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West Van man fined $2,300 under COVID rules for after-hours get-together

Police question claim of business being conducted given late hour, drunkenness and loud music reported
West Van police officers issued the host of an after-hours social event at a local business a $2,300 fine.

A West Vancouver man has been fined $2,300 for hosting a loud get together in his place of business after hours, contrary to COVID-19 laws restricting all gatherings.

West Vancouver police officers responded to a complaint of loud music and voices coming from a ground-level business in the 1400-block of Clyde Avenue around 11:20 p.m. on the evening of Friday, Jan. 8.

When officers arrived, they found three men – at least two of them significantly intoxicated - standing outside the premises, said Const. Kevin Goodmurphy, spokesman for the West Vancouver Police. “It ultimately led to them being quite belligerent.”

When questioned by police “they were quick to say it wasn’t a party,” said Goodmurphy.

However the door of the office was propped open and officers could hear voices of other people inside.

One of the men outside told police the other two were his clients, but refused to provide any other information, including how many people were still inside.

Goodmurphy added officers thought it unlikely any legitimate business was taking place inside given “it was almost midnight”, the level of drunkenness apparent and reports of loud music being played.

Host uncooperative with police

The 40-year-old host of the get-together, a man associated with the business, refused to co-operate with police, said Goodmurphy, telling officers they couldn’t enter the premises and refusing to tell his guests to leave.

He was issued a $2,300 fine and soon after decided to leave the vicinity without shutting down his event.

Goodmurphy said the authority of police to enter private businesses and residences under the new COVID-19 laws wasn’t clear so officers opted to wait in the vicinity until guests left of their own accord. One group of people left at about 12:30 and a further two people left at around 2:45 a.m., said Goodmurphy.

“This seems to be a situation where the attendees thought because they were in business together, that they were not subject to the restrictions as set out in the provincial gatherings and events order,” banning social gatherings, said Goodmurphy. That isn’t the case, he said.

Goodmurphy declined to identify the business involved.

Since March 1, West Vancouver Police have issued eight tickets under the COVID-related Measures Act and 10 tickets under the Quarantine Act.

Around the province, in the last six months, 574 violation tickets have been issued in B.C. for contraventions of COVID-related public health orders.

That includes 103 $2,300 tickets given to owners of businesses or organizers of events that defied orders restricting gatherings, and 21 $2,300 violation tickets for contravention of the food and liquor serving premises order, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Safety.

Another 450 $230 tickets were issued to individuals who refused to comply with direction from law enforcement, while 77 violation tickets worth a combined $85,000 have been handed out by police to individuals in contravention of the federal Quarantine Act.

– with files from the Times Colonist