Surrey’s COVID-19 compliance team has issued 11 tickets so far this month
A total of 11 tickets have been issued in Surrey so far this month by Surrey’s COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team.
“Six of those had to do with public health orders and five of them were under the Quarantine Act,” said Corporal Elenore Sturko with Surrey RCMP.
The violations related to health orders were $2,300 each, noted Sturko.
One incident, she said, involved 15 people who “showed up in a van for a party,” which resulted in a $2,300-ticket. There were also four $2,300-tickets handed out over the Diwali weekend.
As of Thursday (Nov. 19), she said Surrey RCMP has done 946 confirmed checks of businesses, “and of those, we found that 79 out of almost 1,000 (businesses) had some form of deficiency.”
Sturko said there 153 “total dispatched” files, meaning that people called in and provided information “because they thought maybe there was some element of non-compliance.” She added that only 37 of those “has some form of non-compliance.”
“It is a small percentage. We want to let you know that most people are compliant because we mean to be encouraging. Don’t give up what you’re doing because some people are not doing what they should.”
Given that, Sturko said the Surrey RCMP is happy to see the public is obeying the guidelines and trying to do their part.
“The fact that we’re getting a lot of information from the public, even if doesn’t turn out to be a deficiency, we think it shows people are taking it seriously. They want to help,” she explained. “We’re happy to find out people are compliant, and we’re happy that even if people are erring on side of caution, people are taking it seriously.”
She added the majority of people “won’t need police interaction to do the right thing,” and those who are “continuing to ignore health orders … who willfully disregard them, we have violation tickets ready for them.”
“We’ve gone to many homes as a result for service … a lot of the times it’s maybe a case of one or two people being over the limit or they didn’t understand. Believe it or not, not everyone is watching television or on social media,” she said.
“If the rule changed one day we’re not rushing to give someone a ticket less 24 hours later because they may not have been informed. That’s why we have an education component… the outcome we’re looking for isn’t to punish, it’s to help improve community safety.”
The city’s COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team, which is a partnership between the Surrey RCMP and City of Surrey bylaw services, was set up in late March as a response to the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
By mid-August, the team had conducted more than 50,000 checks, with some of those being follow-up checks.
Rob Costanzo, general manager of the City of Surrey’s corporate services, previously told the Now-Leader the team was working to educate the businesses.
“We’ll provide a subsequent visit, so if we do find a business … that’s not compliant, we provide them with the education materials,” he said.
If the officers then come back to the business and find it still to be non-compliant, then the team becomes “a little more stringent” with its message delivery, Costanzo said.
Otherwise, the business will be shut down if its non-compliant twice in a row.