As the number of new COVID-19 cases surge in the province, the BC government has extended the state of emergency for an additional two weeks.

“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.

“I urge everyone to double down on their efforts to control the spread and continue to follow public safety guidelines.”

Last week, the BC government doubled fines for people breaking the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place for social gatherings.

Fines were increased from $230 to $575 for those who promote or attend a non-compliant gathering. The $2,300 fine for organizers or hosts of events remains the same.

A $230 fine will continue to apply to a range of COVID-19 violation measures, including failing to wear a mask and failing to abide by patron conditions.

“Over the last several months, it’s become clear that for some, the risk of a $230 violation ticket isn’t enough to deter attendance at events that violate the PHO order,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“This selfish behaviour needs to stop, and police and provincial enforcement authorities will be able to issue these new fines immediately.”

1,570 violations have been issued between August 21st, 2020, and March 26th, 2021.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • 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.

To help curve the rising number of new cases, the province also released a new list of restrictions set to expire April 19th.

Premier John Horgan addressed the age cohort between 20-39 who have not been listening to COVID safety measures.

“Do not blow this for the rest of us,” he said in frustration.

As of yesterday, there are 7,062 active cases, 333 of which are on Vancouver Island, and 170 of which are on the southern island.

Saanich Police issued two separate fines over the weekend for indoor gatherings they say violated current Provincial Health Orders.

Each homeowner was fined $2,300 for being in contravention of provincial health orders.

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