Kamloops Mounties were kept busy last weekend trying to convince youths gathering at Pioneer Park to adhere to pandemic-related provincial health orders on crowd sizes.
The order limits outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people, with those same 10 people expected to be part of one’s social bubble.
Const. Crystal Evelyn said officers were called to Pioneer Park, just east of downtown, a number of times on April 23.
At 5:12 p.m., police were called to the park’s boat launch for a report of approximately 75 people who were gathering without wearing masks and without social distancing, Evelyn said officers arrived and found small groups of youths, noting no alcohol was observed.
A little more than an hour later, at 6:35 p.m., police were called again to the same location for a report of three large groups of people not wearing masks.
Evelyn said officers responded and found approximately 50 teenagers in the beach area, many of whom ran when police arrived.
Two hours later, at about 8:30 p.m., police were again called to the park, aided by city bylaws officers.
“Police and bylaw attended, causing the majority of kids to quickly leave,” Evelyn said. “Others waited for their parents to pick them up.”
Evelyn told KTW the detachment’s approach with COVID-19-related calls is to educate as much as possible before moving to enforcement.
“Police can use discretion,” she said, noting there has not been a large number of tickets issued for gatherings that have exceeded provincial health orders. “A lot of times, it’s resolved with one discussion.”