. hands out tens-of-thousands of dollars worth of COVID-related fines

Last Updated Nov 11, 2020 at 1:29 pm PDT

(Nikitha Martins, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Fines totalling tens of thousands of dollars have been handed out to people violating COVID-19 measures across B.C.

B.C.'s state of emergency has been extended yet again as COVID-19 cases continue to spike

Law enforcement officials continue to use powers given to them under Emergency Program Act to go after violations

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – As the B.C. government once again extends a state of emergency, law enforcement continues to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to go after people who violate pandemic-related measures, with tickets and fines now tallying in the tens-of-thousands of dollars.

Premier John Horgan says the state of emergency is now in effect through Nov. 24, as the COVID-19 infection rate continues to rise.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re all in it together,” said the premier.

“It’s time to focus on the actions that helped keep us safe this spring: diligent handwashing, physical distancing, wearing a mask and staying home when you’re sick. We all have a role to play in supporting our health-care workers, the health-care system and essential workers, and we must do all we can to keep our loved ones safe, schools open and the economy moving.”

The original declaration was made on March 18, the day after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency.

From Aug. 21 to Nov. 9, police have used measures under the Emergency Program Act to ticket and fine those who ignore pandemic-related public health orders

That includes 19 tickets — $2,300 apiece — that have been handed to hosts and organizers for contravening Dr. Henry’s rules for groups and gatherings.

Two more of those large fines have gone to establishments under the PHO’s Food and Liquor Serving Premises order.

And 26 individuals have also been hit with tickets and $230 fines for not following direction from law enforcement.

If you add all that to $64,000 in federal penalties for violations of the Quarantine Act in B.C., the grand total hits almost $120,000 for contraventions of measures meant to contain the spread of the virus.

Recent increases in the number of cases of COVID-19 in B.C., particularly across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, have led Dr. Henry to enact further restrictions on social gatherings, indoor group exercise and travel for a two-week period in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions.

“Now more than ever, we are asking all British Columbians to pull together and redouble our efforts to flatten the curve,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The vast majority of British Columbians are doing the right things and following the advice of public health officials. Our government will continue to ensure that police and other enforcement officials have the tools necessary to address the selfish actions of a small minority of people who take needless risks with our collective health.”