Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is calling out a group of “poker grinches” whose gathering of 10 people was disbanded by police on Nov. 14 because he worries their behaviour could ruin the holiday season for all. (Pixabay)

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is calling out a group of “poker grinches” whose gathering of 10 people was disbanded by police on Nov. 14 because he worries their behaviour could ruin the holiday season for all. (Pixabay)

Island mayor worries ‘poker grinches’ will steal holiday season

Police break up poker game for pandemic violations, issue $2,300 ticket

After Saanich police broke up a gathering of 10 “poker grinches” violating public health orders on Saturday, Mayor Fred Haynes is calling for more responsible behaviour to save the holiday season.

Haynes was disappointed to hear police had to break up a poker game of more than six players at a residence in Broadmead over the weekend. Officers attended the home on Nov. 14 – the second time at the same residence since October – to disband the gathering.

Police issued a COVID-19 Related Measures Act violation ticket for $2,300 to the host of the poker game for having more than six guests gather in a private residence.

READ ALSO: Saanich homeowner fined $2,300 for poker game with 10 guests

READ ALSO: Christmas will be different even if Santa is ‘probably’ immune to COVID

“It is shocking to me that after a previous warning by the police” the homeowner chose to host a poker game with 10 guests, Haynes said. “This is unacceptable behaviour.”

Not only are these “irresponsible” gatherings “a drain on [police] resources,” but they also potentially expose officers to COVID-19, Haynes said.

He figures the $2,300 fine isn’t enough and that guests who choose to attend gathering should be fined as well.

Haynes worries the people who ignore public health orders “will be the grinches that wreck Christmas,” noting the Island has lower coronavirus case numbers as a result of careful behaviour.

The best Christmas gift, he feels, would be getting the COVID-19 numbers down to zero so residents have a chance to see a small number of family members over the holidays.

Haynes advises against unsafe gatherings as a way to get case numbers down for the holidays, but he also emphasized the importance of taking other precautions such as wearing masks when shopping indoors and ordering online when possible.

The mayor recommends those who don’t want to comply with mask policies avoid going inside businesses because it puts staff and other customers at risk. He admitted that he too is “fed up” with COVID-19 and related restrictions, but noted that they’re “the reality we’re working with.”

Not only is it considerate to others, but it may just save Christmas, Haynes said.

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