Surrey wedding host, restaurant owner, northern B.C. church fined for breaking COVID-19 orders

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RCMP say most of the fines were issued over large gatherings, including a $2,300 fine for the host of a wedding where 22 people were in attendance. (David Bell/CBC - image credit)
RCMP say most of the fines were issued over large gatherings, including a $2,300 fine for the host of a wedding where 22 people were in attendance. (David Bell/CBC - image credit)

Nearly $17,000 in fines have been handed out by RCMP in Surrey, B.C., in the last week to a growing number of people who police say are ignoring COVID-19 health orders.

RCMP said in a statement that most of the fines were issued over large gatherings, including a $2,300 fine for the host of a wedding where 22 people attended against the provincial health officer's orders.

Sgt. Tyler Wickware, with Surrey RCMP's COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team, says officers have seen the number of people and businesses ignoring the health orders "creeping up."

Mounties say the majority of the fines announced Wednesday stem from large gatherings, with officers going to five separate homes between April 7 and April 11 to issue fines.

Other fines went to a restaurant owner who violated dining-in restrictions and to a man who refused to wear a mask inside a business.

Wickware says the sunny weather can make it very inviting to gather with others, but public health orders remain in place limiting those gatherings, even outdoors.

Fort St. John church fined

RCMP in Fort St. John, B.C., have slapped the leader of a Mennonite church in the Peace Region with a $2,300 fine following an investigation into reports of a large indoor Easter Sunday service gathering.

In a statement Wednesday, RCMP said a local media outlet provided police with a video allegedly showing more than 150 people coming out of the Old Colony Mennonite Church in Prespatou, B.C., on April 4.

The town is located about 75 kilometres north of Fort St. John.

The video shows the church, its parking lot full of vehicles, with people exiting the building not wearing personal protective masks, the statement said.

The pastor was issued a violation ticket totalling $2,300, for organizing a non-compliant event contrary to Section 4(1) of the Emergency Program Act, RCMP said.