Fines not always required for COVID rule-breaking gatherings: Interior Health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Fines not always required for COVID rule-breaking gatherings: Interior Health

FILE PHOTO - Interior Health is still looking into who may or may not be fined after a number of events were held illegally over the past week in the region. One was a houseboat party in Kelowna and another was a barrel race in Kamloops, both held during the Easter long weekend.
Image Credit: PIXABAY
April 09, 2021 - 3:09 PM

Interior Health is still looking into who may or may not be fined after a number of events were held illegally over the past week in the region.

One was a houseboat party in Kelowna and another was a barrel race in Kamloops, both held during the Easter long weekend.

“With the houseboat operator, we’re still busy working with the operator,” Dr. Albert de Villiers, Interior Health’s chief medical health officer, said during a news briefing today, April 9. 

“It’s usually a process. We usually ask them to shut down voluntarily, which they actually did afterwards, and now we’re just busily going through the process of looking at options as to how to enforce them (rules). Sometimes it’s a fine and sometimes there are other things we can do as well to make sure they get the message and keep on following the orders.”

Key to whether tickets are issued is the matter of intent.

“It’s either you are deliberately doing this or maybe you just had a misunderstanding,” Dr. de Villiers said. “If it was a misunderstanding, sometimes you let people off with a warning. If it was a blatant: ‘Yes, we’re trying to push the limits and not following orders specifically,’ at that point we consider giving a fine instead.”

For the barrel race event in Kamloops, it appears it was a misunderstanding of the rules and the event was stopped as soon as the operator was told, Dr. de Villiers said.

It attracted participants from outside the Interior Health region but, as of yet, there has been no “increased disease” from the event, he said.

What may turn out to be a more blatant flouting of the rules are rallies being held in the region by People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, in part, to protest COVID lockdowns.

“We have been made aware of this and we are keeping a close eye on it as well and there are currently some orders that prohibit these things so, if the rules get broken they will eventually deal with that,” Dr. de Villiers said.

READ MORE: Interior Health 'keeping a close eye' on Maxime Bernier's tour


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