Health Minister Adrian Dix says the B.C. government will announce stricter penalties this week for those who flout public health rules as COVID-19 cases climb in the province. Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VIDEO: B.C. set to unveil new measures to enforce COVID-19 rules, Dix says

Dix said ministries are meeting to map out a more ‘comprehensive approach to increase enforcement’

The province’s health minister said British Columbians can expect to see new penalties for behaviour that could lead to the transmission of COVID-19.

At a press conference Monday (Aug. 17), Health Minister Adrian Dix said the government was discussing new enforcement measures he said would come into effect later this week. The announcement is expected to be made by Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

“We are continuing to see what can be done about those [private parties],” he said.

“We cannot let a few wreck it for everybody else and that is the reason action is being taken.”

Dix said ministries are meeting to map out a more “comprehensive approach to increase enforcement,” which could involve police officers, bylaw officers, health authorities and WorkSafeBC. He said that this past weekend, Lower Mainland health authorities visited 128 banquet halls over concerns of too many people present, with six raising red flags.

The health minister’s words came as B.C. recorded a near record-high number of cases the first day of the weekend, with 100 new cases Friday to Saturday, another 88 Saturday to Sunday and 48 more as of Monday. The province has 743 active cases, with four in hospital, three of whom are in ICU.

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson urged British Columbians to continue to be careful, despite low hospitalization numbers.

“You may feel that things are looking good… but it is also important to remember that there are hundreds of people with COVID-19 and hundreds more are self-isolation,” Gustafson. “For our elders and those with underlying health conditions the potential for severe disease remains.”

READ MORE: B.C. records 236 new COVID-19 cases over weekend

READ MORE: B.C. school staff, older students required to wear masks in ‘high traffic areas’


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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