Dozens more COVID-19 tickets handed out as B.C.'s safety minister chastises 'selfish' actions
An RCMP officer is seen writing a ticket in this undated file photo.
VANCOUVER -- Dozens more COVID-19 tickets have been issued in B.C. with the province's public safety minister warning enforcement will continue to come to those breaking public health orders.
In a news release Tuesday, which also announced a renewed stated of emergency in B.C., Mike Farnworth revealed another 119 tickets were handed out across the province over the past two weeks.
In total, since the fines were first introduced on Aug. 21, 693 tickets have been issued in the province.
"I want to thank all those British Columbians who are following public health orders, as well as the police working hard to enforce those orders with the support of bylaw officers and local governments," Farnworth said in the news release.
"And to the minority of British Columbians who continue to miss the message that we’re all in this together, we will continue to penalize selfish and unlawful actions and work to ensure the public does not face unnecessary risks."
Of the 119 new tickets, 16 were $2,300 fines issued to business owners or event organizers breaking the health order on gatherings and five were $2,300 tickets given for breaking the food and liquor serving premises order.
Another 98 tickets costing $230 each were given to individuals who didn't comply with direction from law enforcement.
During that two-week period, eight more Quarantine Act violation tickets were issued, totalling $9,200. Since the pandemic began, 85 of those tickets have been handed out across the province.
In Vancouver, police say they've seen an increase in reports about gatherings, but also incidents at businesses.
"Generally speaking our officers have responded to a lot of reports of unlawful social gatherings, people who are having large parties or social gatherings inside their houses or apartments and we're getting complaints from their neighbours," Sgt. Steve Addison with the Vancouver Police Department told reporters on Tuesday, saying officers have issued "a number of tickets."
"We have also seen, sadly, an increase in incidents where people in businesses are being accosted or assaulted by folks who come in and refuse to wear masks," he said.
For example, Addison said, someone recently deployed bear spray in a gas station "simply because the employee who was working there asked him to put on a mask."
As well, an officer was called to investigate an assault at a 7-Eleven where an employee was spit on because they asked the customer to put on a mask.
"We are sadly seeing more and more of this type of behaviour as the pandemic goes on and as people just grow so extremely weary of having to deal with this," Addison said.
Current rules limiting social gatherings to households only, except for those who live alone, remain in place until Feb. 5.
On Tuesday, B.C. renewed its state of emergency for the 23rd time, which has already been in place for 44 weeks. The declaration was first made back in March to give officials extra powers to enforce orders associated with COVID-19.