As the number of COVID-19 cases in the region sees a sharp increase this week, some Kingston restaurant servers are now concerned for their health, being exposed to several customers a day while working — including tourists.
“It is a little scary especially with the spike in cases in Kingston,” said Morgan Shields, a server at Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse in downtown Kingston.
As part of their job, servers have to be in close contact with different people all the time. That appears to come with its own challenges, as Shields says not all customers are local.
“Probably more than half of our guests have been from out of town which we knew was going to happen which is a little scary,” Shields said.
The region has not seen more than three new cases in one day since early May.
According to Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington public health, however, there have been 18 active cases in the last seven days.
That spike has been linked back to an outbreak at a Binh’s Nail Salon in Kingston. The uptick comes as no surprise to many in the region’s restaurant industry, who are now seeing an rise in the influx of tourists.
“I did expect that we would have tourists and I definitely expected that the cases would not stay at zero,” said Tera Pain, the general manager of Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse.
The medical officer of health for KFL&A , Dr. Kieran Moore, said it’s normal to expect more COVID-19 cases as the region entered into Stage 2, with patios, indoor malls and salons reopening.
However, Dr. Moore says that doesn’t mean people from across the border should be visiting.
“Wherever anyone is from, whether it’s Toronto, Montreal or south of the border, we have to set our community standard and ask our community to maintain it for the safety of each and every one of us,” Dr. Moore said.
As of Friday, two employees at The Rustic Spud, a local restaurant, tested positive for the virus. Now the restaurant has had to shut down once again.
“I may be a little nervous… But it’s good to go and get tested and I did. It was only a three-hour wait,” said Chris Whyman, who spent time on their patio last week.
According to a Facebook post by the the Rustic Spud, all staff from the restaurant have been tested and are currently awaiting results.
An employee at the Amherstview Golf Club has also tested positive for the virus after working on the patio. The club’s patio is now closed.
While some Kingstonians are still concerned that visitors from out of town could further the spread of COVID-19 in the city, Dr. Moore recommends everyone wear masks in public and still practice physical distancing measures.
— With files from Global News’ Alexandra MazurView link »