New COVID-19 restrictions for Kingston could come Friday

Downtown Kingston

New COVID-19 restrictions for Kingston could be announced as early as Friday after a sharp spike in new cases the past week. 

One new case of the virus was reported on Thursday in Kingston in a man in his 20's, the 29th new case reported since last Friday. 

With new cases going up quickly, Kingston is expected to move into the 'yellow-protect' zone of Ontario's colour-coded COVID-19 framework, one level below its current green status. 

This would mean restaurants and bars must stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m. and close by midnight, as well as limit the volume of music to maintain space. Recreation programs would also be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outside, while personal care service businesses would need to obtain contact information from all patrons

The announcement of new restrictions could come as early as Friday afternoon and Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to speak at 3:30 p.m. Friday. 

Speaking on FLY-FM, Kingston's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said while he understands the negative impact on businesses in the area, the priority remains keeping the community safe from COVID-19 and slowing the spread of the virus. 

"I think it's appropriate, it just raises the alert level in the community, it does have implications for business and I'm sorry for that," Moore said. 

Moore said Kingston meets the threshold for restrictions, which is over 10 cases per 100,000 people and said the positivity rate for tests in the area continues to go up. 

Earlier in the week, Kingston City Council voted to extend patio season for restaurants through the winter months to try and offer more space for businesses that have already been struggling because of COVID-19, a move Moore said he wasn't consulted on but that he 100 per cent approves of. 

"I absolutely support it, I mean outdoors trumps indoors and we certainly want our businesses to succeed, and we know what a difficult time its been with the lack of tourism in our area and it's impacted all major businesses," Moore said, adding businesses have been extremely flexible in adapting to new regulations. 

"We used to have a very thriving restaurant businesses and we want that to continue...we will work with them to ensure the public continues to be protected." 

Moore is once again asking residents to follow public health guidelines when it comes to social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene. 

He's expected to give an update on the situation at 3 p.m. Friday. 

Kingston has 28 active cases of COVID-19 as of Friday morning and zero patients are in hospital. 

Ontario reported 1,210 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 28 new deaths due to the virus, as 150 people are also in the Intensive Care Unit in hospitals across the province. Most of the province's cases have been reported in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region, which are expected to have more restrictions imposed on them on Friday.