This weekend marks the first ever virtual Homecoming for Queen’s University. Even though alumni will not be gathering in Kingston for this annual celebration, Kingston Police, Dr. Kieran Moore, and Queen’s Principal Patrick Dean have all released expectations for gatherings and community behaviour through this historically busy weekend.
This year Kingston Police is working with the City of Kingston, Queens University, KFL&A Public Health and other Community Partners to help ensure the safety of our community and its citizens.
Kingston Police say they have scheduled an additional contingent of officers to work throughout the weekend to ensure frontline patrol can adequately respond to their regular calls for service throughout the city. Their priority is the safety of the community during this pandemic, and significant enforcement tools have been provided by the province to ensure that members of the public are following the current rules and restrictions.
In a statement dated Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, Kingston Police remind the community that no more than 10 people can gather inside a residence and no more than 25 can gather outdoors. A minimum fine of $10,000 can be issued under the ROA (Reopening Ontario Act) to any host or organizer of a gathering that exceeds these numbers. Additionally, guests and participants at locations that are found to be in breach of the act can be issued a fine of $880.
Patrick Deane, Queen’s Principal, addressed Homecoming weekend in a letter to students on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020: “Homecoming is about reuniting with friends, sharing memories and reconnecting with an institution that for many, was left behind years ago. Right now, constrained as we are by this pandemic, it seems almost an imperative that we take this opportunity to reflect on the value of the relationships we build and sustain through our connections with Queen’s. The people you meet while at our institution will be lifelong friends. They will see you through good times and bad. Together, you share a history that will forever connect you and remind you of a place and an institution of which you will always be proud to have been a part. In that spirit, I ask that you take care of one another and use this weekend to support each other and our community.”
“I am grateful for the health and well-being of our students and our university and I intend to safely celebrate that this weekend,” Deane continued. “I hope you will join me.”
Kingston Police, Public Health, Queen’s University and other community partners are hopeful that members of the public respect the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and do their part to help reduce any unnecessary spread of the virus within our community.
“We know people like to celebrate at this time,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, in a video address, uploaded to the KFL&A Public Health YouTube channel on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. “But we’re asking you to play a role to protect the healthcare system, our frontline emergency workers, and paramedics; to stay within your limit and by that way we can minimize the impact on our health sector at a very difficult time where were trying to maintain capacity to deal with a pandemic.”
Dr. Moore also indicated that KFL&A Public Health is pleased that Queen’s is holding a virtual Homecoming celebrating this year, and suggested they don’t expect any significant events within Kingston itself.