People continued to gather at English Bay despite social distancing rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Langley has seen very few incidents, according to RCMP and local officials. (Gerry Green/Twitter)

Langley shows good grasp of social distancing

Only one major gathering has been brought to RCMP attention

How is Langley doing when it comes to avoiding large crowds and parties that have popped up in other communities, even after the dire warnings about the necessity of physical distancing?

Not bad, it turns out.

Since March 21, the Langley RCMP have received eight reports of large gatherings, said Cpl. Holly Largy, spokesperson for the local detachment.

However, all but one turned out to be unfounded.

The only incident that seems to have taken place was a report of about 30 to 40 youths gathered in public. By the time officers arrived to break it up, there were only two youths on the scene, said Largy.

RCMP and bylaw officers have been given authority to break up public gatherings to help enforce provincial rules.

Over the last few weeks, crowds in areas like Vancouver’s beaches and seawall, and more recently in South Surrey, have caused consternation on social media due to concerns that people weren’t respecting the social distancing orders.

READ MORE: Weekend crowds at South Surrey parks, waterfront cause concern

B.C.’s medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has ordered no gathering be larger than 50 people and, even at that level, not without sufficient physical distance between everyone.

“This is not an order of convenience,” Henry said earlier in March. “It is something that is required to protect people, and we know that 50 is not an absolute number. It is the maximum, but we know smaller is better.”

“Across the province, any gathering is a danger and none of them should be happening right now,” Henry said on Tuesday.

On March 26, a provincial ministerial order gave bylaw officers the power to support police in enforcing the provincial health officer’s orders.

The Township, as well as the RCMP, has received a few complaints and has been working on ensuring physical distancing.

“To date, there have been few complaints received by the Township, but bylaw staff have visited some businesses to educate and warn them about the ministerial orders and social distancing protocols,” said a statement from Langley Township.

“Many are following the orders but we urge everyone to be 100 per cent committed to this,” the statement said.

For mass gatherings in public or quarantine complaints, Langley residents can call the Langley RCMP non-emergency number at 604-532-3200.

In the Township, bylaw officers can also crack down on the re-selling of essential goods, and people can report such activities by calling the COVID-19 information line at 604-532-7599.

More information can be found at the Township’s COVID-19 info site at www.tol.ca/covid19 and at the City of Langley’s website at langleycity.ca/covid-19.

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