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Coronavirus: What’s cancelled, postponed and still running in Kingston

A dedicated COVID-19 assessment center has now opened in Kingston
Kingston public health officials say, at this point, only residents who have recently traveled, will be assessed or tested for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, KFL&A Public Health announced the first three cases of the novel coronavirus in Kingston. Even before this announcement, many local organizations decided to cancel services and events that involve gatherings to avoid the potential spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Despite the new cases, Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer for health at KFL&A Public Health, says the risk of contracting the virus is low. Nevertheless, public health is still advising people take precautions to protect themselves, like frequent handwashing, avoiding touching your nose and mouth and staying home when you are sick.

READ MORE: Canada’s House of Commons suspending for 5 weeks as officials battle coronavirus spread

Kingston’s public health unit is not testing for the virus. A dedicated COVID-19 testing centre has opened at Hotel Dieu Hospital, but only those who have travelled in the last two weeks will be swabbed for the virus if they are showing symptoms like coughing, fever or tightness in the chest.

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A dedicated COVID-19 assessment center has now opened in Kingston
A dedicated COVID-19 assessment center has now opened in Kingston

Dr. Kieran Moore, chief medical officer at KFL&A Public Health, says that the vast majority of other respiratory infections will resolve themselves on their own. If you are feeling ill, he said, stay home and stay away from work until 24 hours after you stop showing symptoms.

There is currently a flu outbreak in Kingston, and therefore, those who have not travelled in the last 14 days and are showing respiratory symptoms could possibly have the flu.

READ MORE: Ontario government declares state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

Otherwise, KFL&A Public Health is advising anyone who has travelled in the last two weeks to self-isolate for a period of two weeks after they returned home.

“This recommendation is retroactive for any individuals that have returned from travel outside of Canada (e.g., if you returned 7 days ago, you would self-isolate for the next 7 days),” the public health agency said.

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As for events, classes and gatherings, many have been cancelled or postponed in the city, but others continue to run. Check out our list below to help you plan the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — All publicly funded schools in Ontario closing for 2 weeks due to COVID-19

Provincial closures for state of emergency

On Tuesday, premier Doug Ford announced the province is currently under a state of emergency, leading to the closure and cancellations of certain services.

This means all gatherings of 50 or more people should be cancelled, and facilities providing recreational programs, all libraries, private schools , licensed child care centres, bars and restaurants (takeout and delivery excluded) and theatres, cinemas and concert venues must close.

Changes in Utilities Kingston services

Time-of-use electricity rates and schedules continue to apply. These rates are set by the Ontario Energy Board, not your local utility company. Premier Doug Ford has indicated he is working with the Minister of Energy on the issue. Meanwhile, the Ontario Ministry of Energy has indicated it’s looking at programs and policies to best support electricity customers during this difficult time, and that information will be available in the coming days. Utilities Kingston is closely monitoring the situation.

Planned power outages are postponed

To help relieve some hardship for customers during this uncertain and difficult time, Utilities Kingston is postponing any non-essential planned power outages. This includes the wide-area outage planned in the University District and Alwington area on March 22.

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Utilities Kingston is also suspending non-critical programs and services until further notice, to help protect the health and safety of employees, and contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

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The following are some of the programs and services that are suspended:

  •  All public tours of our facilities.
  • The preventative plumbing program. If your existing application will be placed on hold, Utilities Kingston will contact you by email.
  • Proactive water, gas and electricity meter replacement programs. Urgent meter issues will be addressed and can be reported 24/7 to 613-546-1181.
  • Any other non-critical programs that require a visit from our employees to a home or business.

Restricted access at Kingston Police Services headquarters

Kingston Police are asking the public to avoid attending the front desk of the police station, located at 705 Division Street, unless absolutely necessary.

Members of the community can still access many services via the Kingston Police website or by calling the non-emergency number of 613-549-4660.

