KINGSTON -- Officials in Kingston are warning students and residents that attending or hosting a gathering of more than five people this St. Patrick's Day could result in fines ranging from $880 to $10,000.

Kingston police and officials with the city of Kingston's bylaw and public health units handed out pamphlets around Queen's University and St. Lawrence College about the new rules for social gatherings in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore issued a Section 22 Class Order, which will be in effect from Saturday, March 13 to Sunday, March 21 at 11:59 p.m. 

Over the next week, the limit on gatherings is five people both inside and outside.

Under the order, last call will be 10 p.m. at all businesses that serve alcohol, and all establishments must close between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Alcohol can only be sold and served between 12 p.m. and 10 p.m. The health unit says all patrons must be seated when served, and only five people can sit at a table at one time.

"Given the increasing concerns of COVID-19 variants, and the risks of potential spread of COVID-19 related to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, these measures are prudent and necessary to prevent illness and the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Moore in a statement.

The pamphlets handed out in the Queen's University 'University District' and the St. Lawrence College area outlines the rules for gatherings and parties this weekend and over St. Patrick's Day.

"Fines for breaking COVID-19 regulations can range from $880 to $10,000 depending on a person's role in the violation and the number of people found at a prohibited social gathering," said the pamphlet. "Fines can also be issued for bylaw infractions."

The pamphlet also urged people to avoid the following infractions:

  • Hosting an illegal gathering
  • Attending an illegal gathering
  • Underage drinking and open alcohol
  • Noise violations under Kingston's Noise Bylaw
  • Blocking streets
  • Garbage infractions under Kingston's Solid Waste Bylaw.

The health unit had said any violations of the Class Order can result in a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals and $25,000 for businesses.

The Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health region is currently under the "green" zone in Ontario's COVID-19 reopening framework.