Kingston issues emergency order targeting large parties near Queen's University

The City of Kingston is issuing a new emergency order in a bid to curb large parties happening in the University District near Queen’s campus.

Under the new order, fines for attending an "aggravated nuisance party" will go from $500 to $2,000. 

An "aggravated nuisance party" is described as when the number of people at a party exceeds the limits under the Reopening Ontario Act. The current gathering limits are 100 people outside and 25 people inside.

The order will also allow increased enforcement from police. This will allow officers to immediately issue fines for violations once a nuisance party has been declared.

Finally, the city will allow the disclosure of first and last names to the media of individuals charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Reopening Ontario Act, the Emergency Orders By-Law, the Nuisance Party By-Law, and the Noise By-Law.

"The large street parties that have been occurring in the University District are appalling and downright dangerous in the midst of a pandemic. They have put additional pressure on our emergency response personnel and on hospital staff that are already under strain. Regrettably, we're now seeing a rise in COVID-19 positive cases in the University District," says Mayor Bryan Paterson in a press release. 

""Our community is fed up with this disrespectful behaviour that is putting everyone at risk. That is why, today, I am issuing a new emergency order to ensure those who disregard public health rules are held accountable for their actions." 

On Wednesday, the KFL&A Public Health Unit warned of a rise in COVID-19 cases in the University District. 

Recently, the City of Kingston said 11 people were facing the possibility of $10,000 fines after several large gatherings in the area. 

An additional 35 fines were handed out for violating noise bylaws. Each fine is $200.

The City of Kingston had also issued an emergency order last week closing the Gord Downie Pier and beach area at Breakwater Park after a party involving 2,000 people in the nearby University District. 

KFL&A Public Health is urging people to get tested, especially those who aren't fully vaccinated and who have attended large gatherings, even if they don't have symptoms.