  •  Online reporting is available for 14 different categories here or by contact the general number at 613-549-4660 ext. 0
  •  For background checks, online applications can still be processed via this link. Once confirmed ready for pick-up, background checks can be obtained in person only between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.. Monday through Friday. If an applicant needs to be fingerprinted to complete a vulnerable sector check, the completion of their check will be delayed.
  • Kingston Police have suspended fingerprinting services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • As of March 17, the collision reporting centre’s normal hours of operation are still in effect and its office is open.
    • Those involved in a collision where police are not required can attend the visitor parking lot at 705 Division St and first contact reporting centre personnel by calling 613-540-6653 to inquire about their services, if there has been any change in their operation, and whether they are required to enter the lobby.
    •  Full information on the CRC can be found here.
  • Individuals required to sign-in at the front desk are still mandated to attend but can show their identification to staff through the glass partition.
  • Those who have made arrangements with an investigator to attend the station for an interview or to surrender themselves relating to an outstanding charge or warrant will be asked to complete an active screening checklist before entering police facilities. Depending on the risk factors, people may be required to wear a provided surgical or procedure mask.

In an emergency always dial 911, but do not use it for general inquiries or to report a non-emergency. Communications personnel need to be available for priority calls.

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Transit and travel disruption:

Effective Thursday, March 19, Kingston Transit passengers are asked to board and exit buses using the back doors. Passengers with accessibility needs can continue to use the front doors for boarding and exiting, but are asked to limit their interactions with bus operators.

Kingston Transit will not be accepting cash fares or paper transfers from passengers boarding at the back of the bus, and passengers will not be required to tap their transit passes at this time.

This change is in place until April 5, 2020 and protects the health and safety of bus operators.

As of Tuesday, March 17, Kingston Transit buses will be operating on a Saturday schedule all days of the week except for Sunday, which will keep its regular schedule.

“The most significant change is a reduction in the frequency of trips on express routes on weekdays, with buses running every 30 minutes. Real-time apps will not reflect these changes,” the city said in a tweet Monday morning.

Coronavirus outbreak: ‘This is not a provincial shutdown’, Ford says
Coronavirus outbreak: ‘This is not a provincial shutdown’, Ford says

Check the city’s website for the new weekday schedules.

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Also starting Tuesday, Via Rail announced it will be significantly cutting down on services on its rail lines between Windsor, Ont., and Quebec City, Que.

“As a result of significant reductions in passenger volumes experienced in the last week, combined with the need to deploy our resources to more effectively deal with the pandemic, as of Tuesday, March 17, services will be reduced by 50 per cent in the Québec City-Windsor corridor.”

Hospital limitations

Kingston Health Sciences Centre started limiting visitors for patients at the Kingston General Hospita and at the Hotel Dieu Hospital to one person per patient.

They are also encouraging any visitors who may be feeling unwell not to come to the hospital.

Both hospitals will also be limiting entrances to their facilities, and staff will be screening and questioning those who enter about their health history.

For KGH, patients and family members should be entering the main Kidd/Davies entrance on Stuart Street. Exceptions to that rule are patients of the cancer centre, the renal and kidney program and the mental health and addiction program — these people should enter through the King Street entrance. Those needing emergency services should still enter through the emergency department.

READ MORE: Live updates: Coronavirus in Canada

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As for Hotel Dieu Hospital, most patients are being told to access the hospital through the main entrance on Brock Street. Ears, nose and throat clinic patients should continue to use the Murray Building entrance, whereas patients with mobility aids may continue to use the entrance at the Access Bus drop-off point. Patients needing urgent care can still use the urgent care centre entrance.

Amenities for the vulnerable sector

James’ Valu-Mart, in the city’s east-end has decided to open a half-hour early every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, starting this Thursday to allow shoppers who may be more susceptible to COVID-19, like the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems, to shop for their goods.

“Please understand and respect that this extra 30 mins is for the elderly and/or for people with other underlying illnesses,” a Facebook post from the owner, James Van Wart said.,

Safe waste disposal

The city of Kingston is asking its residents to take extra care when putting their waste products out on the curb to help protect collectors from spreading COVID-19.

