While much criticism and outrage developed after images of large gatherings on Granville Street in Vancouver emerged from Halloween night, there were other problematic parties and incidents across the province.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix pointed out at yesterday’s B.C. COVID-19 briefing that while these street parties are an issue, they are far more visible than what is taking place across the province in private homes.
Both Dix and deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson explained that these social events at homes are a main source of the surge in case numbers. (For the first time during the pandemic, B.C. reported three consecutive days of new case counts over 300 per day from October 30 to November 2.)
Two police departments in B.C.—West Vancouver Police Department and Prince George RCMP—provided examples of how they had to address house parties and other incidents on Halloween evening.
The West Vancouver Police Department (WVPD) stated that it responded to numerous calls on Halloween night, many of which involved gatherings.
At 7 p.m. on October 31, officers responded to a report about a gathering in the 1800 block of Mathers Avenue.
Upon arrival, officers spoke with the homeowners, who confirmed that there were more than six guests presents, and none of them lived at the address.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had issued new provincial health orders on October 26 that restricts home gatherings to immediate household members plus six regular contacts as guests.
Consequently, police issued a $2,300 fine.
After that, the WVPD received calls about youth gathering to set off fireworks at various locations.
Police dispersed a group of 300 youths who congregated at Glen Eagles Elementary School after neighbours complained about fireworks. Officers also seized numerous fireworks, liquor, and a replica handgun.
Then at 9:45 p.m., police arrived at a house party in the 5300 block of Kew Cliff Road where the homeowner confirmed that 24 youth were present. As a result, officers issued a $2,300 fine.
At 11:30 p.m., police responded to a call from the owner of a rental property who had used CCTV to remotely observe several people arriving at the location in the 1000 block of Crestline Road.
Upon arrival, officers confirmed that over 20 people were at the house, and issued a $2,300 fine.
In addition, officers also responded to reports of assaults, disturbances, a break and enter, mischief, and other youth gatherings.
Previously on August 28, the WVPD had shut down an out-of-control party with over 200 young adults at a residence in the British Properties.
Meanwhile on the same night, RCMP received a report around 11:30 p.m. about several people engaged in a physical altercation in front of a residence on Regents Crescent in Prince George.
When officers arrived at the location, they found a house party with an estimated 50 youths in attendance.
Although many attendees fled when police arrived, those who remained were uncooperative and many of them continued to fight.
One individual was found in possession of bear spray while another person assaulted a police officer.
When police searched the residence, they found two unconscious youths in the basement. One of them was bleeding from the mouth. Both individuals were taken to hospital for possible alcohol poisoning.
Some youths were taken home to be released into the care of their guardians.
Officers issued a $2,300 fine to the 51-year-old male homeowner, who was found inside the residence intoxicated and uncooperative. Prince George RCMP stated that further charges are possible.