Snowboarder with California plates fined for breaking COVID-19 quarantine to go to Whistler

VANCOUVER — A driver of a car with California plates is facing a $1,150 for allegedly breaking his COVID-19 quarantine to go snowboarding in Whistler.

Const. Kevin Goodmurphy with West Vancouver police told CTV News the vehicle was spotted travelling north on Highway 99 Monday afternoon near Lions Bay.

Police pulled the car over to check whether the 45-year-old driver’s insurance was valid, but while chatting, the officer learned the man had come to Canada “a couple of weeks ago.”

Goodmurphy said the officer called both Canadian Border Services Agency and health officials to confirm the date man with California plates arrived.

The officer confirmed the man was just two days shy of completing the two-week quarantine required by the federal government and that he didn’t qualify for any exemptions.

“The driver was turned around and directed back to his quarantine residence in North Vancouver,” said Goodmurphy.

The driver’s insurance was expired, he said, but the snowboarder was able to renew his insurance online roadside. 

This example is far from the only one. West Vancouver police report issuing 17 violation tickets under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, and eight violations under the Quarantine Act.

“It appears as though most of the Quarantine Act fines have been issued as a result of traffic stops,” Goodmurphy said. “We will take action when we can.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry has been strongly urging British Columbians to stay put, and avoid travelling to other communities unless it’s for essential reasons. 

“I’m asking everybody in B.C. Consider the importance of not traveling, right now, unless it is essential for work or for medical care,” she said during Wednesday’s news conference. 

“This includes within B.C, and between provinces. It has been a challenge for us, we know that there (are) many people who want to travel, who are coming here from other provinces for recreation and sport.”

Goodmurphy said he recognizes the temptation of travelling to Whistler for a ski day, but said people need to follow the rules. 

“It’s important to be responsible, finish your quarantine,” he said. “For good reasons, keeping everyone safe.” 

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