Three people are facing COVID-19-related charges following a massive street party in Kingston’s university district over the weekend, Kingston police announced Wednesday.
The party took place on Aberdeen Street — an area notorious for such gatherings during Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day — over Saturday night and Sunday morning. Police say hundreds of people attended despite COVID-19 gathering limits.
Police say they identified those charged by reviewing video footage, much of it posted on social media, which led them to a specific residence that allegedly hosted the large gathering.
The three people charged are between the ages of 20 and 21, all Queen’s University students, and all have been charged with hosting a gathering in excess of 25 people, an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA).
All have been summoned to court in October, and could face fines of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $100,000 if convicted, as well as imprisonment up to one year.
The information will also be shared with Queen’s University, which will determine if the students have breached the school’s code of conduct.
In a statement released Wednesday, Queen’s said those found in violation of the code of conduct could face a range of possible university sanctions for noncompliance.
“We were disappointed to learn that several of our students are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act as a result of their involvement in a large gathering on Aberdeen Street over the July 1 long weekend,” said university spokesperson Mark Erdman.
Erdman went on to say that the school is grateful for the police and bylaw officers involved in such situations, and that the university will continue to work with law enforcement throughout the investigation.
“While the University supports students being accountable for their behaviour, we also appreciate the majority of Queen’s students have followed public health guidelines throughout the last 18 months, and the police have made efforts to recognize this in their enforcement activities,” Erdman said.
KFL&A Public Health is urging those who attended this event to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and to get tested if they arise.
Police are still investigating and are looking for tenants of other properties who appear to have hosted, organized or condoned the large gathering.