Were you stopped at a road check in B.C. over the weekend?
While the new order that restricts travel across the province was put in place before the weekend, the BC RCMP hasn't issued any fines to travellers.
BC RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Janelle Shoihet told Vancouver Is Awesome that police haven't issued any fines to travellers.
In total, Shiohet said officers checked over 1,400 vehicles over the weekend and no fines were issued. However, two people who were travelling for nonessential purposes voluntarily turned around after police pulled them over.
"Unless you are essentially refusing to turn back, it's very unlikely that you will be issued a fine," she explained. "We are giving people the opportunity to voluntarily abide by the restrictions."
Shiohet added that the two people who were travelling for nonessential purposes voluntarily turned back, which is why they avoided having to pay a fine.
And while the idea is not to be handing out fines, if someone is argumentative with the officer or refuses to turn around, they may be issued a fine, explained Shiohet.
Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth told reporters in a press briefing Friday (April 23) that a $575 fine will be issued to people who contravene the new order restricting non-essential travel in the province.
However, Farnworth added that "at any time, failure to comply with the requirements of a road check may result in a $230 fine."
Dr. Bonnie Henry says people are 'paying attention' to new B.C. travel order
"The idea is not to fine people. The idea is that people not take part in non-essential travel."
Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters in the daily coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing Monday (May 10) that B.C.'s new emergency travel order isn't designed to create revenue for the province. Instead, the emergency measure aims to deter people from recreational travel during the pandemic.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that the fact that no fines have been issued so far shows people are "paying attention" to the new rule.
"I think [the order restricting travel] was something that we needed to put in place to remind those small numbers of people that felt that [the rules] didn't apply to them," she explained.
The order prohibits non-essential travel between three regional zones in the province, using health authority boundaries. The new zones include the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Coastal Health regions); Vancouver Island (Island Health region); and the Northern/Interior (Interior Health and Northern Health regions).
When stopped at a road check restricting non-essential travel, police only have the authority to request:
- a driver’s name, address and driver’s license
- any available documentation regarding driver’s name and address (for example, secondary identification that confirms a driver’s residential address if recently moved)
- the purpose of the driver’s travel (documentation regarding travel is not required)
Passengers in vehicles will not be checked.