COVID-19: Kingston, Ont. street party in university district causes upset

A large gathering on Aberdeen Street Sunday morning is gaining backlash for breaking the Reopening Ontario Act. Dominic Owens

A 300 person street party rocked the university district that surrounds Queen’s University early Sunday morning.

Despite the fact that classes have been over for some time, a large crowd gathered on Aberdeen Street.

Read more: Kingston police investigating after street party on Aberdeen early Sunday morning

Dominic Owens, a regular Global News contributor and freelance videographer was driving by when the crowd caught his attention.

“We just happened to drive by the area and spotted it off to our right,” says Owens. “We didn’t know it was that big of a party.”

A fight broke out between two partygoers before Kingston Police arrived on scene.

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Owens says city workers showed up shortly after police and started to clean up the mess left behind.

In the past, police have had to manage large parties tied to events like Queen’s homecoming and St. Patrick’s day on Aberdeen Street, yet it remains unclear if the party was hosted by Queen’s University students.

Owens says many who he spoke with weren’t from the area at all.

“Some of the people I spoke to were even from out of town. One person was from Ottawa, another one was from Nipissing, a few from Toronto,” he says.

Queen’s university spokesperson Mark Erdman released a statement about the event, stating “we were disappointed to learn that a number of our students may have attended a large gathering in the university district over the long weekend. Queen’s takes its responsibilities to help protect the health of the Kingston community seriously.”

The health of these partygoers is now at issue, many were not wearing masks and in close proximity to one another.

The university’s statement also states that if any positive COVID-19 cases among Queen’s students are traced to the party, there may be consequences under the school’s non-academic misconduct process.

Meanwhile, KFL&A Public Health is recommending anyone who was in attendance to self-monitor to see if symptoms develop, and get tested if they do.

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Read more: Ontario reports 170 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death

Kingston Police say the investigation is ongoing and that they are continuing to review video footage and other evidence to identify organizers and participants.

They say that they will be following up with potential charges under the existing COVID-19 laws.

The current penalty for hosting a gathering that breaks the ‘Reopening Ontario Act’ is a maximum fine of $750 and up to a year of jail time.

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