Surrey RCMP dished out $17K in COVID fines last week, including at 22-person wedding
VANCOUVER -- The number of people and businesses ignoring B.C.'s COVID-19 restrictions has been "creeping up" in Surrey, according to police.
Surrey RCMP said officers dished out nearly $17,000 in non-compliance fines last week alone after responding to everything from "large gatherings" at private homes to a restaurant that was continuing to serve customers indoors.
"With sunny weather now here, it can be very inviting to gather with others, so we are reminding everyone that public health orders are still in effect limiting gatherings, even outdoors," Sgt. Tyler Wickware of the RCMP's COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team said in a news release.
While B.C. residents are allowed to meet friends and family outside, they are only supposed to do so in groups of 10 at most. Health officials have also stressed that people should only be seeing the same friends and family members, and not bouncing between different groups of 10.
Despite that order, and the fact that B.C. is grappling with its record-breaking third wave of the pandemic, Surrey RCMP said they responded to complaints about large gatherings at five separate homes between April 7 and 11.
That included one gathering in the city's Newton neighbourhood that turned out to be a 22-person wedding. The host was handed a ticket for $2,300.
Police also fined the owner of a restaurant in the 9400 block of 120 street after seeing that guests were still being seated inside, contrary to B.C.'s temporary ban on indoor dining.
"This was the second violation for this establishment," the RCMP said. "As such, Fraser Health authorities were also notified."
On Sunday, police also ticketed a man who refused to wear a face mask in a store on King George Boulevard. Authorities said he was fined for "failing to wear a face covering, failing to comply with direction, and for abusive and belligerent behaviour."
The latest restrictions introduced in B.C., including the indoor dining ban, are scheduled to remain in place until at least April 19. It's unclear whether they will be extended, given that the province's COVID-19 case numbers remain high, but multiple restaurant industry groups said they expect the dining restriction to remain in place into May.