A 37-year-old woman has been served a $460 violation ticket for failing to follow B.C.’s public health orders at the Mt. Timothy Recreation Resort.
100 Mile House RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen said police received a complaint on Dec. 28 in relation to a violation of the COVID-19 Related Measures Act (CRMA). Police said the woman, known to Mt. Timothy resort staff, had attended the ski hill for recreational purposes and entered the ski lodge without wearing a mask, contrary to the business’s policy related to the ongoing public health orders.
The woman produced a medical exemption card, but police allege it lacked information to assure its validity, Nielsen said.
Staff asked the woman to leave and not return unless wearing a mask as per the current regulations. The woman complied with the resort’s request and left the location.
RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen has said that police did not attend the ski hill and instead talked to resort staff by phone. Based on the information supplied by witnesses and the evidence obtained, it was determined that a violation ticket would be issued, he said.
The woman was served the ticket on Dec. 30 for allegedly committing two offences under the CRMA via Emergency Program Act: failure to wear face-covering in indoor public space ($230) and failure to comply with direction from an enforcement officer ($230), Nielsen said.
Mt. Timothy’s assistant general manager Launna Bell confirmed the ski hill has a policy, backed with signs through the resort, that masks be worn in the lodge and in the lift lines at all times, in compliance with requirements by the Canada West Ski Association.
“Every ski hill has these policies,” Bell said.
She said she was surprised at the fines, as the incident was civil – including when the woman later called to apologize.
In an interview with the 100 Mile Free Press this week, the woman said in hindsight she should have called ahead to the resort. She was waiting in line for rental equipment when she was told by staff that the police had been called and she would have to leave because she was not wearing a mask.
The woman said she had nothing to prove she was mask-exempt.
“I didn’t have the physical proof because I wasn’t aware it was something I needed to have,” she said, noting that neither the BC Human Rights Commission nor Interior Health requires her to show proof of her exemption. She has since acquired a doctor’s note, she said.
The woman, who said she suffers from migraines and anxiety, maintains many mask-exempt people may seem fine on the outside and it isn’t always obvious why they can’t wear a mask. She said she can wear a mask when it is needed for her work, but only for a maximum of three hours at a time.
“Brain injuries are invisible, mental health is invisible,” she said. “There are so many things people deal with that you don’t share with anyone else. You can look totally wonderful and put together and have a storm going on underneath.”
When she announced a new health order making masks mandatory in public indoor settings on Nov. 19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said mask-exempt people should be taken at their word.
“We need to trust that people who cannot wear masks — and there are some people who cannot wear masks —we need to be able to accommodate them.”