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Kingston bylaw called to 140-person party night before St. Pat’s Section 22 order in place

The city says that bylaw officers were called to a gathering of 140 people Friday night, the night before Kingston's St. Patrick's Day Section 22 order came into effect. Global News

The city of Kingston says a Section 22 order meant to curtail large gatherings over the St. Patrick’s Day week was helpful, but it didn’t stop some people from partying over the weekend.

A Section 22 order allows the local medical officer of health to impose new regulations in the interest of public health.

Dr. Kieran Moore issued an order to fight the spread of COVID-19 in Kingston by prohibiting gatherings of over five people inside and outside and imposing seating restrictions on restaurants over the St. Patrick’s Day week. It came into effect Saturday and will remain in place until March 21.

Anyone found in contravention of the order can be issued a court summons and fines up to $5,000 a day for each day of the breach.

Friday, the eve of the implementation of the order, city bylaw officers were called to a large gathering and to six other locations for noise violations.

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Read more: Coronavirus: 14 VOCs, 6 other COVID-19 cases associated with Queen’s University

According to the city, one party had over 140 people in attendance on Friday.

Dan Hazell, supervisor of licensing and enforcement for the city said that gathering is still under investigation and was not included in the summary provided in a city news release sent out Tuesday morning.

“While the city cannot comment on any matters that may be under investigation, a gathering of that size would be a breach of both the Section 22 Order and the Reopening of Ontario Act,” Hazell said.

When asked about the gathering, both Queen’s University and Kingston police referred Global News to the city for more information.

Currently, there is a COVID-19 variant of concern outbreak linked to the university, with 14 variant cases and six other COVID-19 cases associated with the school as of Monday.

The city says the incident is still under investigation and has yet to release any information on possible infractions for the event.

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Bylaw officers also handed out five administrative penalties Friday night for noise violations.

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Saturday, officers were called out three times for potential illegal gatherings, but only handed out one court summons under the local Section 22 order. Bylaw also received four calls for noise violations, but only handed out one penalty.

The approximate location for each call is listed below:

  • March 12
    • Johnson St. – gathering
    • Alfred St. – noise
    • Earl St. – noise
    • Ellesmere Ave. – noise
    • Colbourne St. – noise
    • Beverly St. – noise
    • Couper St. – noise
  • March 13
    • Days Rd. – noise
    • Bath Road – gathering
    • Notch Hill Rd. – noise
    • Pine St. – noise
    • Portsmouth Ave. – gathering
    • Albert St. – noise
    • Victoria St. – gathering

Despite these calls, the city says the drop in infractions from five on Friday to two on Saturday is proof that locals are following the public health order.

“A decrease in charges from the evening of March 12 to March 13 indicates that most residents are adhering to the March 4 Section 22 Order issued by KFL&A Public Health. Calls were received from across the city and addressed everything from noise concerns regarding the operation of power tools and loud music to concerns about illegal gatherings,” the city said.

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