Thursday, March 25, 2021

Province to hike fines for COVID measures enforcement; reduce restrictions on Long Term Care visits

A pair of COVID related announcements were released by the British Columbia government today, the first a firm hand on enforcement themes from the Minister of Pubic Safety and Solicitor General, with Mike Farnworth outlining an increase in the level of fines for those who do not follow the measures put in place by Doctor Bonnie Henry the Provincial Health Office.

Effective immediately, an amendment to the Violation Ticket Administration and Fine Regulation raises the fine for promoting and for attending a non-compliant gathering or event from $230 to $575

The current fine for those who organize or host a prohibited event remains the same at $2,300. 

The Solicitor General outlined how the actions of a small minority of British Columbians have put the government in the position that they needed to reinforced the measures in place and provide for a level of enforcement fine that should catch our attention.

 “Over the last several months, it’s become clear that for some, the risk of a $230 violation ticket isn’t enough to deter attendance at events that violate the PHO order. I am disappointed that a small minority of British Columbians continue to put their health and the health of others at risk by attending unsafe gatherings. This selfish behaviour needs to stop, and police and provincial enforcement authorities will be able to issue these new fines immediately.”

A $230 fine will continue to apply to a range of COVID-19 violation measures, including failing to wear a mask and failing to abide by patron conditions. The province notes that the "increased fine aimed at non-compliant events reflects that this behaviour is generally more risky than other offences in the $230 category, but less egregious than the offences in the $2,300 category."

Background on the violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 behaviour can be reviewed here.

A loosening on COVID related visitation measures is set to
come to BC's Long term Care Facilities on April 1st 

And while the government may be tightening up on the regulations over gatherings and events, they have begun to loose the restrictions towards visiting long term care facilities in the province, announcing some changes to come as of April 1st.

“This pandemic has taken an incredible toll on people in long-term care and on their loved ones,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We are grateful for the sacrifices people living and working in long-term care and their families have made to keep one another safe. With vaccines bringing an important layer of protection for everyone in our province, it is a safe time to ease visitor restrictions and support safe social connections for people in long-term care.” -- Adrian Dix, Minister of health

Beginning April 1, all residents in long-term care and assisted living will be able to have frequent, routine opportunities for social visitation. Eased restrictions include: 

Removing the requirement for a single designated social visitor to allow for additional family and friends to visit long-term care and assisted living residents; 

Expanding the number of visitors so up to two visitors, plus a child, will be allowed to visit at a time, allowing people to connect in small groups; 

Changing the allowable location of visits so family and friends can visit in residents’ rooms without staff present; 

Allowing physical touch between visitors and residents, provided appropriate infection prevention and control measures, like masks and hand hygiene, are in place.

The changes come following an extensive vaccination campaign which started last month to ensure that residents and staff of Long Term Health Care Facilities in the province were among the first to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Still, the toll on lives in those facilities has been high in some communities, including Prince Rupert which suffered some of the largest losses of our elders and seniors at Acropolis Manor from January through to the end of February. 

The COVID-19 outbreak at Acropolis Manor was declared officially over on March 16th

More notes on the loosening of restrictions can be explored here.

Further items of interest from the Legislature can be reviewed here.

No comments:

Post a Comment