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Surrey officers, city to ensure locals follow COVID rules as warm weather arrives

A windy day at Crescent Beach. (Amanda Wawryk, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

RCMP, bylaw officers, and park ambassadors will be out in full force patrolling Surrey parks and beaches

People in Surrey being reminded to follow COVID-19 public health orders as weather warms up

Surrey RCMP says officers are now turning to enforcement rather than education when it comes to public health orders

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – People soaking up the sun in Surrey this week are being reminded to not break COVID-19 protocols.

City officials say they don’t want to see B.C.’s pandemic hot zone get any worse just because of warmer weather.

RCMP, bylaw officers, and park ambassadors will be out in full force patrolling Surrey parks and beaches, according to councillor Linda Annis.

She stresses if you must go outside, stay in your bubble and mask up when you can.

“If you are doing things that are breaking the health order, you could be entitled to a ticket,” Annis warned, noting popular hangouts will be a focus.

“We do have an active team out patrolling in the community, and specifically in areas like Crescent Beach,” she added.

From education to enforcement

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu says as case numbers have gotten worse, officers have pivoted away from education and are now focusing on enforcement.

“We will not hesitate to issue violation tickets. Whether the person’s not wearing a mask in a place where they should be wearing a mask, or if somebody is displaying belligerent or aggressive behaviour,” she told NEWS 1130.

Sidhu says the RCMP’s COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team has been working since March of last year, focusing on ensuring the community — including businesses — are complying with public health orders.

“They’re looking for people to make sure that they’re complying, but then they’re also looking to enforce public health orders ion situation where people are not complying,” she explained, noting there will be no mercy for repeat offenders.

“These people have perhaps been issued violation tickets and they just still are not getting the message. Then they could be facing charges under the offense act,” she said.

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“Be careful and continue to remain safe,” Sidhu added, pointing out the vast majority of people have been following health orders.

Annis says people who see rule breakers can either call the bylaw office call centre at 604.591.4370 or contact the RCMP non-emergency line at 604.599.0502.

“Or, if you happen to see a bylaw officer, park ambassador, or an RCMP member, do bring it to their attention,” she added.

She says she knows people are frustrated after 13 months of the pandemic, but notes this is not the time to be complacent.

-With files from Lasia Kretzel and John Ackermann