Vancouver Islanders frustrated by those not fully following quarantine order

WatchA Parksville couple says there has been no warning to their neighbours who aren't fully following the self-quarantine order after travelling abroad.

People who have seen others breaking quarantine rules on Vancouver Island say they’re frustrated not much can be done to stop them.

The federal government announced last week’s there would be financial fines for those not following its orders but it’s a punishment that doesn’t apply to everyone.

Twice in the past week, a Parksville couple spotted neighbours who recently returned from international travel going for a walk.

Instead, they should have been quarantined in their home.

“I saw them walking around the corner and I thought ‘okay, wait a minute, they shouldn’t be out’ so I immediately got on the phone,” said Nancy Boyd, a neighbour.

“I called the local police in Parksville, the non-emergency line.”

After making several calls over the course of a few days, she left a complaint with the Regional District of Nanaimo’s bylaws phone line.

“We know we’ve got cases on the island. We know they’re increasing. It’s very confusing to me as to why smart people aren’t recognizing what’s happening around them and thinking that it’s okay for them to potentially put other people at risk,” said Boyd.

Bylaw officers in North Cowichan followed up on multiple complaints about another returned couple not isolating.

But even after by law officers talked to them, the couple still won’t comply. North Cowichan’s mayor says municipalities have been given inconsistent messaging about their enforcement abilities.

“We were subsequently told that our bylaw enforcement officers do not have the authority to ticket or detain or really do anything. They can just chat with the people and remind them of the public health order and that’s really it,” said Al Siebring, North Cowichan’s Mayor.

Siebring says quarantine rules should be enforced.

“Either we have an order that has to be enforced or we don’t and right now it appears we have an order and it’s not being enforced,” Siebring said.

Fines can be imposed under the federal quarantine act but not for people who returned before the act was implemented last Wednesday. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday no one has been fined in BC for disobeying orders and while the federal quarantine orders are enforceable by the RCMP, protocols with them are still being worked out.

The lack of enforcement also doesn’t sit well with the Parksville complainants.

“What I would like to happen is to have a reminder from someone in authority to knock on their door and go ‘Hey, where have you been? This has been reported and if we see you out again yes you might be fined,'” said Boyd.

The Regional District of Nanaimo says they don’t have the resources to follow up on the many complaints they’ve received but say people should avoid those that aren’t abiding by self-quarantine after international travel.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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