AMS discourages students from attending social gatherings for St. Pat’s weekend

Students subject to fines under the University District Safety Initiative

Kingston Police are urging Kingston residents and students to remain home and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  
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With the one-year anniversary of Queen’s shutting down due to COVID-19 falling on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the AMS, City of Kingston, KFL&A Public Health, and Kingston Police are urging Kingston residents and students to remain home and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

According to the joint media statement released by Kingston Police and the City of Kingston, residents who host or attend gatherings could receive a charge under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990, or relevant municipal bylaws. 

The University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) will also be in effect for St. Patrick’s Day. 

Additionally, the KFL&A Medical Officer of Health implemented  a new Section 22 Order on March 4 as a precautionary measure to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the Kingston community. 

“Given the increasing concerns of COVID-19 variants, issuing this Class Order is prudent and necessary to prevent illness, protect our community, keep our schools and economy safe and open, and prevent an impact on our hospital resources,” Kieran Moore, KFL&A medical officer of health said. 

According to the statement, the Order will be in effect on a city-wide basis as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 13 and will continue until Sunday, March 21 at 11:59 p.m. 

The Order prohibits hosting or attending outdoor social gatherings of more than five people. 

In a media statement, the AMS reiterated this mandate. 

“You may gather at home with your household—or if you live in a house with four or less people, you may add one additional non-household member,” the AMS wrote.

“If you live with more than 5 people, you may gather at home with all your housemates but are not permitted to add any additional guests.”

Students will potentially face a $5,000 fine and may be considered to have broken the Queen’s University Student Code of Conduct if the order is breached. 

Upon confirmation by the University and KFL&A, law enforcement potentially will look for groups larger than five, and may ask students to confirm their residency. 

The AMS acknowledged the challenges of limited gatherings this past year, and applauded students for adhering to guidelines ensuring the safety of the Queen’s and Kingston communities.

“Kingston has handled the pandemic tremendously, and it is important to ensure the community remains safe”, the AMS wrote. “To reduce the risk of overwhelming first responders and the spread of COVID-19, together, let’s stay home and drink responsibly this St. Patrick’s Day.”

“Pandemic gatherings pose a greater risk to the community. Be smart, celebrate safely, and stay home this St. Patrick’s Day.”

Addressing consequences for the broader Kingston community, Kingston Police said breaching COVID-19 regulations can result in fines ranging from $880 to $10,000, depending on the size and organization of the social gathering. 

“We’re asking residents to act responsibly to keep themselves and the community safe this St. Patrick’s Day. Common infractions could result in ticket or fine but attending gatherings could also spread COVID-19 and put others at risk,” said Kyle Compeau, manager of licensing and enforcement.

Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely acknowledged that the majority of community members respect restrictions put in place by the government and public health officials, celebrated the work of the Kingston Police, and urged residents to maintain vigilance. 

“I am very proud of the collaborative approach we have taken throughout the pandemic, by working with City By-Law and KFL&A Public Health, engaging with our community […] educating citizens on the rules and regulations for COVID-19 safety measures, and conducting enforcement as the last resort,” McNeely stated. 

“We are now one year into the pandemic, but it is paramount that we continue taking a proactive and consistent enforcement approach with the goal of keeping COVID-19 infection rates low throughout our community.” 

 

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