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Province Expanding Ticketing to Food and Liquor Serving Premises and Gatherings and Events – Re COVID

Victoria – Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is aligning the Province’s ticketing measures with the provincial health officer’s (PHO) updated orders on Food and Liquor Serving Premises and Gatherings and Events, giving police and other provincial enforcement officers the ability to issue violation tickets for contraventions.

All ticketing measures previously announced on August 21, 2020, to enforce COVID-19 public safety at gatherings and events will remain in effect and will be expanded. Effective immediately, the measures are enacted under the provincial state of emergency, using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act (EPA) in ongoing support of B.C.’s COVID-19 response and economic recovery plan.

If violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, or in cases of particularly egregious contraventions or for repeat offenders, police can recommend charges in relation to the offence.

In addition to previously announced ticketing measures on gatherings and events, the measures announced today include the following provisions, which are also subject to ticketing and enforcement:

  • The holding of any event in a banquet hall is prohibited.
  • Nightclubs must cease operating as nightclubs.
  • Background music or other background sounds, such as from televisions, must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation.
  • Liquor sales for onsite consumption must cease by 10 p.m.
  • Unless a full meal service is provided, premises must close by 11 p.m. and all patrons must vacate the premises. If a full meal service is provided, premises may stay open, but liquor must not be served until 11 a.m. the following day.
  • Liquor must not be consumed on premises by owners, operators or staff after 11 p.m.
  • Liquor service at private events must cease at 10 p.m.
  • If food or liquor serving premises hold private events, like wedding receptions, the same rules that hotels and other venues must follow apply to these premises. 

The enforcement focus will continue to be on $2,000 fines to owners, operators and organizers for contraventions of the PHO’s orders. Individual patrons may be levied with $200 fines.

In addition to enabling action from police, the Province is enlisting compliance and enforcement staff from provincial ministries to support enforcement and help issue tickets. This includes liquor, cannabis and gaming inspectors, community safety unit inspectors, and conservation officers.

Violation tickets expand the Province’s compliance and enforcement toolkit to support the COVID-19 response. Police and other provincial compliance and enforcement officers will independently exercise discretion to issue tickets for EPA order violations under the Offence Act’s Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation (VTAFR).

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Lorne Oss

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