Less than a week after Kamloops Mounties were called to a music festival outside of the city that attracted hundreds of people — contrary to pandemic-related provincial health orders on gatherings — the government has hiked fines for such actions.
Effective immediately, fines for promoting and for attending a non-compliant gathering or event have been increased to $575 from $230. The current fine for those who organize or host a prohibited event remains the same, at $2,300.
"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," Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General said Mike Farnworth said. "I am disappointed that a small minority of British Columbians continue to put their health and the health of others at risk by attending unsafe gatherings. This selfish behaviour needs to stop and police and provincial enforcement authorities will be able to issue these new fines immediately."
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. Farnworth said the increased fine aimed at non-compliant events reflects that such behaviour is generally more risky than other offences in the $230 category, but less egregious than the offences in the $2,300 category.
The specifics around orders of the provincial health officer, including the number of people allowed at gatherings, will continue to be set at the direction of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Since the health orders were implemented, more than 1,500 fines have been issued, with an estimated 10 per cent being paid.
Kamloops Mounties continue their efforts in tracking down the organizer or organizers of a gathering in Criss Creek west of Kamloops on March 19, which attracted a couple of hundred people for a music festival and campout. The event featured a small stage-like structure was set up and loud music was playing, according to police.