RCMP remind the public that social-distancing rules still apply, and gatherings of more than 50 people remain a no-go. (File photo)

200-person party in Cowichan prompts police warning

RCMP acknowledge graduation and other parties will be difficult to hold this year

Local police are reminding the public that rules around social distancing are still in place after attending to a large outdoor party on June 14 where several hundred people were congregated.

At around 10:30 p.m. that evening, officers from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment received a call about a large party between Crofton and Maple Bay.

When police arrived, they found approximately 200 people playing loud music and drinking alcohol.

The group was mainly young people, and the event featured a tent and lights in a field.

The detachment’s Corp. Kiel Pharis said that after receiving a call about the ongoing party, the goal of the police was to reduce the disruption to others living in the area and ensure that party goers didn’t drive home drunk or otherwise impaired.

He said that though the party caused some noise disturbances to neighbours, the party goers were cooperative with ending the event and leaving the area safely.

There were no arrests or charges but police issued warnings to those in attendance.

“The frontline officers at this call recognized that the ongoing public health emergency has made this year a difficult one for people celebrating special events like graduations or birthdays,” Pharis said.

“Staying safe means something new this summer, and police enforcement of large events reflects this reality. Usually our messaging for young people going to parties is to ensure you have a safe ride home, and be respectful of neighbours. This year, in addition to those points, we also encourage anyone going to a gathering to continue following physical distancing guidelines.”

Pharis said large gatherings of any kind will put the community at risk unnecessarily with the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has ordered that event organizers will limit public gatherings to no more than 50 people, and this includes amateur event organizers and anyone who is planning a get-together.

Physical distancing should still be maintained by keeping two metres apart and everyone should continue to avoid crowded places, indoors or outdoors.

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