Update (Monday, Apr. 19, 2021)
Breakwater park will remain closed for another week, according to Mayor Bryan Paterson.
Initially closed for 10 days on Friday, Apr. 9, 2021, in response to a COVID-19 outbreak in the University District and large gatherings that were taking place in the park.
“Breakwater Park will remain closed for another week, and then we’ll look to implement measures that will ensure a safe reopening at that time,” Mayor Paterson said on Monday, Apr. 19, 2021.
There are currently 94 active cases of COVID-19 in the KFL&A region, with over 40 per cent of recently reported cases involving variants of concern.
Following the announcement of a COVID-19 outbreak in the University District, the City of Kingston has announced the closure of Breakwater Park, the waterfront park along King Street adjacent to the University District.
This comes after hundreds of students gathered in the park on Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021, the same day the outbreak was announced, and prompted leaders at Queen’s and from the local hospitals to speak out about the need to adhere to current protocols under the stay-at-home order – the local ICU is already operating beyond capacity, they relayed.
In response, Mayor Paterson announced the temporary closure of one of the city’s most used parks.
“I have issued an emergency order to close Breakwater Park effective today for a 10-day period. This timeline coincides with students move-out, but can be extended if needed. As one of our most popular community parks, closing it is a last resort,” Mayor Paterson stated in a press release on Friday, Apr. 9, 2021.
“Yesterday, however, we saw troubling instances of overcrowding, which is especially concerning given the current outbreak in the nearby University District,” he continued. “We also know that enforcement is challenging when crowds get that large, especially since the provincial order does allow for multiple outdoor gatherings of up to five people. For this reason, Breakwater Park is being fenced off, but we look forward to reopening this waterfront park as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
The emergency order will see the park close for a 10 day period beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 9, 2021. City workers are currently on site erecting fencing to close the north, east, and west boundaries of the park. City Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police will be closely monitoring other parks in proximity to the University District, the City of Kingston said.
“The Province’s Stay-at-Home order allows people to leave their homes to use public amenities that are permitted to remain open. This emergency order means people will not be permitted to use Breakwater Park for the next 10 days. Anyone using Breakwater Park, even alone, is now subject to fines,” the City said.
The City is reminding residents that those who fail to maintain physical distancing at any City-owned park can be issued a $2,060 Penalty Notice on the spot under the City’s AMPs for failure to comply with an emergency order. This includes anyone who enters the closed area of Breakwater Park. Any fines issued under the City’s AMPs can be paid and appealed directly through the City.
The City advises residents who witness concerning gatherings to contact the Kingston Police non-emergency number at 613-549-4660.