Surrey RCMP: Abiding by public health orders is your gift to community

THIS weekend is the last weekend before Christmas and traditionally it is a busy weekend full of holiday celebrations and parties and Surrey RCMP are encouraging everyone to abide by current provincial public health orders – and reminding rule breakers of the consequences of defying those orders.

“We are not asking anyone to cancel Christmas,” said Corporal Joanie Sidhu, Media Relations Officer, on Friday. “What we are asking is that your celebrations this year are in line with our collective effort to end the pandemic.”

Current provincial public health orders have placed restrictions on gatherings –even within private residences. Event organizers are subject to a $2,300 fine and anyone attending an event is subject to a fine of $230. This applies to dinner parties and cocktail parties, 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 establishments that serve food and liquor can receive violation tickets and fines of $2,300 for not abiding by provincial public health orders related to their businesses.

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, says the RCMP.

Masks are required in public indoor settings. Individuals are subject to a $230 violation ticket if they do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless they are exempt. 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.

“COVID fatigue is real. No one is happy about having to stray from annual traditions and family customs,” said Sidhu. “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.”

More information on province-wide COVID-19 restrictions can be found on this provincial government webpage.

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.