The price for violating public health rules meant to stop the pandemic just got a lot higher.
Starting this week, people caught attending or promoting illegal indoor social events will have to pay a fine of $575, which is double the previous fine of $230.
“I am disappointed that a small minority of British Columbians continue to put their health and the health of others at risk by attending unsafe gatherings. This selfish behaviour needs to stop, and police and provincial enforcement authorities will be able to issue these new fines immediately,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth explained.
The fine for organizing or hosting an indoor party or event is unchanged, but it was already a hefty $2,300. “If violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, or in cases of particularly egregious contraventions or for repeat offenders, police can recommend changers in relation to the offence. On conviction, judicial penalties of up to $10,000 and/or one year in prison may be imposed,” the province explains.
The new rules come as COVID cases continue to grow across the Skeena. There were 19 in Smithers alone over the past week, and 113 in Prince Rupert. “The Northwest remains a COVID hotspot in the province,” the Interior News reports.
Vaccines are being rolled out fast, the province says, but the pandemic is not yet over and the more that people follow social distancing the faster we can go back to normal.