Victoria police respond to weekend parties that ignore social distancing

Victoria’s police chief is urging the public to follow social-distancing measures and help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, after officers responded to several large gatherings over the weekend.

Officers responded to nine noise complaints, including several house parties, as well as a group at Saxe Point Park in Esquimalt, police said.

Officers spoke with some attendees about how such gatherings pose a public-health risk and go against current government orders.

Chief Const. Del Manak said on Twitter that the community needs to do better.

In a subsequent tweet, Manak said the government is working on ways to better enforce provincial health orders.

Premier John Horgan acknowledged some members of the public still aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously.

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“They’re a minority to be sure, but they’re putting everyone else at risk,” Horgan told CKNW’s Mike Smyth Show on Monday.

“Dr. Henry is clear we are far from out of the woods yet. We have seen a decline in percentage of growth, (but) there is more work to do. People need to not take too much comfort from that decline and make sure we see that curve bend.”

Social-distancing measures include a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and a directive to keep two metres apart from others in public.

Last week, Health Minister Adrian Dix said British Columbians should expect to remain under strict provincial orders until at least the end of April.

— With files from Richard Zussman

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