December 15, 2020
Kingston’s enforcement partners are working together to keep residents safe. Earlier this week, City Bylaw Enforcement filed 31 charges under the Reopening Ontario Act for violations related to hosting indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people. These charges result from investigations completed in November and December by the Bylaw Enforcement Department. Each Part 3 Summons issued is subject to a minimum $10,000 fine upon a conviction being registered. Kingston Police have also issued 19 Reopening Ontario Act charges and one fine under the Quarantine Act.
“These large gatherings are extremely dangerous in a pandemic,” says Kyle Compeau, Manager of Licensing and Enforcement for the City. “We’re seeing gatherings well over the provincially mandated minimums, with our officers sometimes dispersing 50 to 100 people. Positive cases in Kingston have been connected to these sorts of gatherings. They are illegal because they can spread COVID-19 to a large number of people very quickly.”
Due to the risks posed to the community as a result of the pandemic, Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement are strictly responding to reports of social gatherings that do not fall within the allowable confines specified under the Reopening Ontario Act.
“As we have witnessed infection numbers rising at an alarming rate throughout our region, it is imperative to remember that the Reopening Ontario Act restrictions have been set in place to mitigate risk of further community spread,” says Const. Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police.
Unlike the City’s Administrative Monetary Penalties, which are paid or appealed through the City, each Reopening Ontario Act charge is processed through the Provincial Offences Court System. Hosting a social gathering or residential party with more than 10 people indoors or more than 25 people outside is still subject to a minimum $10,000 fine while Kingston is at the Yellow-Protect level. Guests or participants at such a gathering are subject to an $880 fine each.
It is expected that individuals who receive a Part 3 Summons will need to appear before a Justice of the Peace in early 2021.
Proactive enforcement is a priority
City Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police continue to work with residents to ensure that individuals are aware of the rules before fines are issued.
“While Kingston Police coordinate dispatch and respond to COVID-19 nuisance calls, Bylaw Officers also conduct regular proactive patrols to remind residents about current orders in effect,” says Dan Hazell, Supervisor of Licensing and Enforcement for the City. “When nuisance behaviour poses a significant risk to the community, Bylaw Officers may immediately issue a fine or charge.”
Fighting the spread of COVID-19 remains a community effort
Bylaw Enforcement is reminding residents that community safety this holiday season is a shared effort. Keep friends and loved ones safe this holiday season by following public health directives, legislation and all emergency orders that are currently in effect.
Learn about COVID-19 impacts to City programs and services at CityofKingston.ca/COVID19