A huge outdoor party at the University of Victoria on Sunday night is raising questions about the lack of COVID-19 restrictions as students head back to school.
Saanich police said about 1,000 people, most of them with no masks on, were crowded together for the party.
As there are no current restrictions on outdoor gatherings, wearing masks or physical distancing, police said officers only issued two tickets for liquor violations for underage drinking.
Campus Security said police conducted 50 pour-outs of liquor.
The university, however, is asking students to “act responsibly and not gather in large numbers.
“The start of term is an exciting time on a university campus and building new social connections is a critical part of that experience. We appreciate those students who are acting responsibly and ask those involved in the incident last night to stop behaving in a manner that puts our fall return to campus at risk,” Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president of Student Affairs, said in a release.
Videos and photos shared with Global News by The Martlet show huge groups of students gathered on the streets and on balconies after move-in day this past weekend.
“We have worked hard for a healthy, safe and successful fall term,” Dunsdon said. “We know that our students want the same.
“By holding or attending large, unstructured parties, students increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Their behaviour is unacceptable and puts at risk students, our employees, our instructors and our local community.”
This week, the University of Victoria is implementing a program requiring all students, staff and faculty to confidentially declare their vaccination status.
On-campus vaccination clinics start Tuesday, Sept. 7.
As part of the province-wide mandate, masks are required for all indoor public spaces including classrooms, labs, and common areas such as hallways and stairwells.
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