VICTORIA -- Victoria’s top police officer is pleading with people to stop having parties and follow physical distancing orders after police broke-up multiple parties over the weekend.

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak said police officers were called to nine noise complaints, including several parties and other gatherings, over the weekend.

The gatherings took place across the region, including at Saxe Point Park. Police say the party-goers were all in their 40's or younger.

The largest gathering was a group of 12 people, said police.

“We need to do better,” said Manak.

Police officers told each group of people that they were putting their loved ones and the wider community at risk by gathering together.

“The first line of defense against COVID-19 is social and physical distancing,” said Manak. “Please, think of the greater good.”

Manak adds that police officers will soon be able to ticket people who gather in groups, but says he hopes it does not come to that.

Meanwhile, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday that even small groups, gathering inside, are a risk.

“[A ban on gatherings larger than 50 people] does not mean you can have 49 people at a house party,” said Henry.

“Those are the situations that cause this virus to spread and it is going to spread to the people closest to us.”

Henry said people need to maintain physical distancing, particularly in the coming weeks to curb teh spread of COVID-19.

On March 22, Victoria police were also called to break-up a house party in the 800-block of Phoenix Street.

Police were responding to a noise complaint around 10 p.m. and found a group of people having a house party.

“Some of the party-goers were undeterred, mistakenly believing their youth made them immune to the virus,” said Victoria police at the time.

Police said no one was arrested at the party, but are urging people to stay home.