Kingston police promise large presence to monitor Queen's homecoming activities during COVID-19 pandemic
KINGSTON -- Kingston police warn major fines and possible disciplinary measures could be on the table for students caught partying during Queen’s University’s annual Homecoming weekend.
Sgt. Steve Koopman says the weekend will be an "enforcement based approach."
The penalty for people caught breaking COVID-19 regulations during Homecoming weekend at Queen's could mean a fine ranging from $100 for noise complaints to $880 for attending a party that breaks guidelines.
While those caught hosting a large party that breaks provincial gathering rules could face a minimum $10,000 fine under the Reopening Ontario Act.
Koopman also says that police are in contact with Queen’s University, and anyone changed with a criminal offence, or a provincial statute, could face disciplinary measures at school.
"We understand that there’s a history to homecoming and that there’s a tradition there, and people really enjoy it," explains Koopman. "But at the end of the day a lot of people, not only in the Kingston community, but across this country and internationally had to make a lot of sacrifices for the safety of our fellow community members and neighbours."
On Saturday, Queen’s University is offering a virtual Homecoming. Planned event’s include Kingston’s own Gord Sinclair, of The Tragically Hip, set to perform. It also marks the third anniversary of the bands frontman, Gord Downie’s, passing.
Many student’s say while they're disappointed that they can't participate in this years Homecoming socially, moving it online make sense.
They say it’s set to be a scaled back year.
"Virtual events are definitely not the same," says first-year student Sam Jacquard. "But I’ll definitely be trying to participate in some of them and I’ll definitely keep my mask on."
"Might be having a bit of breakfast pancakes with my housemates but other than that we are just having a regular Saturday," says fourth-year student Libby Barrett.
Police say they’ve regularly handed out fines for breaking COVID rules, even as recently as this past weekend. Koopman says come Saturday, there will be a strong police presence, especially in Kingston's University District to keep people safe.