You might want to think twice before partying this fall. Ontario university students could be fined if they are caught ignoring social distancing rules. Police warn that they will be patrolling areas at Queen's University during busy weeks such as orientation and homecoming.
Kingston police announced in a joint press release that residents should expect "immediate enforcement" at unauthorized social gatherings.
The city, which is home to Queen’s University, a school known for its rowdy street parties, will be looking to prevent further spread of COVID-19 by cracking down on physical distancing restrictions.
Narcity reached out to the City of Kingston to ask them what their concerns are for the fall, a season that annually attracts large gatherings at Queen's.
Kyle Compeau, manager of licensing and enforcement for the City of Kingston, told Narcity that officers will be patrolling for "unsanctioned street parties" during specific periods, including the popular orientation week, homecoming weekend and St. Patrick's Day.
“Kingston Police and KFL&A Public Health will still be focussing on raising awareness about the risks associated with unsanctioned gatherings," he said.
A Joint Statement on the Enforcement of Social Gathering Restrictions in Kingston | via @KingstonPolice… https://t.co/iKL4lOP9Dz— Kingston Police (@Kingston Police) 1598537833.0
The city warned that unsanctioned street parties could put “the community at risk” by placing an unnecessary strain on emergency services and creating other dangerous situations, including roads and traffic disruption.
Any students who are caught at an illegal party, including those with 50 plus people indoors, will be fined at an officer’s discretion.
"If Kingston Police or City Municipal Enforcement Officers encounter potential infractions under the University District Safety Initiative, fines may be issued at the officer’s discretion," Compeau said.
"Unsanctioned gatherings of 50+ people indoors or 100+ people outdoors can also result in fines under the Reopening Ontario Act. Both Municipal Enforcement Officers and Kingston Police Officers are able to issue fines under this legislation."
Premier Doug Ford took a stern stance when questioned about college and university parties during a press conference on Wednesday.
Ford told students not to party when they return to school while stressing the importance of social distancing amongst young people.