Kelowna businesses can rely on local Mounties for support as the province’s proof of vaccination program rolls out, says the detachment’s top cop.
In an update on Monday, Sept. 13, Supt. Kara Triance outlined what the summer looked like for her officers, how current investigations are going, as well as the challenges officers faced, particularly when it came to anti-vaccine protests, and more recently, the massive protest that took place at Kelowna General Hospital earlier this month.
“Kelowna RCMP are extremely disappointed and concerned with many that continue to put themselves at risk by refusing to follow the public health orders,” she said.
“As we move forward into the fall and today, marking the day of the new vaccine passports which have been adopted in B.C., is hopefully a mark forward where we can start to see vaccine rates increasing in our community.
“We the police continue to respond to multiple protests a week. We know that there’s a Charter-protected right for peaceful protest. However, this does not interfere with other people’s right to health and safety within our community.”
She said that with the new vaccine card required for entry into many non-essential businesses, the RCMP will continue to do what they have been doing to enforce it and other public health directives to curb COVID-19.
“For those who continue to flaunt the current health directions, the newly initiated vaccine passport or any of the current health orders, we will continue to use all of our powers to address this through community safety,” she said.
“This includes our Criminal Code authorities for fraud, assault, mischief, cause disturbance or uttering threats.”
Police officers can also fine those who violate public health orders, which Triance said they will continue to do. To date, the local detachment has handed out close to $10,000 in fines to protesters and organizers.
She said with the calls they’ve been receiving for public health-related issues, they’re not expecting a severe spike in calls regarding the vaccine card, but it’s something they will have to monitor weekly.
Businesses that feel they can’t operate due to the disturbances caused by anti-vaccine crowds or feel threatened are encouraged to call the RCMP.