B.C. has had enough. On Friday, August 21, Minister Of Public Safety, Mike Farnworth, announced in a B.C. COVID-19 update, saying that they'll be increasing enforcement when it comes to large gatherings and parties. Therefore, police can now dish out fines of $2,000 to those caught organizing large gatherings. 

Farnworth discussed the large parties and gatherings that have been taking place in B.C., many of which have led to COVID-19 exposures.

"These irresponsible actions are putting our most vulnerable at risk," he said in the press conference. 

"That's why, effective immediately, the province is enabling police and other enforcement officers to issue $2,000 violation tickets," said the minister. 

He elaborated by saying that these $2,000 tickets will be handed out to owners or organizers for refusing to follow the orders given by the provincial health officer in terms of gatherings and events. 

"This includes violations such as hosting or organizing a gathering or event in excess of 50 people," he said. 

The fines will also apply to people who don't carry contact information of people that attend the event or even those who host more than five guests at an Airbnb or vacation rental. 

"To be clear, just because your party has less than 50 people does not make it legal," said Farnworth. "You must follow all guidelines." 

In addition to the tickets that will be handed out to the organizers of parties, Farnworth said that the province will also take action against "problematic attendees."

"Police will be able to issue $200 violation tickets for anyone actively encouraging large gatherings or events, or refusing to leave or disperse when directed to do so," he said.

The public safety minister also said that tickets will be issued to people who refuse to follow safety plans outlined by businesses or anyone who engages in "bullying" against employees of said business.

As Farnworth clarified, "If you're asked to leave a gathering, leave. Don't yell at the waiter who asked you not to push the tables together at a restaurant."

He also said that the enforcement efforts will be carried out not just by the police but by staff from various ministries.

"If you're hosting a large penthouse party, organizing a street gathering or a drum circle on the beach, we will be watching," he said.

Though the minister said there have been "selfish individuals" trying to break the rules, he also acknowledged a "vast majority" of British Columbians are doing a great job in trying to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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