Right in the middle of a global pandemic, more than 100 students decided to gather on Hickory Street West on Monday, Sept. 7, breaking social distancing laws.
By-law officers charged three people under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. A fine of $880 per person was imposed on the tenants as revealed by Shayne Turner, director of municipal enforcement services.
News of the charges arise as the Region of Waterloo public health officials report five new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Waterloo Regional police were on the scene to break up the party at 10 p.m. and students were reprimanded by acting medical officers for breaking social distancing guidelines. More than 100 students were dispersed from the scene.
“We continue to encourage students and all residents to stay home and not gather in large groups to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) thanks those students who are abiding by the health guidelines, and we urge all students to do so,” WRPS told Imprint.
The WRPS continues to enforce social distancing guidelines as cases increase in the Waterloo region.
“This pandemic isn’t over, and your actions matter. One night is not worth risking your health, the health of your family, friends or community,” the WRPS said.
Disease outbreaks in recent times have been linked to large gatherings where the rules of social distancing have not been followed.
Rohit Kaushik, a third-year Computer Science student at UW, believes that the fine imposed on the tenants was fair.
“$880 is a lot of money to spend on a party and put others’ lives at risk, hopefully we learn from this incident and follow health guidelines for our own safety,” Kaushik said.
A student who attended the party expressed regret.
“I made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgement, it was a mistake attending the party. I didn’t think the cops would show up. Really puts things into perspective,” the student, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
The strict measures taken by the WRPS and by-law officers reflect the urgency of upholding social distancing measures at a time like this. People are advised to follow public health guidelines and take responsibility for their actions if they fail to do so.