77 people fined, 1 man arrested after packed penthouse party in downtown Vancouver
Police handed out $17,000 in fines after dozens of unmasked people attended party
Seventy-seven people have been fined and a 42-year-old man has been arrested after Vancouver police shut down a makeshift nightclub at a Richards Street penthouse in downtown Vancouver.
Police issued $17,000 in fines early Sunday and said they found the 1,100-square-foot penthouse packed with people — in violation of current public health orders.
Police did not confirm charges against the 42-year-old on Sunday, but Mohammad Movassaghi was listed on court documents with two counts of failing to comply with the order of a health officer.
The penthouse operation appeared to be running as a nightclub and show lounge, police said, and featured menus, tables, point-of-sale terminals and cash tills.
No one inside the three-storey apartment was wearing a mask.
"Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the rules don't apply to them," Sgt. Steve Addison said in a written statement.
"If you are caught hosting or attending a party during the pandemic, and continue to break the rules, you could face stiff fines or wind up in jail."
While CBC News has not been able to speak with Movassaghi, he identifies himself on Facebook as the owner of the suite.
WATCH | Details from Sgt. Steve Addison and images of the penthouse building:
3rd party in 2 weeks
Vancouver police first launched an investigation last week after a witness called to report a large party inside a penthouse apartment near Richards Street and Georgia Street.
Police handed out numerous fines to a man who was allegedly working as a doorman. However, the party host refused to open the door and was defiant with police.
Officers returned early Sunday with a search warrant after two additional large parties were held this weekend.
Each party-goer was fined $230 for attending a non-compliant event. The party host was arrested under the Public Health Act and taken to jail, according to police.
British Columbia's COVID-19 restrictions ban gathering with anyone outside your household.
As of Friday, there were 4,557 active cases of the disease in the province, with 292 people in hospital, 74 of whom are in intensive care.
- A previous version of this story included a Canadian Press image identifying a person leaving a Vancouver police station. The Canadian Press has not independently verified who has been fined, and the CBC has removed the image.Jan 31, 2021 8:31 PM PT