In response to new regulations and the declaration of a second provincial state of emergency, Kingston Police, City Bylaw Enforcement and KFL&A Public Health released a statement on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 reminding residents that preventing the spread of COVID-19 remains a collaborative community effort.
“In the KFL&A area, public health restrictions, paired with the diligence and sacrifices of local residents has helped to keep case rates relatively stable,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “While this new order changes the parameters around enforcement, it doesn’t change what you have already been doing—stay the course. The continued vigilance of residents is essential to help keep our community safe and lift public health restrictions as soon as possible.”
In the statement, the City of Kingston said that essential workers in healthcare are working around the clock to fight COVID-19, and we need to do everything we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Kingston area by limiting contact with others.
The Province of Ontario’s new regulations, listed below, enhance public health measures, reduce increasing case counts and reduce the load on the health care system across the province.
What you need to know about the new Provincial regulations
The new provincial regulations are intended to reduce the number of contacts individuals have with those outside of their immediate household, according to the statement.
The new Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) orders direct individuals to remain at home and only leave when necessary, such as to obtain goods or services from businesses that are still allowed to be open. Residents are also permitted to use curbside pick up to support local businesses in a safe manner and can travel for banking, accessing government services and going to appointments at businesses permitted to be open, according to the statement. Travelling for work is permitted if remote work is not possible and a letter from an employer is not required to support this. Individuals may also leave their residence for exercise, such as to take their dog for a walk. Amenities such as the Springer Market Square Rink, parks and trails are available for residents to enjoy, but it is recommended to wear a mask if you’re unable to maintain a 2m distance from others while outside, the City said in the statement.
Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement officers are authorized to:
- Issue tickets or fines for:
- indoor gatherings involving individuals who do not live together or outdoor gatherings of more than five people who do not live together; and
- refusing to wear a face mask or physically distance at least 2 metres in the premises of a business or organization.
- Disperse illegal gatherings when groups do not voluntarily disperse by issuing additional fines for obstruction.
- Failure to comply with a provincial emergency order could result in a $750 fine.
- Failure to comply with a municipal emergency order could result in a $2000 fine.
- Obstructing police or bylaw enforcement from performing their duty could result in a $1,000 fine.
- Hosting an illegal gathering, as defined by the province, could result in a $10,000 charge upon conviction
“We understand that many residents have questions about these new changes,” says Kyle Compeau, Manager of Licensing and Enforcement for the City of Kingston. “When considering when to leave your residence, consider the importance of minimizing contacts to keep yourself and others safe. We are counting on voluntary cooperation from residents, but will issue fines if necessary.”
Responsively addressing high-risk behaviours
Community enforcement partners continue to take a measured approach that has assisted, and continues to assist, in keeping COVID-19 infection rates low, according to the statement.
“The shared goal for our community has always been one of informed and voluntary compliance with emergency regulations through education; with enforcement required when necessary and where it poses a risk to public health and workplace safety,” states Chief of Police Antje McNeely. “We commend the vast majority of residents who have taken the personal responsibility to adhere to measures put in place for the well-being of our entire population. Our focus remains on those few in the community who pose the greatest public health risk by purposely and blatantly disregarding these emergency orders.”
Kingston Police, Bylaw Enforcement, and Public Health will continue to respond to resident concerns.
- If a complaint is received, Bylaw Enforcement or Kingston Police will be dispatched to investigate.
- Please report potential COVID-19 violations to Kingston Police’s non-emergency number 613-549-4660 and not dial 9-1-1.
- There is currently no curfew, and police will not be randomly stopping residents or vehicles to check on compliance with the Province’s Stay-at-Home order
- Kingston Police continue to respond to calls for service, conduct vehicle stops for traffic violations, and coordinate R.I.D.E. programs to combat impaired driving.
- See the Government of Ontario’s list of COVID-19 public health measures and restrictions: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions
- Find answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and enforcement on KFL&A Public Health’s site: https://www.kflaph.ca/en/healthy-living/covid-19-enforcement.aspx
- A list of applicable reasons for leaving your residence can be found online here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r21011?search=Rules+for+areas+in+stage+1#_blank
- Stay up-to-date with the City’s COVID-19 precautions at: www.Cityofkingston.ca/Resident/COVID-19