It’s an outrageous example of why the province’s COVID-19 rules need to be changed.
That’s what Mayor George Harvie conveyed to council Monday after making public an update council received from Delta police regarding a big house party in North Delta where COVID-19 safety measures were clearly ignored.
Harvie said the Sept. 11 gathering involved three side-by-side homes with more than 150 people in attendance, prompting calls to police and the city’s bylaws department.
Harvie said he’s talked with other mayors who have had similar problems in their cities, partly due to the closures of banquet halls.
He said the government allowing gatherings of up to 50 people does not allow for the prevention of community transmission of the disease.
“Council agreed that immediate action needs to be taken by the province and a letter be sent demanding the order on mass events be further amended to reduce the number of people permitted to gather in a residential home from 50 people to 10 people, and they could even be less," said Harvie.
Police and bylaw officers need the tools to enforce the order, he added.
“Fining the amount of $2,000 isn’t a deterrent to people, unfortunately, in many cases. We need to have more enforcement. We need to have better tools. We need to ensure we can prohibit gatherings of 150 people joining three houses together. It cannot occur.” added Harvie.
He added that council has directed staff to review the noise bylaw in order to increase fines, especially when it comes to gatherings held over multiple days and the use of tents in residential back yards.
Harvie will write to provincial Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Deputy Premier Carol James to convey concern how local governments are now facing serious problems with residents gathering at private homes in large groups, too high to ensure physical distancing.
The number of people permitted to gather in one home should be lowered, the letter will urge.