Victoria Police have issued a $2,300 violation ticket through new rules under the province’s COVID-19 Related Measures Act, that went into effect August 21, to penalize those in violation of pandemic safety rules.
In a statement released Saturday morning, VicPD say they attended an apartment unit in the 1000-block of Fort Street at around 10:30 p.m. Friday night, due to a loud party where lots of people had gathered.
Police say officers had learned that the resident had been planning a large party, and had attended the suite at 7 p.m. that night to warn them of COVID-19 safety protocols.
When police went back to the apartment at around 10:30 p.m., they found around 15 people had gathered in the one-bedroom suite.
They told the host to end the party as it was unsafe during the pandemic and was causing a disturbance. According to police, the host told officers he would cooperate.
Officers stayed in the area and continued to observe groups of people coming and going from the building.
When they went back to the suite, they found around 30 young people gathered in the suite, not practicing physical distancing.
“The room was densely populated, hot, and moisture had built up on the windows. Patrol officers believed approximately 40-60 people attended the party,” reads the statement from VicPD.
Police say the resident of the suite had also failed to keep track of all his guests’ contact information for contact tracing purposes in case it was found that any of them had contracted COVID-19.
The resident was served a violation for $2,300 under section 2 of the CRMA for contravention of the Provincial Health Officer Gathering and Events Order. A $300 victim surcharge levy was included in the $2,300 fine.
The authority to issue fines for large gatherings was issued by B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth on the afternoon of August 21.
“There is a small minority of selfish individuals across the province who are disregarding the public health measures in place,” said Farnworth.
“There is no excuse to disregard the responsibility we share to keep each other safe in this pandemic, and we’ve all seen it in the news or in our neighbourhoods.
Enough is enough.”