Two Rossland seniors were fined $3,450 by police last week after crossing into Canada from the U.S. border without presenting “proof” of a negative COVID-19 test.
Sgt. Mike Wicentowich reports that in the late afternoon of Friday, March 26, the RCMP received a request from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), and an enforcement officer with the Canadian Public Health Agency, to issue a violation ticket to two Rossland residents who had “committed an offence under Section 52 of the Quarantine Act.”
It is reported that an 82-year-old man and a woman, 68, allegedly crossed into the USA then returned to Canada within a day. The agencies say the pair did this without presenting proof of a mandatory negative COVID-19 screening test to CBSA before crossing into Canada.
“The man and woman had a similar previous incident in which the Trail RCMP took an educational approach,” Wicentowich says. “The Trail RCMP issued a warning as the man and woman had obtained a COVID-19 vaccine while in the USA and were reportedly abiding by the self-isolation period upon return,” he said.
“The man and woman also did not present proof of a negative COVID-19 screening test to the CBSA during the first incident.”
For the second “offence,” the Trail RCMP issued the man and woman a $3,450 fine for allegedly violating Section 58 of the Quarantine Act.
Writing up the seniors came just days before the B.C. government formally extended the provincial state of emergency, “allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.”
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on April 13.
The extension is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), declared a public health emergency.
“We’re still in a time where the virus continues to be a risk to health and public safety, yet some people are just not getting the message,” Minister Mike Farnworth said March 30. “Last week, we more than doubled fines for those who promote or attend a non-compliant gathering from $230 to $575, and we won’t hesitate to take further action if people continue to put safety at risk. I urge all British Columbians to keep a level head and say no to these kinds of events until we can get COVID-19 under control.”
With backing of police and other enforcement officials, the B.C. government uses measures under the EPA, including issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the PHO’s orders.