Victoria police issued $2,530 worth of tickets to house parties Saturday evening.
VicPD Chief Del Manak tweeted Sunday that two separate COVID-19 tickets were issued after two separate calls for house parties – with one party receiving $2,300 worth of fines and the other receiving a $230 fine.
Manak wrote that hosts lied to police about who they were, the number of guests, and hid people in bedrooms and closets.
“Best tip, don’t host a party in the first place,” he wrote.
Police responded to the first party shortly after 11 p.m. after receiving reports of a loud party in a multi-unit residential building in the 100-block of South Turner Street.
There, a resident of the suite told officers there were four people inside and only two were not members of the household. VicPD said police were then given permission to enter and then found one man hiding in a bedroom – on the floor at the end of a bed – and another man hiding in a closet.
With four people from outside the household inside, the hosts had contravened the province’s Gathering and Events Order. The hosts were served a $2,300-ticket under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act and all non-residents were ordered to leave.
Just a few hours later, at around 12:30 a.m., police were called to another report of a loud party in a suite in a multi-unit residential building in the 1400-block of Hillside Avenue. When police arrived they saw that the suite’s windows were “fogged with condensation” and they could hear loud music and people yelling.
Police spoke with hosts and were told that there were five guests who were not residents. According to police, masks were not being worn and physical distancing was not taking place. The host was served a $230-violation ticket for a non-compliant gathering.
Currently, the provincial health officer’s Gathering and Events Order bans gatherings that include any outside individuals regardless of whether the people work together or are inside the same “bubble.”
In August, the B.C. government announced that fines of up $2,000 could be issued to people who organize unsafe gatherings or ignore provincial health orders related to mass gatherings or events, including party buses and limousines.
The fines can be applied to organizers of private parties or gatherings of more than 50 people, but events with less than 50 people in attendance can still be subject to fines if people don’t have enough space to maintain two metres of physical distancing or if a gathering is held at an accommodation rental site with more than five guests in attendance.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has said that in cases of “particularly egregious contraventions” or repeat offences, police can recommend charges.
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