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City of Prince George has received more than 100 COVID-19 calls, B.C. aware of close to 15 violation tickets given provincially

Police, bylaw authorities were given permission to issue penalties as of Aug. 21
City of Prince George Bylaw Officers. (via City of Prince George)

The City of Prince George and the B.C. government have been quite active since authorities were given permission to penalize those breaking COVID-19 orders. 

On Aug. 21, the province announced it was giving police and bylaw authorities the right to issue up to $2,000 in penalties of those hosting or attending large events and gatherings. 

Another $200 can be issued to anyone that refuses to leave a party or follow safe operating plans at establishments like restaurants. 

The $2,000 tickets can be issued to organizers of events or owners of properties that facilitate large gatherings of more than 50 people. Not keeping a list and contact information of event attendees, or hosting more than five guests in a vacation rental will also incur the $2,000 fine.

Anyone who refuses to follow business guidelines, or engages in “bullying or abusive” behaviour towards employees, can also be fined $200.

The City of Prince George says it's received 122 COVID-19 related calls to the bylaw department as of Friday (Sept. 11). 

Spokesperson Michael Kellett tells PrinceGeorgeMatters the majority of calls were received between mid-March and mid-May. 

"Since then we have received relatively few – perhaps one or two per week," he explained. 

Kellett said any information on specifics on tickets, amounts or further details could not be released by the city. 

“There is a small minority of selfish individuals across the province who are disregarding the public health measures in place,” Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said following B.C.'s announcement on COVID-19 fines. 

“Enough is enough.”

His ministry tells PrinceGeorgeMatters in an email, it's aware of 14 tickets issued between Aug. 21 and Sept. 7. 

Four tickets alone were written between Aug. 29 and Sept. 4. 

No regional breakdown is currently available as of this publication (Sept. 15), including locations and penalty amounts, as an individual has 30 days to dispute or pay fine, the ministry explains.

"An individual who receives a violation ticket has 30 days to dispute the ticket or pay the fine and as a result, we’re unable to comment on the status of tickets paid to date," an email statement reads. 

On Sept. 1, the government announced 10 tickets had been issued between Aug. 21 and 28, including six $2,000 fines and four $200 violations for those not following rules of police and/or event staff. 

PrinceGeorgeMatters has also reached out to Northern Health on this subject, but has not received a response. 

- with files from Kyle Balzer, PrinceGeorgeMatters, Colin Dacre, Castanet, and Graeme Wood, Glacier Media

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