In British Columbia, Canada, a man is starting the new year with hundreds of dollars in fines after police officials said he touched his taxi driver’s face and refused to wear a face mask inside the cab.
According to the Victoria Police Department, on January 1, a taxi driver in Victoria called 911 at around 1 am to report that a passenger was “belligerently refusing the driver’s requests for the passenger to adhere” to the province’s Covid-19 Related Measures Act guidelines (CRMA).
When using a taxi or other ride-hailing service, the CRMA guidelines advise to “as much as possible, avoid physical contact with passengers,” maintain social distance and wear a face mask. Violators of any of these rules are subject to a $23 CAD ($175) fine.
The man was not identified by authorities and it is still unclear if the man is a Canadian resident.
Officials said that after the 911 call, the taxi driver took the man to police headquarters, where he refused to comply with officers’ demands to leave the car. Officers then removed him from the car and placed him into custody.
The drunk passenger was fined on three accounts for failure to wear a face covering, abusive or belligerent behavior, and failure to comply with the direction of an officer, totaling $690CAD ($540), the largest number of CRMA fines issued to an individual by VicPD officers.
The man was also ticketed for being intoxicated in a public place and was held at headquarters behind bars until he was sober.