St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow and with fewer COVID restrictions and mild temperatures forecast, city officials are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
They’re hoping parties the university district won’t erupt into nuisance parties.
City of Kingston bylaw staff are teaming up with Queen’s University officials to canvass the university district, ahead of one of the biggest student party days of the year.
“We’re having a lot of positive interactions, a lot of questions and answers,” says Dan Hazell, Supervisor of Bylaw Enforcement.
“A lot of students that are asking us about the rules and regulations that are actually in effect, how to avoid getting fined or penalty notices, and it’s really good to put faces to the names of our officers.”
The University District Safety Initiative is currently in effect, meaning individuals can be fined up to $2,000, and even face disciplinary action from the university under the student code of conduct for creating, hosting or participating in a ‘nuisance party’.
“It is important as members of the student community, and the wider Kingston community, to be safe and treat the community well,” says Mark Green, Provost & Vice-Principal of Queen’s University.
Kingston Police will be increasing staffing levels for St. Patrick’s Day. Kingston General Hospital is gearing up with extra staff in the emergency room as well.
“We are the tertiary (care) centre for the region,” says Carol McIntosh, Director of Emergency Services at Kingston Health Sciences Centre.
“So we see the heart attacks, the strokes, the car accidents, all those major things. We’re here if you need us, but we’re hoping you’re responsible and you don’t have your St. Patrick’s Day ruined by coming to emerge.”
Despite COVID-19 restrictions lifting in Ontario, infectious diseases expert Dr. Gerald Evans says COVID-19 numbers are high in this region.
He says large parties are the perfect breeding ground for the virus.
“Current cases in KFL&A, you have about 380. You have to multiply that by ten and that gives you about 3,800 people who are actually active cases in our local area,” says Dr. Evans.
“That would match what we were seeing during that initial Omicron surge we saw through December and into early January.”
Emergency services and city officials says they’ll be ready for whatever comes on St. Patrick’s Day may, but they’re hopeful outreach will help tame the mass St. Patrick’s Day celebrations seen in past years.
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