People continue to gather at English Bay despite social distancing rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. (Gerry Green/Twitter)

Vancouver businesses not obeying COVID-19 rules to get hit with fines of up to $50K

Closing all city parks is ‘not contemplated’ at this point, officials say

British Columbia’s biggest city will now fine businesses if they don’t obey new COVID-19 rules.

Vancouver city council voted to impose fines of up to $50,000 on businesses that don’t obey civic and provincial rules to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The announcement, originally made by Vancouver Mayor Stewart Kennedy on Sunday, is one of the biggest enforcement moves by a city in B.C. – as pictures of #COVIDIOTS, or people not following socially distancing guidelines, flood social media.

“The time of asking nicely is coming to an end,” Kennedy said. The press conference Sunday comes as at least 426 have tested positive for the coronavirus and 10 have died.

“We’re all collectively shaking our heads” at people who have continued to gather in large groups at the city’s parks and beaches.

City manager Sadhu Aufochs Johnston said these measures would only apply to businesses for now.

“We’re not at this point ticketing people for being in groups,” he said.

The Vancouver Park Board’s general manager, Malcolm Bromley, said closing all city parks is “not contemplated” at this point.

Vancouver has put in stringent rules to encourage social distancing. It closed all bars and lounges for St. Patrick’s Day before the province issued a similar order and closed all recreational facilities and parking at the city’s parks.

Vancouver is the biggest city to bring in such enforcement rules but it’s not the first. Delta said Saturday that bylaw officers would be checking on businesses to make sure they were in compliance.

READ MORE: Delta bylaw inspectors enforcing provincial health officer’s orders


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