Card game, house party in B.C. Interior lead to nearly $3K in COVID-19 fines

·2 min read

Three people have been fined for hosting a house party and card game with friends in the B.C. Interior in spite of public health orders designed to prevent those gatherings in the province.

The house party happened at a home in Vernon, B.C. on Thursday. RCMP were called to the house around 11:30 p.m. PT and saw a group of around five to 10 people grouped together on the balcony, according to a statement Friday.

Mounties said the group disappeared inside the house once the officers starting walking over and refused to open the door.

Two people were eventually fined under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act (CRMA). RCMP did not specify how much they were fined.

Hours later, in Kamloops, B.C., another man was fined under the same act for hosting a card game with nine friends.

A statement from RCMP said officers found the group playing around a table at a house in the 1800 block of Hugh Allan Drive around 1 a.m. PT.

"There was no physical distancing, no masks and no sanitation stations were available," Const. Darren Michaels told CBC by phone.

Michaels said the homeowner, 37, was aware of the rules, but "very unco-operative" with police. He said the man was arrested for obstruction but released once the nine cardplayers had left.

The man was fined a total of $2,990 for breaking the gatherings and events order, failing to comply with a direction from an enforcement officer, promoting or encouraging attendance at a non-compliant gathering or event and for abusive or belligerent behaviour.

"They're significant," Michaels said of the fines.

"These new laws are put in place for a reason: to protect everybody. It's going to be a little inconvenient for everybody [to follow the guidelines], including us, but we're going to get through this," he added.