Penticton RCMP will respond to hostile people refusing vaccination proof, says top cop Brian Hunter. (File photo)

Penticton officers will respond to abusive patrons who fight vax proof

B.C. Premier tasked police to deal with violent and unruly reactions

  • Sep. 14, 2021 12:00 a.m.

RCMP will take action if a patron becomes hostile over vaccination passport enforcement, said Penticton’s top cop.

Vaccination passports or proof of one dose is now required at restaurants and any seated eatery or brewery as well as gyms and events. The vaccination proof came into effect Sept. 13.

When B.C. Premier John Horgan introduced passports, he said business owners should call police if unruly customers act out.

“We are aware that any kind of enforcement requires clear guidelines and authorities and anticipate there could be an impact on front line police resources taking into consideration the nature of the call, call volume and call priority status,” said Brian Hunter, officer in charge of the Penticton RCMP.

“The police will always respond to 911 calls, especially with threats of violence or other criminal activity,” added Hunter.

The Penticton detachment is however short staffed as it is. Hunter told city council in July that they are only able to do reactive policing at this time with the high volume of calls they are dealing with.

Kelowna’s top cop held a press conference on Monday to say businesses are encouraged to call the police if they are threatened by anti-vaccine people.

“Kelowna RCMP are extremely disappointed and concerned with many that continue to put themselves at risk by refusing to follow the public health orders,” said Kelowna Supt. Kara Triance.

READ MORE: Kelowna police promise safety for businesses threatened by anti-vax people

Penticton bylaw enforcement doesn’t have a provincial role or authority to be called to deal with hostile patrons, said bylaw supervisor Tina Mercier.

“We are out there providing education around these issues and we can also play a role of evidence-gathering,” said Mericer.

Already, a Princeton man has called 911 complaining about seeing another person not be served at a local restaurant because they refused to show proof of vaccination.

Princeton RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes said the caller wanted to register his outrage about the customer not receiving receive his breakfast.

Hughes said the caller blamed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for the country “falling apart.”

READ MORE: Princeton man calls 911 after restaurant customer is refused breakfast

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