Coronavirus: Kingston, Ont., businesses react to moving out of lockdown, reopening

Click to play video: 'Kingston businesses react to moving out of lockdown, reopening'
Kingston businesses react to moving out of lockdown, reopening
WATCH: Many Kingston businesses are relieved and excited for the region to be moving into the green level of Ontario's coronavirus reopening plan – Feb 9, 2021

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Kingston citizens, the city will be reopening most of its non-essential businesses at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday that the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health region would be one of the only regions in the province that would be moving into the green level of Ontario’s coronavirus reopening plan.

KFLA, along with Hastings Prince Edward and Renfrew County, have been allowed to reopen due to lower local transmission of COVID-19 and increasing hospital capacity.

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This news comes as a big relief to business owners in the area, many of whom have been closed since before the new year.

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“We’re approaching two months since our doors have been closed,” says Wendy Huot, owner of The Screening Room theatre.

“In the movie theatre business, if you’re not playing any movies it means that ‘your screens have gone dark’, and it’s bad luck to have dark screens, so it feels good to be back in business again.”

Over the past 24 hours, business owners across the region have been working hard to make sure they are ready to open on Wednesday. Many of them were anticipating this news, so they have been ready to go for a few days now.

“We’ve been at the store every day for the past week getting ready to reopen,” says Cheryl Walker, owner of Cloth’s Clothing.

“We planned ahead and we have all of stock ready, so we’re prepared for (Wednesday).”

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Dr. Kieran Moore, Kingston’s medical officer of health, is concerned about out-of-town travellers coming to Kingston to take advantage of its green level status. Moore is considering imposing ID checks for businesses within the region, and some businesses are already taking that step.

“We are only taking clients from this neighbourhood, which is Kingston East,” says Nicki Deyoung, owner of Headtrip Hair Design.

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“We are not accepting any new clients, and we also have a temperature gun that we will use to monitor our customers’ temperature levels.”

As expected, a lot of Kingston residents are chomping at the bit to get out of the house and take advantage of businesses reopening. Many restaurants are already booked full for Valentine’s Day weekend, and Deyoung’s salon is also full of appointments.

“We are booked up until March 15th,” she says.

“We’re going to be busy, but I’m very excited about that.”

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