A reminder to students about social gatherings during COVID

With some students across the country returning to their college and university communities to start the Fall Term, education and enforcement is being stepped up to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

The Province of Ontario remains in Stage 3 of its Reopening Plan, which means there are still restrictions in place around the number of people allowed to gather together.

The maximum number of people allowed together in a household gathering is 10, and if they’re not all from the same social bubble, then masks must be worn and physical distancing is a must.

The Niagara Regional Police, as well as Brock Campus Security and by-law enforcement officers in Thorold and St. Catharines are stepping up patrols and enforcement to ensure students living off campus or on are following public health regulations.

Last week, Brock University published its Good Neighbour Guide with lots of information for students on neighbourhood relations, student life and community resources.

“The initial response to the launch of our Good Neighbour campaign has been positive and we are continuing to promote the importance of being community-minded and making safe choices to Brock students living off-campus,” said Brad Clarke, Director, Student Life and Success. “Given the inherent risks associated with COVID-19, it is critical that we work together and take action to reduce the possibility of community spread.”

Thorold Mayor Terry Ugulini said the municipality wants to make sure everything possible is being done to flatten the COVID curve.

“This is a very serious issue,” he said. “We’re not just dealing with the issues associated with people hosting parties; we’re dealing with health and safety because of COVID-19. This is different from any other year.”

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik encouraged students to enjoy what the city has to offer in a safe way and following health recommendations.

“We know Brock University has worked hard to continue its commitment to providing students with a safe, enriching, high-quality educational experience, and by working together we can also ensure that commitment is in place for our community,” said Sendzik. “I encourage students to be good neighbours and do their part to avoid the risks of COVID-19 community transmission.”

Police and by-law officers will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to gatherings that exceed public health restrictions, as well as parking, noise or garbage violations. Fines can range from $300 to $5,000 or more.

Some key Niagara Region Public Health guidelines to remember:

  • Limit the number of guests at gatherings
  • Maintain a safe physical distance of two metres
  • Wash and sanitize your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Wear a mask and wear it properly
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days when returning from travel outside Canada

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