Pullman Police issue additional citations to party hosts violating COVID mandates

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PULLMAN, Wash. — The Pullman Police Department has issued additional infractions to people found partying and breaking COVID-19 mandates.

Officers have issued 10 Nuisance Party infractions in the last six days.

“Nuisance Party” is a local ordinance that prohibits anyone from hosting or otherwise allowing a gathering or party and permitting certain activities at that gathering or party. Prohibited activities include endangering the health of others, or activity that is unreasonably detrimental to public health.

Chief Gary Jenkins said this is an effort to slow the spread of the virus and reverse the trend of positive cases. Whitman County has seen a dramatic rise in cases over the past week, which the health department said is directly connected to students returning to the area. The majority of cases have been diagnosed in young people.

The police department first started with an education campaign and issued warnings to those found violating local mandate.

A release from PPD said they found “the need to begin an assertive enforcement stance on Nuisance Party violations, after the education portion was largely ignored.”

Of the violations issued, nine have been issued to party hosts on College Hill and one on Sunnyside Hill.

Those cited are given a $250 fine for a first offense and a minimum $350 fine for second and subsequent offenses.

Jenkins said the police department has heard students are charging a cover fee to help pay for those fines. Soon, Jenkins plans to go to city council to amend the ordinance, hoping they can also issue infractions to party-goers in violation.

He added that he feels about 70 percent of the academic population is complying to the rules.

“When the students are here, we treat them as part of the community. They are part of the community,” he said. “We ask them to act as responsible community members and just respect others in the community that are more vulnerable than they are.”

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