KFL&A Public Health Board pushes to keep Canadian-US border closed

Photo by Lucas Mulder.

Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health’s Board of Health passed a motion on Wednesday, Jun. 24 2020 to encourage a continuation of the border closure between Canada and the United States. 

The motion was presented and will be addressed to Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, Kingston & the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen, and other ministers involved in the decision-making process. It calls on municipalities in the region to lobby with KFL&A public health to keep the border closed. 

It reads:

“The Canadian-US Border remains closed until the US covid-19 rates drop below r-naught of less than one and less than five per cent positive rate of suspect cases for COVID-19, and that all returning travellers continue to be mandated to self-isolate for 14 days under the Quarantine Act, where-as the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario is currently under control with an r-naught of 0.8, and whereas easing restrictions must be done in accordance with the standards such as ones developed by Ontario and WHO, and whereas the US COVID-19 pandemic is poorly controlled and does not meet standards by set by Ontario and WHO, and whereas opening the Canada-US Border increases the risk of transmission to Canadians, now therefore be it resolved that KFL&A Public Health call upon the municipalities within the region to advocate for the continued closure of the Canadian-US border until the COVID-19 pandemic is better controlled.”

R-naught (R0) is the reproductive number of the virus, and indicates how easily it can spread from person to person. It represents the number of people, on average, that one infected person will spread the virus to.

The Board’s Vice-Chair, Wess Garrod, said he feels this is an excellent letter that needs to be supported.

“I know from personal experience,” he said. “I’ve got some friends who spend the winter in Florida… Last week they said ‘Oh it’s so great up here. We’ve got so many friends in Florida that, as soon as the border opens, they want to come up, because it’s safer.’”

He said this type of thing that could happen easily.

“It just changes everything we’ve been doing… That’s not fair for Canadians, so I really support this,” Garrod concluded.

Denis Doyle, the Chair of the KFL&A Public Health board, echoed his statement.

“We’re quite worried that all that we’ve done could be thrown out the window very quickly if they open that border,” he said. 

The motion passed unanimously.

Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

One thought on “KFL&A Public Health Board pushes to keep Canadian-US border closed

  • It is interesting to note that Americans can still be in downtown Kingston right off their boat. What precautions are being taken to ensure they are not bringing in the virus from NY state??

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