City of Kingston waives hourly parking fees in response to COVID-19 pandemic

The city of Kingston is waiving all parking fees in light of COVID-19 fears. Taz Dhaliwal

The city of Kingston, Ont., has made the decision to waive all hourly parking fees on city streets in response to concerns over the novel coronavirus.

“We recognize that daily travel patterns for many in our community have changed and we want to ensure that parking remains available and accessible to those who require it,” a city news release read.

READ MORE: City waives parking time restrictions to accommodate busy health care professionals

Until further notice, people parking on city street, in public parking lots and parking garages will not have to pay, the city said.

“All public parking will remain open to serve the downtown and hospital areas. Gates at city parking garages will be lifted to allow vehicles to enter and exit without making payment,” the city said.

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These changes are effective as of Thursday afternoon.

Earlier this week, the city decided to cut transit services in half due to COVID-19 concerns. Some hospital workers complained this forced them to drive downtown, or travel to work on even more crowded buses, making social distancing an issue.

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On Wednesday, the city lifted their usual two-hour restrictions on all city streets to address some of these concerns. An extra bus that led to the Queen’s University and hospital area was added earlier this week as well.

But Thursday, the city decided to stop requiring payments for parking altogether.

“Parking demand is expected to remain high in areas that surround hospitals, particularly for accessible parking spaces and short-term parking zones. We ask that residents keep in mind the needs of others when selecting a parking location and, where possible, park in areas that have lower demand.”

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Kingston, Ont. temporarily allows residents to put out more garbage

The city will also be lifting the overnight winter parking regulations effective immediately, which usually stay in place until March 31.

Also on Wednesday, the city announced all passengers taking Kingston Transit buses would have to board from the back entrance, and would not have to pay.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend social distancing, frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.