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Premier confident in B.C.'s COVID-19 rules despite disputed tickets

Last Updated Feb 11, 2021 at 4:45 pm PDT

A fine handed out to a Kelowna church for defying COVID-19 restrictions banning in-person worship. (Courtesy Facebook/HarvestMinistriesCanada)

Premier John Horgan stands by the restrictions in place despite hundreds of people disputing COVID-19 fines

While Horgan would rather people follow the rules, it is their right to challenge the tickets

B.C. reported 469 new COVID-19 infections and six more deaths on Wednesday

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The premier is standing behind the current COVID-19 fines and restrictions despite many British Columbians fighting the tickets they’ve received. 

Premier John Horgan said Wednesday he would prefer people and organizations follow the rules put in place to prevent the spread of the virus instead of fighting them but says it’s their legal right to challenge it.

“We’re confident that the public health orders put in place by Dr. [Bonnie] Henry and the emergency orders that we put in place are constitutional. We have the ability to do this. We’re protecting the public interest,” he said.

“We’ve put in place a regime when it comes to public health and public safety that most British Columbians are following and I think it’s important, and I appreciate that the anomalies become newsworthy.”

RELATED: Only 12% of COVID-19 fines paid in B.C. while majority dispute ticket

As of Jan. 30, only 12 per cent of tickets on file with ICBC had been settled. Of the 377 total fines issued under both provincial laws and the federal Quarantine Act, 51 per cent are being disputed.

Horgan said it’s disappointing, but those disobeying health orders are in the minority and the legal challenges aren’t going to get in the way of protecting people’s health.

“We’re trying to find that balance to make sure that people can continue to exercise their good judgement but when that judgement becomes bad judgement, we have tools at our disposal to take action and we’ll continue to do that.”

In addition to dealing with nearly 200 fines being appealed, the province is seeking injunctions against churches refusing the follow the order to stop in-person services.

On Wednesday, B.C. reported 469 new COVID-19 infections, as well as six more virus-related deaths.

So far, 157,797 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given, with 14,316 of those being the second shots.

Sixty-six of the 230 patients in hospital because of the virus are in intensive care.

-with files from Bailey Nicholson