Changes clarify emergency orders in BC

Province is fine-tuning compliance and enforcement provisions

Changes to orders regarding face coverings, gatherings and events, and food and liquor serving premises are designed to provide greater clarity and certainty for enforcement officers and violators who are ticketed in BC.

The orders fall under the Emergency Program Act. Changes simplify the language and make the orders, and what constitutes a contravention, easier to understand, according to a Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General media release.

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The intent of the orders remains unchanged and will continue to allow violation tickets to be issued to non-compliant persons, owners and operators, and hosts to ensure public safety and alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the release. Changes include:

- More clarity around the specific prohibitions found in public health orders for gatherings and events and for food and liquor serving premises; and

- An amended face coverings order, with an additional exemption for persons who need to remove a face covering to communicate with a person who is hearing impaired. No other substantive policy changes have been made.

The ministry is reminding British Columbians that under current public health orders, police and provincial enforcement officers can issue:

- $2,300 tickets to hosts/organizers who do not comply with the provincial health officer's (PHO) orders;

- $230 tickets to patrons/attendees who do not comply with the PHO orders;

- $230 tickets for contravening the face coverings order; and

- $230 tickets for abusive or belligerent behaviour and/or for refusing to comply with the direction of enforcement officers.

In addition, courts can impose penalties of up to $10,000 and/or up to one-year imprisonment for egregious offences.

For information on all recent orders and guidance, as well as general COVID-19 information for all British Columbians, go to gov.bc.ca/covid19.

 
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