They are asking that residents follow these guidelines:

  • Place used tissues and napkins in the garbage and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Use liners for food waste placed in the green bin.
  • Bag all waste and do not place waste loosely in garbage containers.
  • If you’re sick, place all item that have come into contact with your mouth, nose or eyes into the garbage,  even items that you normally place into your blue or grey box, such as water and beverage bottles, pop cans or milk and juice cartons.
1 Grand Princess passenger tests positive for coronavirus following quarantine at CFB Trenton
1 Grand Princess passenger tests positive for coronavirus following quarantine at CFB Trenton

On Wednesday, the city of Kingston implemented the following changes:

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To access solid waste services, the city is asking residents to abide by the following directives:

  • The truck scale and the recycling depot remain open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. but will now be closed Saturdays.
  • The yard waste depot remains open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Buy bag tags online or at one of the locations listed here (while supplies last and/or location remains open). Commercial businesses will not be sold/mailed bag tags.
  • While supplies last, Blue and Grey boxes are available in the payment centre at City Hall, 216 Ontario St.
  • Open houses and tours of KARC are cancelled.
  • OSKAR, the mobile event recycler, is not available. Have an upcoming event that may be affected? Email OSKAR@cityofkingston.ca.
  • The opening of the Household Hazardous Waste Depot will be delayed.
  • Need a medical exemption from the one-bag limit? Fill in this application and direct it to hroberts@cityofkingston.ca. The receipt of bag tags may be delayed.
  • Multi-residential condominium and commercial garbage disposal information and applications can be found here. Email applications to tbest@cityofkingston.ca.

Temporary closures for amenities, organizations and services

  • The Kingston Humane Society will be closing to the general public. Adoptions will take place by appointment only, and staff will continue to care for the animals. All surrenders of animals by owners will be suspended. All volunteers have been asked to stay home indefinitely. The human society will continue to accept animals from their municipal partners,Kingston, North, Central and South Frontenac, Loyalist Township, Stone Mills Township and Gananoque, and will also continue to work directly with provincial animal welfare officers.
  • Public access to all Kingston Fire & Rescue stations, headquarters, and the training centre has been suspended until further notice.
  • The city of Kingston has announced, starting March 17 and ending April 5, it will be closing all recreation facilities and suspend all programming and facility bookings at:
    • Artillery Park Aquatic Centre
    • Cataraqui Community Centre
    • Centre 70
    • INVISTA Centre
    • Memorial Centre
    • Rideau Heights Community Centre
  • The Cataraqui Conservation Administration Office will be closed to the general public until Tuesday, April 14. Staff will be available during regular business hours of 8:30am-4:30pm.
    •  The Outdoor Centre at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area is closed to the general public until Tuesday, April 14. This includes all education and weekend programs.
    • Programs and services, including Cataraqui Conservation’s flood forecasting and warning operations and planning and permitting services, remain active, with staff available by telephone or email.
  • All Kingston, Frontenac Public Library locations will be closed until April 5.
  • GoodLife and Fit4Less have shut down operations across the country.
  • The YMCA of Eastern Ontario, which includes the Kingston and Brockville sites, closed its doors for three weeks starting March 15.
  • The Kingston Seniors Association has suspended operations for three weeks, starting March 16. See more information here.
  • The Kingston Day Care says they will be closing all of their programs, starting March 16 until April 5. An email sent to parents read: “The closure is in response to an order from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer announcing the closure of school across Ontario. The decision to close the schools directly impacts our programs.  We feel that it is our moral obligation to support this decision to help to contain the spread of COVID 19 therefore all KDC programs will be closed.”
  • Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston will be closed to the public until further notice. CFB Kingston says they will be closing the Kingston Military Community Sports Centre and cancelling all associated sports and recreation programs, as well as all base messes and service clubs, the Communications and Electronics Museum and  all base chapels.
  • Addiction and Mental Health Services for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington support group services have been cancelled. Other services are still running.
  • All Trillium Gymnastic Club programs have been cancelled between March 14 and April 5.
  • The National Air Force Museum of Canada will be closed to the public from March 16 until April 6, 2020.
  • The Maltby Centre has decided to suspend face-to-face services with their clients for three weeks beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. The organization is still offering service by telephone or by video.
  • All lululemon stores are closed across Canada and the United States.
  • All Ontario Superior Courts are closed as of March 17.
  • The Boys and Girls Club will be closing all operations as of March 17, until April 5 including after school, evening, PA Day, Bricks4Kidz and educational programming, as well as EarlyON and Big Brothers Big Sisters programs. Facilities will no longer remain open for regular tenant users, rentals and birthday parties.
  • All Hudson Bay locations are closed for the time being.

