The City of Kingston, KFL&A Public Health and Kingston Police are asking residents to continue to avoid gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as St. Patrick’s Day approaches.
Residents hosting or attending a gathering could receive a charge under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990 or relevant municipal bylaws, according to a joint release from the City and Kingston Police, dated Friday, Mar. 5, 2021. KFL&A Public Health also issued a Section 22 Order on Thursday, Mar. 4, 2021 to limit gathering sizes.
“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,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health.
In addition to the community risks already posed by nuisance parties, gatherings also pose a significant risk for community transmission of COVID-19, according to the release. Residents are asked to mark St. Patrick’s Day in a way that is respectful of neighbours and safe — do not attend gatherings, and encourage others to avoid them.
As essential healthcare workers fight COVID-19, Kingston residents need to do everything they can to slow the spread by limiting contact with those outside their households.
University District Safety Initiative will be in effect
The University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) will be in effect as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, March 13 and will continue until Sunday, March 21 at 11:59 p.m, according to the release. Under the UDSI, Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement officers can issue a Part I Court Summons or Administrative Monetary Penalty for behaviors under the Nuisance Party Bylaw, Nosie Bylaw or Liquor License Act.
“We’re asking residents to act responsibly to keep themselves and the community safe this St. Patrick’s Day. Common infractions could result in a ticket or fine but attending gatherings could also spread COVID-19 and put others at risk,” said Kyle Compeau, Manager, Licensing and Enforcement. “Residents have worked hard to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the community, with positive results, but we’re asking for continued vigilance – we’re not out of the woods yet.”
A summary of applicable UDSI infractions is available at CityofKingston.ca/UDSI.
COVID-19 Regulations will be enforced
Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement officers are authorized to issue tickets or fines for hosting or attending an indoor or outdoor social gathering of more than five people who do not live together, as outlined in the March 4 Section 22 Order and can also issue charges under the Reopening Ontario Act for hosting or attending a gathering of more than 10 people indoors who do not live together or more than 25 people outdoors.
Police and Bylaw Enforcement can also disperse illegal gatherings when groups do not voluntarily do so by issuing additional fines for obstruction.
Fines for breaches of COVID-19 regulations can range from $880 to $10,000 depending on a person’s role in the breach and the number of people found at a prohibited social gathering. Fines can also still be issued for amplified noise and solid waste bylaw infractions.
Responsively addressing high-risk behaviours
Community enforcement partners continue to take a proactive approach that has assisted, and continues to assist, in keeping COVID-19 infection rates low, according to the release.
“We are very mindful that the vast majority of community members respect the restrictions put in place by government, municipal, and public health officials to keep our community safe,” said Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely. “I am very proud of the collaborative approach we have taken throughout the pandemic, by working with City Bylaw Enforcement and KFL&A Public Health, engaging with our community, explaining why we have attended pandemic-related calls for service, educating citizens on the rules and regulations for COVID-19 safety measures, and conducting enforcement as the last resort. 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.”
If a complaint is received, Bylaw Enforcement or Kingston Police will be dispatched to investigate.
Residents can report potential bylaw violations to the Bylaw Enforcement team at [email protected] or 613-546-4291 ext. 3135. Please report potential COVID-19 regulation violations or after-hours noise violations to Kingston Police’s non-emergency number 613-549-4660. Do not dial 9-1-1.
Additional regulations for certain businesses
Under the March 4 Section 22 Order, there are restrictions that apply to businesses that serve alcohol. Requirements include, but are not limited to: closing between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and restricting the sale of alcohol between 12 p.m. and 10 p.m. Live performances of music are prohibited and patrons must remain seated.
Businesses with questions can contact KFL&A Public Health. Residents wishing to report a complaint regarding businesses not operating safely can submit a COVID-19 complaint form to KFL&A Public Health.