RCMP file photo

No tickets issued yet for violating COVID health orders

But officers are explaining the rules to people

Houston RCMP officers haven’t had to issue any tickets for people violating COVID-19 public health orders but have been spending time explaining them.

“The detachment has had a few calls, not a large number,” says Houston RCMP detachment commanding officer Mark Smaill.

“Mostly the members are providing education. For the most part, people are doing their best. Some aren’t aware of the rules.”

Members haven’t responded to any house parties but there have been a few family gatherings that have caused attention.

“There was a situation where someone refused to wear a mask but that person elected to leave by the time we arrived,” Smaill added of a call from a business.

He did say there’s been an increased awareness of people in the area as positive case numbers have started to climb in the northwest in the past several weeks.

Officers are still going out with Northern Health psychiatric nurses to check on the well-being of individuals who, because of the virus, are spending more time alone and isolated.

Positive test numbers began to rise even before Dr. Bonnie Henry extended enhanced restrictions on wearing masks and banning gatherings past the Christmas season.

Individuals not wearing masks in public indoor settings can be subject to a $230 fine unless they are exempt for a medical or other reason.

A $200 fine can be issued to people encouraging others to attend a gathering or event even though the event does not comply with a public health order.

And a $2,000 fine can be issued to a person who has organized an event that’s not permitted.