'Be a good neighbour': Police, bylaw urge students to follow COVID-19 rules during Panda Game celebrations

Ottawa Bylaw is warning students at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University it could be "very costly" if officers arrive at your pre-game or post-game Panda Game party.

Ottawa police and bylaw services officers will be stepping up patrols in Sandy Hill, Old Ottawa South and the Glebe, as well as TD Place/Lansdowne Park on Saturday.

"We want to make sure that students are respecting the provincial regulations when it comes to physical distancing, social gathering limits and mask wearing if possible," said Michael Lalonde, public information officer with Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services.

"We want to make sure this is no disruption to the neighbourhood and so that's why we'll be out to enforce these regulations."

The Gee-Gees and the Ravens are meeting in the first Panda Game at TD Place since 2019. The 2020 game was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Ontario's COVID-19 restrictions, indoor social gatherings are capped at 25 people, while outdoor parties are limited to 100 people. The fine for noise violation is $490, while the fine for not following the COVID-19 public health measures is $880.

"With the pandemic that we're still in, we're trying to make sure we come to some sort of middle ground," said Lalonde.

"One of the things is we want to make sure is for noise issues, you can't have your music on before 9 o'clock in the morning. Base noise is enforceable 24-7, shouting is enforceable 24-7."

Officers will be on the lookout for trespassing, public drinking and intoxication and other social disorder issues on Saturday.

We will have extra officers on the road this weekend, working closely with @OttawaPolice. Enjoy the #PandaGame, but don't forget to respect your neighbours! Learn more about the Noise By-law: https://t.co/wxwfY8k0jx#Carleton-u#UOttawa#Ottawa#Ottcity pic.twitter.com/VKCJKoDhcJ

— Ottawa By-law (@OttawaBylaw) October 1, 2021

"Be a good neighbour – don't drink on the city streets, don't start yelling at your neighbours. Just make sure you're being a good neighbourhood," said Lalonde.

In 2019, Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services responded to 130 requests for service relating to noise during the Panda Game.

"We don't wish to impose any fines on anyone. But we just want to make sure that we're aware we are on the same page so that in the event we go to a party, it can get very costly," said Lalonde.

Ottawa Public Health offers tips to students to party safer during the Panda Game and festivities this weekend.

  • Stay with friends you trust and look out for each other
  • Only you can give consent for yourself
  • Plan a safe ride home
  • Pace yourself and drink water
  • Stick to one substance at a time
  • Know how to ID an OD

#PartySafer at Panda! Check out these quick tips!

Be a #TeamPlayer when it comes to following the rules and be kind to those enforcing the rules.

Let’s all do our part to keep each other protected.

Find out more: https://t.co/S7PQlz7H9V pic.twitter.com/3x3iQR52r2

— Ottawa Public Health (@OttawaHealth) October 1, 2021