Police break up 200-person party in North Cowichan
VANCOUVER -- Mounties on Vancouver Island are reminding those considering hosting or attending parties this summer to consider physical distancing rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reminder from North Cowichan Duncan RCMP comes after officers were called to break up a party that involved roughly 200 people in a field between Crofton and Maple Bay.
Officers were called to the event around 10:30 p.m. on June 14, and arrived to find a large gathering of mostly young people, who were playing loud music and drinking alcohol. The event featured a tent and lights in a field, police said.
Police said they attended with the goal of reducing disruption to others living in the area and to ensure that partygoers departed safely. No one was arrested, but police said they issued warnings to those in attendance.
"Usually, our messaging for young people going to parties is to ensure you have a safe ride home, and be respectful of neighbours," said North Cowichan Duncan RCMP Cpl. Kiel Pharis in a news release. "This year, in addition to those points, we also encourage anyone going to a gathering to continue following physical distancing guidelines."
B.C. has banned gatherings of more than 50 people in an effort to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, and police said that limit applies to amateur event organizers as well as professionals.
Despite the ban, however, recent weeks have seen several gatherings of more than 50 people around the province, in the form of protests against racism and police brutality.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that the right to protest is an important one to maintain, even during a pandemic, but she has also urged protesters to stage multiple small events, rather than one big one, as well as to maintain two metres of distance from others and wear non-medical masks while protesting.