The province’s state of emergency is staying in place for another two weeks.
It allows police and health officials to continue to enforce COVID-19 measures, such as handing out fines to rulebreakers.
Between Aug. 21st, 2020, and March 26th of this year, 1,570 violation tickets were issued, including:
- 242 $2,300 tickets to owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order on gatherings and events;
- 48 $2,300 violation tickets for contravention of the PHO’s Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order, and
- 1,280 $230 tickets issued to individuals who failed to comply with PHO orders.
Additionally, since the pandemic began, B.C. police agencies have issued 128 violation tickets to people who contravened the Federal Quarantine Act, totalling $217,494.
The purpose of the Quarantine Act is to protect public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.
“While the finish line remains in sight, rising case counts and the spread of variants of concern mean we all must continue working together to keep each other safe,” said Premier John Horgan.
“Thanks to our vaccination plan, we have been able to take positive strides toward protecting more British Columbians. We’re doing the best we can to get vaccinations into arms as soon as possible, but in the meantime, I urge everyone to double down on their efforts to control the spread and continue to follow public safety guidelines.”
The extension is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials.
The original declaration was made on March 18th, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.
“We’re still in a time where the virus continues to be a risk to health and public safety, yet some people are just not getting the message,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“Last week, we more than doubled fines for those who promote or attend a non-compliant gathering from $230 to $575, and we won’t hesitate to take further action if people continue to put safety at risk. I urge all British Columbians to keep a level head and say no to these kinds of events until we can get COVID-19 under control.”
The province continues, with the support of police and other enforcement officials, to use measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19, including issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the PHO’s orders.
On Nov. 24th, 2020, a mask enforcement order was introduced under the EPA, requiring masks for people over the age of 12 in public indoor settings, unless they are exempt.