COVID-19 fines expanded in B.C. to include new restrictions for bars, clubs, restaurants
Patrons sit between plexiglass barriers on the patio of a restaurant and bar in Vancouver, on Sunday, May 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VANCOUVER -- B.C. has expanded its COVID-19 fines to include the latest health orders imposed on restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Earlier this month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry introduced new orders to help curb the spread of COVID-19. They include telling bars, pubs and restaurants that they must cease alcohol sales at 10 p.m. each night, and ordering those venues to close at 11 p.m. unless they provide a full meal service.
Nightclubs and stand-alone banquet halls were ordered to shutter immediately.
To help enforce those measures, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth expanded the fines Sunday that he first introduced last month. Initially used to target event organizers who didn't adhere to COVID-19 restrictions for gatherings, the $2,000 ticket can now also be used to enforce the latest rules for bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
Individual patrons can be fined $200.
"We released our economic recovery plan last week, and we have an opportunity to lead the country as we support a strong recovery. Now, more than ever, we all need to follow the guidelines of the provincial health officer," Farnworth said in a news release.
"These updated measures ensure police have the tools necessary to continue enforcing the PHO's orders on unsafe gatherings."
Farnworth also warned that, if the fines don't work as a deterrent or if offences are especially egregious, police can recommend charges.
A full list of provincial health orders can be seen online.