The City of Vancouver has launched a new online system that allows people to report violations of B.C.'s public health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you notice your neighbours throwing a raging house party or spot an impromptu mass gathering on the street, you can now let authorities know by submitting a "COVID-19 enforcement request." Requests can be submitted through the City's website, its VanConnect app, or by calling 311.
Officials continue to ask British Columbians to refrain from contacting 911 with reports of mass gatherings, as those lines are intended for emergency use only.
Looking to report an event or incident not following provincial health legislation? Report it to us via our VanConnect app or by calling 311. Please do not call 911 as those lines are for emergency situations. #covid19 https://t.co/pBQhMzlTVp pic.twitter.com/qTDLf2exU1— City of Vancouver (@CityofVancouver) August 21, 2020
The new, easy-to-use online enforcement system comes following B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth's announcement Friday authorizing police officers and provincial law enforcement officials to issue tickets or penalties to people and businesses violating public health orders related to the virus.
Owners and organizers responsible for the violations can face a $2,000 penalty, whereas attendees who do not disperse upon request by an official can be ticketed $200, said Farnworth, adding officials will use their “discretion” on assessing if orders are being broken.
Farnworth also empowered officials to ticket unruly customers of restaurants. Anyone declining to obey a restaurant’s guidelines or who “bullies” staff, can be ticketed for $200.
Those using the City's new system to report rule-breakers must include the address where the violation is taking place, as well as the type of violation, where it's taking place (i.e. city property, park or beach, business, residence or other private property) and when it was observed.
Under 'type of violation,' those reporting an infraction can classify it as:
- Abusive behaviour in business
- Abusive behaviour at events
- House party
- Gathering of 50+ people
- Lack of hand sanitation and washroom facilities
- Promotion of large gatherings and events
- Report too many people inside a business
The system also allows people to submit a photo of the violation with their request.
- With files from Graeme Wood