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Kingston-area medical officer of health says no evidence of significant travel to region

But so far, Moore says there's been simply no evidence of a mass amount of out-of-towners travelling to the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for the region, said despite fears from locals, there’s been no evidence of a mass amount of out-of-towners travelling to the Kingston region.

On Feb. 9, just before the KFL&A region moved out of lockdown and into the province’s green zone, Moore said he was considering implementing travel restrictions that would have businesses check where their patrons were travelling from. This would allow businesses to deny services from regions in other provincial colour codes.

The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, the neighbouring health unit, implemented such a public health order that same day.

Read more: Hastings Prince Edward MOH limits restaurants, services to regions out of emergency order

Moore had previously made it clear that he would be monitoring travel to the region before he made such an order.

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Now, several weeks into the move to green, he said since Feb. 9, he has received several tips from the community about people visiting Kingston.

One rumour in particular about a wedding at a local hotel seemed to spread like wildfire over social media. Moore said this was also shared with local officials.

We had a worry that there was a wedding with hundreds of Torontonians in Kingston over the weekend,” Moore said.

Click to play video 'KFL&A Public Health discovers a COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ in the Kingston area' KFL&A Public Health discovers a COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ in the Kingston area
KFL&A Public Health discovers a COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ in the Kingston area – Feb 22, 2021

He said the health unit and the City of Kingston sent a bylaw officer to the hotel where the supposed wedding was meant to take place.

“It was not true. There was no wedding and there was no mass gathering and they didn’t have a significant number of out-of-towners in their in their hotel,” Moore said.

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Moore said this isn’t the first time local authorities have had to investigate similar rumours. Each time, he said they’ve been unfounded.

Read more: MOH considers imposing travel restrictions into Kingston by ordering ID checks

The health unit and other local officials like the city, bylaw, Kingston police and OPP will continue to monitor travel to and from the region, but so far, there has been no evidence of mass gatherings of travellers in the KFL&A catchment area.

He did say the health unit is still considering implementing travel limitations in the region if variants of concern start to spread rapidly in Ontario.

“I would hope that if there was a significant outbreaks of variants in another area of our province that there be public health measures put in play to limit travel from that region to anywhere else in the province,” he said.

However, if such limitations were not put in place elsewhere, Moore said he will be ready to act.

If there is a gap and that’s not occurring, I do have an obligation to protect our community.”