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More COVID-19 violation fines handed out on Vancouver Island

Last Updated Dec 23, 2020 at 12:08 pm PST

Lights of police car in night time. (Source: iStock)
Summary

Eleven teens in Nanaimo have been handed fines for gathering despite restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic

RCMP in Nanaimo says group of youths not wearing masks or socially distancing, spotted in a parking lot Saturday night

Youths were handed tickets of $230 each

NANAIMO (NEWS 1130) – A pre-Christmas gathering in the parking lot of a high school in Nanaimo has landed 11 teenagers with fines of $230 each.

According to Mounties in Nanaimo, officers on patrol spotted the “large group of youths” as well as a number vehicles at Dover Bay High School around 11:45 p.m., Saturday.

Officers asked them to break up their gathering and left. However, when the RCMP returned, officers found more cars and people walking around “without masks on and going back and forth between vehicles to speak with friends.”

“Given their lack of regard after being told to disperse, the officer elected to issue each with a violation ticket in hopes that the behaviour would not continue throughout the Holiday Season,” says Constable Gary O’Brien.

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The tickets are issued under the COVID Related Measures Act. Just last week, the province warned that COVID-19 enforcement was going to be beefed up, with plans to get tougher on British Columbians who still aren’t willing to follow COVID-19 health orders.

“There are those who are not prepared to bend a little bit in their personal lives to the benefit of all of us collectively,” Premier John Horgan said Dec. 14. “We’re going to ask you to be working with law enforcement to ensure that our public health orders are in place, and being acted upon. That means holding rule breakers accountable.”

Between Aug. 21 and Dec. 14, 290 tickets were handed out across the province, totalling $203,320 in fines.

In addition to asking gaming investigators, conservation officers, community safety unit inspectors, and liquor and cannabis inspectors to support police in enforcement, the province has also directed ICBC to take a harder stance.

ICBC, which collects fines on behalf of the province, has been told to now send those caught breaking the rules straight to collections after the dispute period ends. This is a change from normal circumstances, during which a person fined may be sent payment reminders for up to a year before their account is sent to collections.