Repeated public health messaging around COVID-19 appears not to have gotten through to several hundred people who attended a massive party in West Vancouver last weekend.

West Vancouver police say they were called to a home in the British Properties neighbourhood around 11 p.m. on Aug. 28, where between 200 and 300 youth and young adults had gathered for a “promoted” event.

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Officers identified at least one alleged promoter, who was fined $230 under new COVID-19 enforcement regulations, but were unable to identify an organizer who could have been liable for the province’s pricier $2,000 fine.

“In cases like this where there’s so many people, attempting to find the actual party organizers is very difficult, because everyone just scatters,” said West Vancouver police Cpl. Peter Nitch.

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Despite all the warnings, unsafe gatherings and parties continue in B.C.

Despite all the warnings, unsafe gatherings and parties continue in B.C.

Nitch could not confirm whether police had identified or spoken to the home’s owner or leaseholder.

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He said the event created unsafe conditions for attendees, the broader community and responding officers who must work wearing personal protective equipment.

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“That is an incredible challenge when you have this many people, often intoxicated, running in all directions and you don’t know how they’re getting home safely, or where they’re trying to get to, or or anything,” he said.

Public health modelling unveiled on Thursday showed the vast majority of new COVID-19 cases occurring among young adults, with cases in the 20-29 age bracket skyrocketing.

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Indoor private parties have been identified as a key vector for virus transmission.

In late August, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth granted police and compliance officers new powers to issue fines to people holding, promoting or refusing to leave private events that violate COVID-19 public health orders.

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