Party Now, Regret Later

B.C. compliance fines are a reminder of our priorities and responsibilities during this unprecedented time

Vancouver Police on Cambie Street in. (Flickr/ British Columbia Emergency Photography)

Life has not been easy for the past five months due to the “new normal” created by the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, our 2020 was nothing but filled with cancelled summer plans, school and work from home, and binge-watching all day. Even though most shops and restaurants are now open, everything has changed with new social distancing and sanitation guidelines in effect.

It doesn’t end there either. Stricter protocols are being implemented to reduce the numbers of mass gatherings and parties being held. With the invisible enemy still at large, it really does not seem worth risking our lives for the sake of our own leisure and amusement.

On Aug. 21, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia, announced that fines should be issued to those caught violating the provincial order regarding gatherings and events which exceed 50 people. The penalties range from $200 for individuals to $2,000 for store owners and organizers who do not enforce proper physical distancing and regular sanitation or fail to obtain a list of contacts for all the guests attending an event.

In my opinion, this is a strategic and a much-needed move, especially when establishments are going back to business under B.C.’s COVID-19 Response and Restart Plan. People are going out and trying to salvage the last days of summer by enjoying themselves in malls or restaurants. While most of B.C.’s residents are strictly following the rules, some defy the protocols of social gatherings with the justification of leisure and enjoyment with loved ones.

This is a matter of concern because hosting or attending such events may increase the chances of transmitting the virus to one another. Some people are becoming too complacent with things slowly going back to normal. They forget that the pandemic isn’t resolved. Keep in mind that infected people may show symptoms, but the majority are asymptomatic, which is harder to track and identify.

This new protocol should remind us of the seriousness of this virus and our responsibilities to one another.

By doing our part and going out only when necessary, not only are we helping the people around us, but we’re also lightening the burden of fighting the virus on our government and front liners.

At times like this, it is understandable to want to turn a blind eye to reality. It is not the most ideal position to be in, but we need to be mindful of our decisions and actions. In this situation, we have the freedom to choose: Will we let our desires prevail but endanger others or do the right thing and prevent harm?

Let us respect and protect one another until and even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. For now, rather than risking ourselves and others, we can still find simple happiness within our homes by hosting virtual parties instead. All you need is your laptop, Wi-Fi, and your contact list. Then you can party as hard as you want without having regrets later.

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