West Kelowna RCMP and Kelowna RCMP tell Glacier Media they will be increasing patrols at Big White in an effort to address community concerns regarding the significant increase in COVID-19 cases and perceived lack of compliance with provincial Public Health Orders in the region.
“Due to concerns that have been brought to us by the community, we will be increasing our patrols and police presence in the area,” says Insp. Kent Lowe of the Kelowna RCMP.
“Our officers will be there to ensure public safety and will be taking necessary enforcement action.”
Big White is part of the Kelowna Rural jurisdiction, which is the responsibility of the West Kelowna RCMP who respond to complaints and conduct investigations as required.
RCMP officers also take part in a yearly ski patrol, and police have assigned additional patrols of the area during winter weekends and special events.
The news release from RCMP also states that, "due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases, RCMP will be making changes to the policing of the area."
“There is a unique situation occurring in the community of Big White. The RCMP will be there to assist the community in containing that situation and maintaining public safety,” says Supt. Kara Triance of the Kelowna RCMP.
“While we certainly can, and will enforce the provisions available to us under the COVID Related Measures Act, we continue to encourage everyone to voluntarily comply with the provincial health orders, so enforcement is not required.”
The holiday season is typically a busy time of year at Big White, and RCMP want people to know that they intend to issue tickets to anyone who engages in activities contrary to provincial Public Health Orders.
Under the current COVID-19 Related Measures Act, owners or organizers of events can face fines of $2,300.
Failure to wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces, failure to comply with directions of an enforcement officer, or abusive or belligerent behaviour can result in a fine of $230.