Some Victoria residents just aren’t getting the message when it comes to calls for social and physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Victoria Police Department was called to nine noise complaints, including several parties and other gatherings, as well as a group at Saxe Point over the weekend.
Officers told the people involved in these gatherings about the risks they were posing to themselves, their loved ones and to the officers.
“We need to do better,” Chief Del Manak said in a statement. “The first line of defense against COVID-19 is social and physical distancing. Please, think of the greater good. Think of our officers who are attending these calls. Think of the grocery clerks, the cleaners, the nurses, the doctors, the care workers and all the other front-line and essential service workers who cannot stay home, but who are putting themselves at risk for others. Please, stay home.”
The parties and gatherings follow an incident the week prior, in which officers responded to a noise complaint in Esquimalt and discovered a house party. Some of those party-goers were reportedly “undeterred” by the officers’ warnings that such gatherings were dangerous amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In a series of unprecedented steps taken to support B.C.’s COVID-19 response, the province is enabling municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of orders for business closures and gatherings in line with offences under the Public Health Act. At this time it is unclear when or if that enforcement will be used in Victoria.
According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 can be transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces and through respiratory droplet transmission, which occurs when a person is in close contact with someone who has respiratory symptoms like coughing or sneezing.
As of March 30, there are 884 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C. including 60 in the Island Health region.