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B.C. won't increase fines for rule-breakers, despite 'COVID exhaustion'

Last Updated Jan 27, 2021 at 8:03 pm PDT

Premier John Horgan is joined by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix as they discuss reopening the province's economy in phases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Premier John Horgan says fines for those who ignore public health orders isn't changing

Horgan acknowledges the frustration people who follow the rules feel while watching others continue to break the rules

There won't be a mandatory quarantine period in B.C. like in Manitoba, Horgan says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Frustration and anger from watching some people continue to break public health regulations are growing while the premier is claiming the province will come down on rule-breakers “like a ton of bricks” – he just hasn’t said how.

This comes as COVID-19 cases remain high — there have been around 400 infections daily and deaths from the virus are still in the double digits.

Speaking during his weekly media availability, Premier John Horgan confirms fines for violating the COVID-19 health order won’t be changing, while the province is looking at options for those who don’t seem to care about the rules and are unaffected by financial penalties.

He referenced the condo owner in Vancouver who held a party there as a “makeshift nightclub” and the police officer whose leg was broken after a confrontation with a man who refused to wear a mask.

“We’re taking steps to ensure that the full force of the law comes down on those – particularly those that are violent – but particularly those that are also trying to find ways to circumvent the rules, to find loopholes.”

Horgan acknowledged the “extraordinary sacrifices” most British Columbians are making every day and the toll it is taking.

“We talk about COVID fatigue; it’s COVID exhaustion let’s be honest about this. People are frustrated. They’re angry and when they see other people, disregarding the very rules that they’re trying to abide by, it’s offensive to them it’s offensive to me.”

No interprovincial travel quarantine at this time

Horgan says B.C. will not be implementing a mandatory quarantine period for interprovincial travel like Manitoba has, even if only to be a deterrent for travellers.

“The challenge is how would we do it? And I’m just not the type of person that’s going to say ‘This is what we are going to set out to do,’ knowing that we’re not going to be able to do it in an appropriate time frame. Travel restrictions at the front-end were critically important.”

He notes the situation is different in Manitoba where there are fewer roads in and out of the province and only one major airport.

Until Horgan receives word that such a measure is necessary from the provincial health officer, he says the idea will be left “untraveled” for now.

RELATED: B.C. needs to stop non-essential travel to province within week, urges expert

Instead, he says travellers will be deterred by knowing they must follow B.C.’s pandemic orders.

Horgan spoke directly to potential out-of-province travellers, saying “You better behave appropriately, you better follow our public health guidelines or we’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks.”

The premier confirmed last week that B.C. would not be restricting or banning interprovincial travel.

“The review of our legal options made it clear we can’t prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians,” reads the statement from Thursday.