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VPD bust big parties this weekend, adding many think COVID is a hoax

Last Updated Nov 30, 2020 at 2:18 pm PDT

File - A Vancouver Police Department vehicle. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The VPD broke up several parties over the weekend and handed out fines

The public health orders have been in place for a while, so police aren't sure why people aren't getting the message

Officers came upon a broken down limo on Stanley Park Drive, which also resulted in a fine

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Despite strict COVID-19 public health rules being in place, some Vancouver Police officers spent their weekend breaking up big parties, dealing with drunk people and handing out expensive fines.

On Friday night, police say they got a call from a concerned parent asking officers to check on her teenage daughter, whom they found at a condo party in the city’s downtown core where investigators say there was suspected drug use as well. The girl was there with two other teens and a bunch of adults. Sixteen people in total were in the unit. The primary resident was issued a fine of $2,300 and the girls were released to a guardian.

The next night, two more parties were broken up at condo buildings downtown. The first was a birthday party, there were somewhere between eight to 10 people. Everyone felt bad and said sorry, and the owner was only given a fine of $230. At the other gathering, which was bigger, officers say guests were highly intoxicated and hostile. The owner of that unit was also issued a fine of $2,300.

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“It is concerning for us as we do put ourselves in harm’s way but not only are we doing that, it’s people we’re seeing that are putting themselves in harm’s way as well,” explains Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin. “It ranges. We do get some people who are apologetic and sympathetic and in other times, people are belligerent, they think it’s a hoax… but most times when people are having these large parties, they don’t really believe #COVID19 is a thing, we’re noticing.”

The public health orders have been in place for a while, so Visintin isn’t sure why people still aren’t getting the message.

“We are taking this very seriously and we echo everything our public health officer is saying: stay to your household family or household people, no large parties, if you’re out in public wear a mask, these are all things she has said and we’re definitely echoing and now we’re starting to crack down a little bit more because people aren’t getting it.”

She adds the department is not deploying more members to deal with these kinds of events but encourages people to call them if they think their friend or neighbour is having a gathering when they shouldn’t be.

“It should go to 311 first, but if you can’t get through to 311 then you can definitely call our non-emergency line, but 311 will be able to dispatch either a bylaw officer or police depending on the situation.”

The VPD’s non-emergency line is 604.717.3321.

Big parties were just one issue this weekend for officers in Vancouver. Officers also came upon a broken down limo on Stanley Park Drive. There were six people inside with only two of them actually living together. The driver didn’t have a licence or the proper permit to be behind the wheel and another $2,300 fine was issued.

Anyone caught operating or riding in a party bus or “group limousine” in Metro Vancouver while COVID-19 restrictions are in place will now face a fine of up to $2,000, according to B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth.