Mounties increasing patrols at Big White due to 'perceived lack of compliance' with COVID-19 rules
An image of Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. Source: Big White Ski Resort
VANCOUVER -- Mounties near a ski resort in B.C.'s Interior where 60 cases of COVID-19 have been identified say they are increasing patrols in the area to help ensure public health orders are being followed.
Kelowna RCMP and West Kelowna RCMP announced Thursday that they would be increasing patrols at Big White because of "community concerns regarding the significant increase in COVID-19 cases and perceived lack of compliance with provincial public health orders in the remote region."
While the area around the mountain is part of West Kelowna RCMP's jurisdiction, the detachments will be collaborating on the increased enforcement, Mounties said in a news release.
“Our officers will be there to ensure public safety and will be taking necessary enforcement action," said Kelowna RCMP Insp. Kent Lowe in the release.
Interior Health announced Wednesday that it had identified a cluster of cases at Big White, mostly from transmission related to shared housing.
The health authority said large households and social gatherings had caused most of the transmission related to the 60-case cluster.
In their announcement Thursday, Mounties reminded the public that they can be ticketed for violating public health orders.
"Owners or organizers of events can face fines of $2,300," police said in their release. "Failure to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, failure to comply with directions of an enforcement officer, or abusive or belligerent behaviour can result in a fine of $230."
Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance said officers "can and will" enforce COVID-19 rules, but encouraged community members to "voluntarily comply" with those rules so that enforcement isn't necessary.