B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. (B.C. government)

COVID-19: B.C. imposes $2,000 fines for uncontrolled party organizers

Participants who break rules can get a $200 ticket

The B.C. government is empowering police and other enforcement staff to impose fines of up to $2,000 for people who host or organize parties in violation of COVID-19 public health restrictions.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the new fine authority Aug. 21, after the province’s coronavirus infection rate jumped in recent weeks to as many as 100 cases a day. Public health officials say the majority of the new cases have been identified through contact tracing after summer parties and gatherings.

Owners and organizers can be fined for having more than five guests at a vacation rental, or failing to keep a contact list of people who have attended. For public gatherings, witnesses are advised to contact their local government bylaw office, or the local police non-emergency line to report violations.

“Just because your party has less than 50 people does not make it legal,” Farnworth said.

Fines of $200 will be imposed on people who are not hosts or organizers but encourage people to violate public health orders, or are abusive to people attempting to follow physical distance rules. In addition to police, conservation officers, liquor and cannabis inspectors, bylaw officers and WorkSafeBC inspectors are empowered to issue tickets.

“Don’t yell at the waiter who asks you not to push your tables together at a restaurant,” Farnworth said. Enforcement will target “large house parties, unsanctioned events on our streets, on our beaches. Enough is enough.”

RELATED: B.C. reaches 200 deaths, 80 new cases on Thursday

RELATED: Airbnb bans house parties at its rentals world-wide

Farnworth emphasized that the enforcement is aimed at a small minority of people who put others at risk.

“If violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, or in cases of particularly egregious contraventions or for repeat offences, police can recommend charges in relation to the offence,” the ministry said in a statement. “On conviction, judicial penalties of up to $10,000 may be levied.”

The measure was endorsed by B.C.’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees, after public health restrictions were eased this summer to allow pubs and restaurants to operate with space restrictions.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chantal Schwark, left with Gerri Gill and Elle Schwark, 11 months old in the pumpkin patch at Arrowvale Farm. (SONJA DRINKWATER/ Alberni Valley News)
Final day for Arrowvale pumpkin patch is Oct. 25

Drive down to the patch and pick your own pumpkin

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read