The City made an announcement about unsanctioned street gatherings just before homecoming season
The City of Waterloo is ready to pump the breaks on homecoming street parties before the kegs have even started to roll out.
In an announcement on September 22, the City revealed they want to put an end to "unsafe and unsanctioned" street gatherings. Along with public health officials, Waterloo Regional Police (WRPS), and emergency services partners, the City will be working together with Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo to make sure students and community members stay safe.
Breaking the rules could lead to some serious consequences.
Right now, outdoor social gatherings can accommodate up to 100 people while indoor gatherings have a max cap of 25 individuals. Choosing not to comply with those restrictions could result in fines, and anyone attending could also get a ticket from the police.
University students who get caught could also get suspended or expelled from their school.
"We are reminding our students to do their part in keeping our campus and community safe by heeding the guidance of regional health officials," Chris Read, the associate provost at the University of Waterloo, said in the announcement. "That means avoiding large gatherings, respecting our communities and the law, and finding safe ways to celebrate an exciting time of year."
"Safety is our top priority," according to a statement from Wilfrid Laurier University sent Narcity in an email.
"We are strongly encouraging our students to make smart choices and engage in safe and respectful behaviours on Homecoming weekend and every weekend. If students choose to participate in illegal activity, they could face suspension and/or expulsion under the Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct," the statement continued. "They could also face fines or criminal charges as outlined in the safety tips, which were shared with students to inform them about the consequences of breaking the law."
The City's media release further noted that the Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services responded to 48 calls in the University District during homecoming back in 2019. They say 27 people were taken to the hospital, with five of them in serious or critical condition.
"Although illegal street gatherings are a concern at any time, during a global health crisis, the issues have been further amplified as concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and its variants continue to be top of mind," City officials wrote in the announcement.
Since school came back into session this year, WRPS has pressed 108 charges under the Liquor Licence Act and 91 charges under the Highway Traffic Act. The City issued 26 noise charges and 11 charges under the Reopening Ontario Act.
Frosh week was already out of control across universities in Ontario, which included some Laurier students reportedly vandalizing university and city property in Waterloo.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
In Ontario, a vaccine passport is required to access some events, services and businesses, including restaurants and bars.
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