Now not the time for weekend getaways, says Kingston’s top doc

KINGSTON, ONT. — As COVID-19 cases climb in places like Ottawa and Toronto, Kingston’s top doctor is asking residents from hot spots to stay away.

“You should not be traveling from a high-risk region to a low-risk region,” says Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

Kingston is halfway between the two COVID-19 hotspots. The city has low rates of infection, and indoor dining is allowed in restaurants, making Kingston an attractive getaway.

But Moore says coming and going from Kingston increases the risk for those that live in the city.

“We have to maintain that low risk by now limiting non-essential travel within our province, and across our jurisdiction,” he explains.

Moore says essential travel means only a family emergency, or for work.

Business owners tell CTV News Ottawa that they feel conflicted; they respect the safety rules but want the customers. However, they feel safe with the safety measures in place.

Melissa Greenham is the manager of Score Pizza, on Princess Street. She says about half of the restaurant’s business has been from people from out of town.

“As long as the guests coming in, we don’t really care where you’re from,” says Greenham. “Just be respectful of the mandates that are in place and allow us to keep what we have going, going.”

Alex Criss, Tango Nuevo’s manager, says she feels confident.

“The whole theme of it is just be smart. If you don’t feel well then don’t dine out. You’re not just risking yourself but you’re risking many other people and businesses,” she explains.

If people do have to come to the city, Abigail Hellier of Tourism Kingston says to do it responsibly.

“Ensure that you’re masking up, ensure that you are keeping physical distancing at all times, making sure you are staying within your bubble, so if you are traveling, you’re only traveling with those from within your household and not meeting up with other households,” she explains.

Hellier says that the city will continue to support businesses and put a focus on local tourism, because the next few months are critical.

“We were one of the top five cities in the country to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 because we have such a high population that works in the hospitality sector,” she explains. “We would like to keep that thriving, and that will only happen if people stay home if they are sick.”

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