Pandemic Parties Persist

For many post-secondary students, the desire to party is strong. Partying is almost necessary for them to make it through the semester.

The party scene will always be a part of the post-secondary experience, but what happens when you throw a pandemic in the mix?

It seems like a few students still indulge in a little partying now and then. However, many think hosting a party is too much of a risk — not for actually spreading the virus but for the potential fine.

With partygoers, party hosts and some outsiders attending parties and gatherings, it’s safe to say pandemic party culture is still an ongoing problem.

Daniel O’Sullivan, a second-year biomedical science student at the University of Ottawa, lives in the Sandy Hill area, where many uOttawa students call home during their term.

“I’ve seen a handful [of parties] since schools started,” says O’Sullivan. “Recently, there haven’t been too many but what I do see are groups of university students walking by, on their way to bars or back home, and the ByWard Market is so much worse. They will be waiting to get inside a bar or restaurant but totally not socially distanced or wearing masks until they go inside.”

Nash Hall, a first-year uOttawa psychology student who lives in the Sandy Hill area, had his share of hosting pandemic parties back in early October.

“I did not plan on having that many people over but it was before the new rules were set,” says Hall. “Looking back on it now, it might have been a bit stupid, but I trust that everyone was safe since I knew the majority of the people there. I was comfortable enough.”

One of his attendees, Aiden Glave, a first-year psychology and linguistics student at uOttawa, also lives near Sandy Hill.

“I felt comfortable knowing that I did my own research for the area and that COVID-19 is a threat that can be avoided with some common sense, social distancing, not sharing anything, washing your hands and wearing masks,” says Glave.

Ottawa Public Health put out a page for all things related to social gatherings and COVID-19 earlier this fall season.

The page covers holidays and celebrations, hosting and attending gatherings and the winter season, with new changes being made to accommodate Ontario’s release of new information on virus regulations. They recommend being Social Wise which stands for:

W – Wearing a mask where required or when you cannot keep a physical distance of two metres.

I – Isolating yourself from others when you are sick and getting tested if you have symptoms.

S – Staying two metres apart from those outside your household or chosen support person.

E – Exercising appropriate hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitizers, especially before touching your face.

Students choosing to party risk fines of up to $750 for attending parties, and upwards of $10,000 for hosting gatherings with more than 10 people.

As the year comes to an end and COVID-19 continues to surge through Ottawa, the post-secondary party life looks a little different. The question is, how long will it stay that way?

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