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As daily cases spike, Kingston braces for further COVID-19 restrictions

Click to play video: 'Kingston prepares for further COVID-19 restrictions' Kingston prepares for further COVID-19 restrictions
WATCH: Kingston-area breaks single-day record for COVID-19 cases. – Dec 9, 2020

The Kingston, Ont., area continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday morning, the Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington announced 17 new cases overnight—making it a single-day record.

“I don’t have great news for the community; we had 17 new cases overnight, so that pushes us up to 70 total cases,” said Dr. Kieran Moore.

With the surge in cases, and more than 25 people per one hundred thousand testing positive for the virus, public health says it’s preparing for the province to move the Kingston-area from the “yellow” zone to “orange” on Friday afternoon.

According to the province, restrictions associated with the orange zone is as follows:

  • Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • A maximum of four people may be seated together
  • No spectators are permitted in sports facilities (under-18 parent/guardian allowed)
  • Essential visitors only permitted at long-term care homes

The change would come into effect on Sunday night.

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Read more: Tighter COVID-19 restrictions come into effect in 3 Ontario regions

The spike in COVID-19 cases and potentially more restrictions in the Kingston-area has many businesses on edge.

The Rose and Crown Family Restaurant and English Pub owner in the city’s west end says he is already working 60 to 70 hours per week to help the business survive.

“We’ve got to somehow fight through not laying anybody off, try and keep everybody happy and all, but we’ve gone from twenty-three staff to ten staff. That’s unbelievable,” said pub owner Ed Walker.

He says, fortunately, his clientele have tried to support him throughout the pandemic, but he has been forced to dip into his savings and retirement fund to keep the business afloat — a risk he says not every small business is willing to take as more restrictions and guidelines loom.

“We’re constantly coming up with something to help the business get better, and then, you know, all of a sudden, now it’s changed again,” said Walker. “We’re wearing masks, goggles, face shields; we have plexiglass barriers, we have signs saying what table has and hasn’t been sanitized. We are doing everything possible to keep people safe.”

Read more: Ontario reports 1,890 new coronavirus cases, 28 more deaths

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Ontario reported 1,890 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the provincial total to 132,800.

Wednesday’s case count is an increase from Tuesday’s, which saw 1,676 new infections. On Monday, 1,925 cases were recorded and marked a record in the province.

The surging case counts are a trend that is being seen locally, something Dr. Moore says needs to be addressed now.

“This is a warning for us heading into the dark days of January where we really want to be heading in with a low rate of infection, and sadly, we’re not heading in the right direction right now,” said Moore.

In the meantime, Dr. Moore says it’s crucial that the area hunkers down and follows all health guidelines to avoid even further restrictions in the hope of having some sense of normality by Christmas.

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