British Columbia

'Just not exercising good judgment': Police chief frustrated as weekend parties ignore physical distancing

Victoria police say they were called to several parties and gatherings this weekend despite public health officials urging people to maintain physical distance to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Officers responded to several gatherings in Victoria

Two people take in the view over Victoria Harbour. Public health officials are imploring British Columbians to physically distance from one another in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

Victoria Police Chief Const. Del Manak says he's frustrated with the number of calls officers received on the weekend to deal with parties and gatherings despite public health orders for physical distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

On Saturday, for example, the department received nine noise complaints, which Manak described as a "significant amount" and more than they typically received before the pandemic.

"We're putting our own officers and the community at risk when we're unnecessarily having to respond to calls that we actually shouldn't even respond to," Manak said.  

"People know better ... they're just not exercising good judgment."

What good physical distancing looks like:

(CBC News)

The homeowners officers spoke to were usually co-operative, Manak said, but some of them claimed since they had isolated themselves all week long, they figured it would be OK to have a few friends over for the weekend. 

"I get it. It's not easy and it's not fun to sit at home when we want to hang out with our friends … [but] you can't just let loose on the weekend and feel like you're doing your part," Manak said. "You have to be all in, especially during this time, when it's so critical." 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix show one way to measure proper physical distancing:

"Fingertip to fingertip" a good way to measure social distancing

2 years ago
Dr. Bonnie Henry shows how to practise physical distancing. 0:40

Manak said he would prefer to use stricter measures and possible sanctions as a last resort. 

"I just think that most of our communities recognize that this is a global public health emergency. This is serious. What we do today makes a difference ... We owe it to our doctors and nurses."

Listen to the interview with Chief Const. Del Manak here:

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at  

With files from All Points West


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