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Kingston-area medical officer of health echoes Ontario Tourism Minister for staycations

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Short-term rentals are allowed to resume operations in Ontario as of Friday, another step in the province’s phased reopening.

With lodges, cabins, cottages, homes and bed-and-breakfast rentals all included, Tourism Minister Lisa Macleod is asking Ontarians to support local businesses and take “staycations.”

READ MORE: Too fast, too soon? How we’ll know whether Ontario reopened at the right time

It’s a message echoed by the region’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore.

“We really have to be prudent about travel and the risk of spreading this disease across Ontario again and it really depends on key messages as you open up the economy of staying local,” Moore said.

“Shopping local, supporting local and enjoying, for example, the Great Lakes and waterways of KFL & A (Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington) this summer.”

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Nigel and Tessa Dearsley own and operate the Green Woods Inn in Kingston East. They say the only visitor they’ve seen since COVID-19 erupted was a robin and her new family that’s built a nest at their front door.

Nigel says they could have opened on Friday, but that won’t happen as the guidelines to do so just aren’t clear.

“The application to get funding assistance isn’t clear,” he said.

“It took several attempts for us to go through that process, too, and it seems that everybody has good intentions but the clarification just isn’t there at the moment.”

READ MORE: Decision on 2nd stage of reopening could come within next week, Premier Ford says

Andrew Kelm is the owner and operator of Ahoy Rentals on the Kingston waterfront. He says they’re ready to open on  Saturday.

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“I’m feeling good, the amount of things required to the regular picking-up of equipment was a little bit more this year,” Kelm said.

“I’m mixed: I’m feeling fortunate that I am allowed to open, I think it will be busy, but we don’t have any tourists but we do have a lot of locals so I think it will be good.”

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And so do others like Moore.

Nigel Dearsley put it best: “the world has changed and we’ve got to learn to change with it.” For many, truer words were never spoken.

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