COVID-19 protestors in Kelowna who flout public health orders could face fines: Mayor Basran | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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COVID-19 protestors in Kelowna who flout public health orders could face fines: Mayor Basran

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran
Image Credit: YOUTUBE
January 08, 2021 - 4:46 PM

Kelowna city council is urging people planning to gather in the city tomorrow to protest the government's actions in the pandemic to "respect their fellow citizens" by masking up and keeping a safe social distance from each other.

Police and bylaw officers in Kelowna have responded to almost 1,000 complaints since April about people not following COVID-19 rules, according to a City of Kelowna media release issued today, Jan. 8. Officers are authorized to issue fines to event organizers of $2,300 and fines of $230 to individuals.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran expressed particular concern about people gathering each Saturday to protest orders issued by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“Having just confirmed that another protest is planned for tomorrow by those who oppose public health orders, my Council colleagues and I once again urge protesters to respect their fellow citizens by wearing masks and keeping a safe physical distance from each other,” he said in the release.

“Individual rights and freedoms are fundamental to our democracy, but they are only possible within parameters established by the democratic process. We cannot travel the wrong way down a one-way street because we have a selfish wish to get somewhere faster. These parameters of shared ideals prioritize our collective needs over individual wishes.”

While the vast majority of residents are following the rules, Basran expressed his frustration with those who flout them.

“RCMP are vigilantly educating and proactively dissuading organizers of rallies and large group gatherings,” he said, noting the RCMP have to find the balance between the right to peacefully protest and public safety during “what can be a dynamic and potentially volatile situation.”

Lives are being put at risk by such protests and there is a danger that the health care system will become overwhelmed if the spread of COVID-19 isn’t kept in check, he said.

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