COVID-19 Diary – Day 280

Public Health Order Enforcement to be “Ramped Up”

BC Minister of Public Health Mike Farnworth has publicly asked for more officers to actively enforce public health orders related to COVID-19 safety measures. Until recently most officers had been taking a more educational approach to health order violations, but it looks like that may now be coming to an end.

So far gaming investigators, conservation officers, community safety unit inspectors, and liquor and cannabis inspectors have all been tasked in assisting the police in enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, but only ~300 violation tickets have been handed out in the previous 4 months.

One of the main changes coming to COVID-19 restriction enforcement is that the tickets will now be sent to collections after just 30 days, or after any related court proceedings find the offender guilty. Previously tickets could remain in arrears for 1 year before they would be sent to collections.

However, despite such calls for strong enforcement from both Premier Horgan and Minister Farnworth, there have been very few fines levied towards the organizers or promoters of BC’s anti-health rallies. The only currently known examples of rally organizers being fined include an organizer of a rally in Kelowna, who was fined $2,300, and a different organizer from 100 Mile House was also threatened with fines.

BC Recovery Benefit Applications Open Tomorrow

The BC Recovery Benefit is a one-time, tax-free payment of up to $1,000 for eligible families and single parents and up to $500 for eligible individuals. 

The specific benefit amount will be determined by your 2019 income statement from last year’s tax returns. Full eligibility details and information on how to apply (starting tomorrow) can be found here.

Vaccine Watch Update

Vaccinations against COVID-19 continue to be given in BC, with our total inoculation count sitting over 1200 currently. Meanwhile, things are not going so smoothly for our neighbours to the South. The US has been running into difficulties properly storing their vaccine, and so far at least 2 full trays have been unintentionally stored in excessively cold temperatures (below minus 80 celsius). At this time it is not known what temperatures this cold might do to the vaccine, so the affected trays are being kept quarantined for the moment. This is of course the last thing you want to have happened with such a limited and precious resource.

But temperatures aren’t the only difficulty the US is having with BioNTech’s vaccine right now. Recently Pfizer confirmed that they have millions of prepared doses waiting in warehouses right now, with no instructions from the Trump administration on what to do with them. This, especially when combined with President Trump’s “America First” executive order requiring US-made vaccines only to be used for US vaccinations until they are no longer required, makes for a very frustrating situation here in Canada where we are immediately using every dose as quickly as they can come in.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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