Salmon Arm RCMP officers responded to two public COVID-19 demonstrations held in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Nov. 28.  (File photo)

Organizer of Salmon Arm COVID-19 demonstration fined $2,000 by RCMP

Police said some participants weren’t aware of the public health order prohibiting gatherings

The organizer of a public demonstration around COVID-19 concerns and restrictions was fined $2,000 by Salmon Arm RCMP.

There were two COVID-19 related demonstrations held on Saturday, Nov. 28, in Salmon Arm. One, initially planned for Centenoka Pak Mall, ended up at Blackburn Park. Another was held outside city hall.

Staff Sgt. Scott West said police officers sought to monitor and educate members of the public at these demonstrations who may not have been following the safety measures set out by the province’s public health officer.

“At these events, officers used their discretion in dealing with members of the crowd and informed people that this type of gathering was prohibited under the current public health order that is in place to combat the spread of COVID-19,” explained West in a Nov. 30 media release.

West said some of the people in attendance were not physically distanced or wearing masks while in close proximity to one another.

“In interactions with police it became evident that some people in the crowd were apparently unaware that the rules on gatherings prohibited a gathering that was this large…,” said West, adding officers had a “number of respectful and informative interactions with some of the 75 people in attendance at the park.”

Read more: Salmon Arm mall not supporting COVID-19 rally

Read more: B.C. COVID-19 conspiracy theorist charged with violating Quarantine Act

“After speaking with the police at the scene some left the area and there were no tickets served to the persons who attended the event.”

West said officers were approached by the apparent organizer who had arrived with a public address system.

“The officers attempted to have a conversation with him to inform him of his legal jeopardy as an organizer,” said West. “He was less than engaging but still respectful and was served a violation ticket under the COVID Measures Act for organizing the event…”

The fine under the act is $2,000 plus the B.C. Victim Surcharge Levy of $300.

Between the two gatherings, West said just the one violation ticket was served.

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