fbpx

Kingston to move into Orange Level of COVID-19 restrictions

KFL&A Public Health headquarters. Kingstonist file photo.

The Provincial government has announced that the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health region will move into the Orange-Restrict level of COVID-19 safety measures on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.

Kingston’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said he was still waiting to hear more from the provincial government during an afternoon press conference on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020.

“I was expecting an announcement today to move into Orange, and we were going to communicate that to our partners, but it appears right now that that has stopped,” Dr. Moore said at 3:30 p.m.

The province has imposed a regional approach to COVID-19 restrictions, with five coloured phases ranging from green to grey affecting different areas. Kingston has been at the second-lowest level of restriction, “Yellow: Protect” since Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.

“I get consulted on a Wednesday by the Chief Medical Officer of Health,” Dr. Moore said. “We review our numbers. I have told him that, based on our numbers, absolutely I think we should be in Orange. Then cabinet meets on a Friday and makes a declaration. Then we get put into the new phase on Sunday at midnight,” he said. The annoucement came late in the afternoon, at 4:30 p.m.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford also made an announcement Friday afternoon that the provincial leadership team would spend the weekend deliberating possible new province-wide COVID-19 restrictions, to be announced Monday, Dec. 21, 2020.

“Everything is on the table,” Doug Ford tweeted early Friday morning.

“It seems that … over the weekend cabinet is really looking at a new approach for all of Ontario, and there may be further public health measures put in play by Monday,” Dr. Moore said. “It really depends on their analysis.”

Dr. Moore said he is hoping to see regional travel restrictions as part of the plan, and that constituents in areas with the highest burden of illness stay within 100 km of home.

“I absolutely see that the rates are not coming down for the GTA, which is disappointing to see. The case counts and the impact on the health system continue to rise,” he said. “For our region it’s been travel in every instance that’s brought the virus to us and enabled it to spread within our community. So I think limiting travel is essential if we’re going to get a handle on the virus.”

He said the difference in criteria for Yellow and Orange levels is “multi-factoral,” but that our rate of infection certainly meets the Orange standard.

“I am comfortable to say publicly that our rates should be coming down,” he noted. “Queen’s students are leaving and that was a big burden. That was 57 of the cases that we were managing.”

While the rate will come down, he said he thinks further Public Health restrictions at this point would be appropriate to better set the region up for January and February, when he anticipates possible case spikes.

Outside of Queen’s, he added that KFL&A is still managing multiple point-source outbreaks.

The new restrictions effect operations at restaurants, bars and gyms but Dr. Moore noted that these have not been a significant source of transmission in the community.

“Yes we had some limited spread in one or two gyms, but they have taken all the precautions we’ve asked, we have reinspected and they have been good in maintaining them,” he said.

“We had that fast food issue earlier in the month but we did not see any spread to the public in that instance. It was behind the counter, in a few locations.” He noted that Public Health tested over 2,000 restaurant workers in a single week and found no positive cases.

“I have to applaud our businesses, they’ve done well and I hope we can continue to support them,” he said.

On Thursday, Dec. 16, 2020 the Ontario Hospital Association publicly called on the Premier to extend an immediate lockdown to every jurisdiction with a positivity rate greater than 40 per 100,000. This would include the KFL&A area.

For now, however, Dr. Moore said we will all just have to wait and see.

“They’re still working on it, and will be working on it all weekend,” he said.

Orange – Restirct guidelines

Organized public events, social gatherings and wedding, funeral and religious services, rites and ceremonies

  • Limits for certain organized public events and social gatherings such as functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks, where physical distancing can be maintained:
  • 10 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors
  • Limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained:
  • 50 people indoors
  • 100 people outdoors
  • Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, where physical distancing can be maintained (applied in any venue other than a private dwelling):
  • 30% capacity of the room indoors
  • 100 people outdoors


Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

  • Capacity limits, where physical distancing can be maintained:
  • 50 patrons seated indoors
  • Outdoor dining, takeout, drive through and delivery permitted, including alcohol
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2 metres minimum or impermeable barrier required between tables
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions
  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • No buffet style service
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required
  • Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only
  • Personal protective equipment, including eye protection, required when is a worker must come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering
  • Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Limit volume of music (to be no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Night clubs and strip clubs only permitted to operate as a restaurant or bar
  • A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request


Sports and recreational fitness facilities

  • Maintain 2 metres physical distancing, unless engaged in a sport
  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres in areas where there are weights or exercise equipment and in exercise and fitness classes
  • Capacity limits, where physical distancing can be maintained:
  • Maximum of 50 people total in indoor areas with weights and exercise machines and all indoor classes, however each indoor fitness or exercise class can only have a maximum of 10 people and must take place in a separate room, or
  • 100 people in outdoor classes, however each outdoor fitness or exercise class can only have a maximum of 25 people
  • No spectators permitted, however each person under 18 may be accompanied by one parent or guardian
  • Team or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact; 50 people per league
  • Exemptions for high performance athletes and parasports
  • Patrons may only be in the facility for 90 minutes except if engaging in a sport
  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible; measures to prevent shouting by both instructors and members of the public
  • Face coverings required except when exercising or playing sports
  • Require contact information for all members of the public that enter the facility
  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request


Meeting and event spaces

  • Capacity limit for the venue, where physical distancing can be maintained:
  • 50 people indoors or
  • 100 people outdoors
  • Limits for wedding, funeral and religious services, rites or ceremonies apply if held in meeting and event spaces:
  • 30% capacity of the room indoors
  • 100 people outdoors
  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted
  • Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Limit of 4 people may be seated together
  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request
  • Exceptions for court and government services


Retail

  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required
  • Limit volume of music to be no low enough that a normal conversation is possible
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • For malls a safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request


Personal care services

  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, bath houses and other adult venues, closed
  • Sensory deprivation pods closed (some exceptions)
  • Services requiring removal of face coverings prohibited
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request


Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

  • Maximum of 50 people per facility permitted, where physical distancing can be maintained
  • Table games are prohibited
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request


Cinemas

  • Capacity limits per venue, where physical distancing can be maintained:
  • 50 people indoors or
  • 100 outdoors
  • Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions
  • A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request


Performing arts facilities

  • Capacity limits per venue, where physical distancing can be maintained:
  • 50 spectators indoors or
  • 100 spectators outdoors
  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • Performers and employees must maintain 2 metres physical distance except for purposes of the performance
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
  • Drive-in performances permitted
  • A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request
0 Shares

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.

Leave a Reply