If you knew your neighbours were hosting a gathering of people from outside their immediate household, in contravention of B.C.’s current COVID-19 guidelines, would you report them to the authorities? (Unsplash photo)

If you knew your neighbours were hosting a gathering of people from outside their immediate household, in contravention of B.C.’s current COVID-19 guidelines, would you report them to the authorities? (Unsplash photo)

Pandemic

RCMP reminds Surrey residents to abide by COVID health orders for Christmas

Police say following the rules is your gift to the community

Surrey RCMP says abiding by the public health orders for the COVID-19 pandemic is your Christmas gift to the community.

Corporal Joanie Sidhu said RCMP is “not asking anyone to cancel Christmas,” but to make sure celebrations are “in line iwth our collective effort to end the pandemic.”

The current provincial public health orders include restrictions on gatherings, including in private residences.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: B.C. imposes $2,000 fines for uncontrolled party organizers, Aug. 21, 2020

READ ALSO: Surrey’s COVID-19 compliance team issues 11 tickets so far for November, Nov. 21, 2020

Surrey RCMP said event organizers are subject to a $2,300-fine, and anyone attending an event is subject to a $230-fine.

“This applies to dinner parties and cocktail parties,” explains the release, “including with extended family and close friends – even if it’s just a few. One common misconception is that gatherings are still allowed in yards, on decks, or in residential garages.

“This is incorrect.”

Owners and operators of businesses that serve food and alcohol can also receive violation ticket and fines of $2,300 for not abiding by the orders related to their business.

Meantime, Surrey RCMP said faith-based institutions remain open for “personal contemplation and limited food service.”

“Given that so many of the holidays in December mark significant religious events, we understand that it has been upsetting to many to have in-person worship services suspended and appreciate the efforts of community members who have shifted their practices to help keep our community safe,” according to police.

Masks are required in public indoor settings, and people are subject to a $230-violation ticket if they don’t wear a mask. “unless they are exempt.”

Police added that a fine can also be issued “for anyone refusing to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space, or to those who engage in abusive or belligerent behavior.”

Sidhu said “COVID fatigue is real.”

“No one is happy about having to stray from annual traditions and family customs,” she said.

“The reality is that each of us has a role to play in ending the pandemic, and abiding by public health orders can be your holiday gift to the community. For those who selfishly choose to ignore the rules, we have violation tickets waiting to be issued.”

For more information on province-wide COVID-19 restrictions, click here.

Anyone who would like to report a concern regarding contravention of provincial public health orders in Surrey can call the COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team: 604-591-4370 or 604-599-0502.

READ ALSO: Surrey sets up joint COVID-19 team for enforcement, complaints, March 27, 2020

READ ALSO: RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours, Sept. 22, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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