Education disruption

  • Queen’s University and St. Lawrence announced they will be cancelling all classes during March break. Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences has cancelled all academic conferences, and the university has cancelled all alumni events until the end of the academic year.
  • Both institutions have also announced they will be moving to online courses for all students after the break. They are advising all faculty who are not considered essential services to not come to campus. St. Lawrence Colllege is asking all students living on campus to leave, save international students who cannot. Queen’s is suggesting students living on campus find other accommodations.
  • On Thursday, Minister for Education Stephen Lecce announced all publicly funded elementary and high schools would be closed for two weeks following March break, which means all Ontario schools have been ordered to be closed from March 14 to April 5.
Coronavirus outbreak: Toronto health official urges restaurants, bars to move to delivery, take-out
Coronavirus outbreak: Toronto health official urges restaurants, bars to move to delivery, take-out

Sports cancellations

  • All OHL games have been suspended until further notice, which means the Kingston Frontenacs will not be playing. In a statement sent out Thursday, when the provincewide decision was made, the Frontenacs said the cancellation was in the best interest of the “health and safety” of their fans.
  • The novice hockey championship has been cancelled. The Ontario Minor Hockey Association Novice AA and A level championships scheduled for Kingston are no longer happening.

Events cancelled or postponed

  • Maple Madness has been cancelled, starting effective immediately. The event did take place over this past weekend, but will not be running through March break or for the rest of the month.
  • The United Way KFL&A Next Gen Masquerade charity event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. The event, which was meant to take place on March 14, was a fundraiser for the not-for-profit and also featured a silent auction. Those items can still be bid on here, but the event will not be taking place.
  • The Kingston Canadian Film Festival has been cancelled. All screenings and events scheduled to begin on Thursday or later were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • March of Museums, meant to take place over March break at Kingston’s many museums, has now been cancelled.
  • The Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Science Fair has been cancelled. The event was supposed to take place over March 26 and 27.
  • All events at the Grand Theatre has been cancelled effectively March 13.
  • Kingston Area Seed System Initiative’s Seedy Saturday, meant to take place March 14 at Loyalist Vocational Collegiate Institute was cancelled.
  • The Kingston Humane Society’s ‘Bowl for the Animals’ event, set to take place April 5, is cancelled. Instead, people are asked to pledge and raise funds virtually by following this link.
  • Kingston’s Rail O Rama Model Train Show, which was scheduled to take place March 14, was cancelled.
  • The St Patrick’s Day dinner at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, scheduled for this Sunday, March 15, was cancelled.
  • The St. George’s Cathedral Chamber Orchestra and Concert Choir concert, which was meant to take place this March 14 at 7:30 p.m., was cancelled.
  • The Kingston Chamber Choir has cancelled its concert, Inner Child, scheduled to take place at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on April 19.
  • H’art Centre is postponing its upcoming production, Small Things, meant to be performed April 17 and 18 at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. H’art hopes to show the production later in the year.
  • The Almost Home Charity Gala has been cancelled.
  • The 1000 Islands Writers Festival has been cancelled. The organization will be refunding all tickets.

READ MORE: Queen’s students told not to gather for St. Patrick’s Day street parties

What’s still on:

  • All LCBO and The Beer Store locations will remain open, despite the state of emergency across the province.
  • The Wolfe Island and Glenora ferries are still operating, but staff are asking that people stay in their vehicles if they are driving, or if walking on, keep at least a two-metre distance from others on the ferry.
  • All Cataraqui Conservation trails, such as those in Little Cataraqui Creek, Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, Lyn Valley, Marshlands, Lemoine Point, Parrott’s Bay, Gould Lake and the Cataraqui Trail will remain open.
  • The Cataraqui Centre remains open, but certain stores within it are closed, such as Lush, which has closed Canada-wide. Nevertheless, the mall has implemented reduced store hours. Weekdays, the mall will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays it will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, it will open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The Sexual Assault Centre Kingston will remain open, but group counselling programs are on pause until April 6. Regular counselling will be held at a distance or by phone.
  • Some services offered through Addiction and Mental Health Services for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington continue, but officials are advising that those who visit the offices take extreme caution if they show any symptoms of the virus. All support group services have been cancelled.
This is an evolving list and will be updated as more information becomes available. Please send any information about cancellations to newswatch@corusent.com.