On August 21, 2020, the British Columbia government announced an anti-gathering order (the “Order”) under the Emergency Program Act. The Order prohibits gatherings greater than 50 people and allows for fines of up to up to $2,000 for party hosts.

While the biggest fine is borne by hosts, partygoers should not rest easy. The Order permits enforcement agencies to issue $200 fines to individuals for several types of infractions, including: promoting a prohibited gathering, failing to abide by an order to disperse, or responding in an abusive manner to public health orders.

The Order gives the police, and other enforcement agencies, the ability to recommend charges to the Crown for egregious violations or repeat offenders. If convicted, hosts could face judicial penalties of up to $10,000.

If you are committed to hosting an in-person party during Covid, you must adhere to the following conditions:

  • have an event organizer;
  • record the full names or participants and their telephone numbers or email addresses and store this information for 30 days;
  • control access to the event;
  • ensure the number of participants does not exceed fifty;
  • ensure there is sufficient space for appropriate physical distancing;
  • ensure participants remain two meters apart, unless they are from the same cohort (e.g. family members);
  • place no more than six people at any table, and all tables must allow for two metres distance between seated participants or place physical barriers between tables;
  • place physical barriers between any live entertainment and the participants at distance of no less than 3 metres; and
  • provide sufficient sanitation resources and bathroom facilities.