Kelowna RCMP didn't deal with many party boats on Okanagan Lake, despite residents concerns | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna RCMP didn't deal with many party boats on Okanagan Lake, despite residents concerns

July 27, 2020 - 5:18 PM

Concerns area residents had about young people congregating on party boats in Okanagan Lake weren't shared by area police.

While Kelowna has recently been considered the epicentre of B.C.'s surge of COVID-19 cases, and social media has been rife with complaints about errant behaviour and large groups gathering on the lake, the city's contingent of RCMP didn't see many issues this weekend.

"We didn't have any unusual or significant concerns with the weekend on the water. I know a lot of people on social media were concerned about COVID issues," Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy said in an email.

"Generally speaking, the RCMP will continue to monitor boats with respect to our normal legislative authorities ie. impairment, speed, safe operating procedures and equipment. With respect to non-compliance of Provincial Health orders, we will continue to focus on education. If a person has concerns related to COVID-19 non-compliance on a boat they should contact their Provincial Health Authority to report."

Cpl. Noseworthy said the B.C. Public Health Act does outline a number of powers and authorities, and the provincial health officer can request the assistance of a peace officer to enforce an order or carry out an inspection.

"As police officers, the RCMP can be called upon to assist with enforcement under the (Public Health Act), as can a number of other regulatory agencies, inspectors or law enforcement partners," she said. 

"Public safety is a priority for the RCMP and we encourage everyone to adhere to the orders which are being done to keep everyone safe and reduce the risks."

As of today, 78 cases in individuals from IH are currently linked to the Kelowna cluster. Of those, 12 additional cases from other jurisdictions are also linked to the cluster (Vancouver Coastal (5) and Fraser Health (7)). The total cases associated with the cluster is now 90 – investigations into recent cases are ongoing.

While Kelowna didn't see any notable increase in errant behaviour on the lake, there were a number of social media reports of people in the South Okanagan, specifically Osoyoos, partying on the lake.

A new order from B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will address how those situations can be dealt with going forward.

Henry's order on mass gatherings has been amended to limit the number of people in vacation accommodations, including for houses, cabins, yurts and boat rentals, as well as hotel rooms.

"The number of people is limited to the capacity of the space, plus up to a maximum of five visitors. For example, if the capacity of the accommodation is four people, the maximum number of visitors allowed is five, for a total of no more than nine people. It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure the order is adhered to by all guests and to ensure contact tracing information is collected for everyone - guests and visitors alike," Dr. Henry said.

There were 81 new cases from Saturday until today, July 27, including seven epi-linked cases, for a total of 3,500 cases in British Columbia.

There are 264 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 3,043 people who tested positive have recovered.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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