British Columbia

Victoria party host fined $2,300 for COVID-19 safety violations

Victoria police say 30 party-goers crammed into a one-bedroom suite were not practising physical distancing and the host failed to collect attendee's contact information.

Victoria police say they observed about 30 people crowded into a 1-bedroom suite

A Victoria party host has been fined $2,300 for violations under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act. (Shutterstock / DisobeyArt)

A Victoria party host was fined $2,300 Friday night in what could be the first penalty levied under the just-announced COVID-19 sanctions for unsafe gatherings. 

Victoria police say after hearing about plans for a large party, officers attended a one-bedroom suite in the 1000-block of Fort Street at approximately 7 p.m. to inform the resident of the COVID-19 safety regulations.

They returned to the building at 10:30 p.m. and observed approximately 15 people inside the suite. The host was warned the party was considered unsafe and he replied that he would cooperate.

However, police say groups of people continued to come and go from the building, and when officers returned to the suite for a third time, they found it crammed with approximately 30 party-goers who were not practising physical distancing.

"The room was densely populated, hot, and moisture had built up on the windows," reads the release from the Victoria Police Department. "Many of the party attendees were youth."

Police say the host failed to document guests and their contact information, which is required for the purposes of tracing should any attendees contract COVID-19.

The host was fined $2,000 for violation of the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, and an additional $300 victim surcharge.

Police believe as many as 60 people attended the party throughout the evening. 

On Friday morning the province announced police and other law enforcement bodies have authority to issue fines of up to $2,000 to people who host large events that violate public health orders during the pandemic.

Individuals can now also be fined $200 for refusing to follow business safety plans, or for engaging in abusive or bullying behaviour toward employees trying to implement them.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said stricter enforcement was needed because a small number of British Columbians were disregarding public health measures and increasing the potential for coronavirus transmission.

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