VICTORIA — The Mounties in British Columbia say no cars were forced to turn around at a roadblock in place to ensure residents abide by travel restrictions due to COVID-19 as enforcement spreads over the weekend.
Cpl. Chris Manseau says 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area with no fines handed out.
Manseau says there are clear indications of an upcoming roadblock so drivers are well aware they are approaching one.
The RCMP say three other roadblocks will be set up over the weekend on Highway 1 in the Boston Bar area, Highway 5 in the Old Toll Booth area, and at Highway 99 in the Lillooet area.
Drivers will be asked for identification, documentation regarding their name and address, as well as the purpose for their travel.
Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions at a road check or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order.
Manseau said in an interview that he believes the Mounties would be happy if no fines were handed out.
"We want people to stay home," he said. "This isn't a punitive thing. If this all goes through until the pandemic is over and we don't issue any fines, I think we'd find that as a greater success than a lot of fines."
He urged those thinking of travelling this weekend to ensure they're only doing so for essential purposes, and to stay within their health region if they are not.
British Columbia's solicitor general recently said police conducting checks will only ask drivers and not their passengers whether they're travelling for non-essential reasons. Mike Farnworth said passengers will not be questioned for constitutional reasons based on legal advice, so the stops at high-traffic corridors and two ferry terminals don't stray into potential investigations.
Non-essential travel in B.C. is limited to three regions, which are areas covered by the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities; the Northern and Interior health authorities; and Vancouver Island.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.
The Canadian Press