Over the past few days, multiple social media event pages have cropped up, advertising a variety of Halloween events happening this Saturday.
One of these events claims to be an ‘Official Mega Party’, another is an ‘Ultimate Paint Experience’, and a third claims to offer an ‘Ultimate Foam Experience’.
These event pages have been circulating on Facebook and say there will be over 5,000 people in attendance at each gathering.
This claim is in direct contravention with current provincial health orders that prohibit parties and gatherings of more than 50 people. Recently, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, Dr. Bonnie Henry has also instated a new order restricting private gatherings to six people outside of the immediate household.
Given that B.C. is currently in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic, event pages advertising large gatherings with thousands of people could be alarming at first glance.
However Victoria Police say they are aware of these event pages, and that they could be created by fake or spam profiles.
“Some signs of fake profiles include the use of the stock images for the events. Neither the foam party nor the house images are from Victoria locations,” said VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko in an email to Victoria Buzz.
“Most local event organizers will create a poster with a date, time, location and cost for the event. The ‘discussion’ portion of the event is closed, which does not allow potential attendees to get additional information.”
The event page also asks people to ‘like’ another page and share personal information as part of a contest entry, indicating that the real motive behind the “events” are fake accounts attempting to gather people’s personal information.
The three event pages mentioned earlier were created by two accounts, both of which were created on the same day: April 8, 2020.
Nevertheless, Osoko says police have reached out to the organizers of the events and reported their profiles to Facebook. The profiles have not yet responded to VicPD’s requests to connect.
“We are reminding all people who are attending Halloween festivities of the relevant Provincial Health orders that they need to be aware of,” said Osoko.
“We’re also really hoping that people think about the risks that COVID-19 present this year and make decisions accordingly.”
Anyone who hosts a large gathering during the pandemic is subject to receive fines of up to $2,000.
Enforcement officers can also issue $200 violation tickets to anyone actively encouraging gatherings or events, or refusing to leave when asked to do so.