It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon but there are no crowds in sight at four parks in the city’s core.
Just a day after Breakwater Park was fenced off, things are looking quieter.
On Thursday, giant crowds of young people alarmed numerous local officials, with the region’s top doctor reminding the community to only go out when necessary and to socially distance.
The very next day, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson closed Breakwater Park for ten days.
“This timeline coincides with students’ move-out, but can be extended if needed. As one of our most popular community parks, closing it is a last resort,” Paterson said in a statement.
The park is adjacent to the Queen’s University district and was especially disturbing to the mayor, as outbreaks are connected to the school.
On Saturday, Breakwater Park had small scattered groups just on the edge of the fence, and no one seemed to be attempting to hop over to get to the other side.
Other parks throughout the city are also quiet, which eases concerns of community members who were worried that crowds would migrate to open parks.
“I feel the city’s lacking about its recreation, they say it’s a free for all. At times, they don’t even tell, they assume students will know better,” says Lisa Kelian, a local and Breakwater Park frequenter.
City Park has a handful of young people, appearing to be separated.
Victoria Park has also seen some activity, with people working out and staying to isolated ends of the park.
Tindall Field, one of the university’s district go-to hubs, is especially quiet, with only about six people in it as of Saturday afternoon.
However, Holly Hansen, a psychology student at Queen’s University, says there needs to be consistent compliance from the young people in the city.
“Many Queen’s students are very irresponsible, and it’s upsetting because we want the pier open. We wanna have fun, enjoy the weather and we can’t do that,” says Hansen.
The students say that seeing their peers break COVID-19 protocol is frustrating, but not every student is doing so.
“The whole community is being generalized, and we’re all being hated on,” says another student.
“Which is unfair,” adds Hansen.
Kingston Police say they have not received any calls to disperse or control any crowds as of yet.
City Bylaw Enforcement Officers did not respond in time before deadline.
The city says those entering Breakwater Park, or failing to physically distance in any park, are subject to a $2,060 fine.