Coronavirus: Kingston health unit limits gatherings to 5 people for St. Patrick’s Day week

KFL&A Public Health says anyone hosting a gathering with more than five people can be fined $5,000 a day over the St. Patrick's Day week. Global News

Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for the Kingston region, is making a preemptive strike to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the city over the St. Patrick’s Day week.

He has issued a Section 22 order that will limit all gatherings in the city to five people indoors and outdoors from March 13 to March 21.

Read more: Coronavirus: Queen’s St. Patrick’s Day party went on after health officials urged against it

This order is meant to “proactively protect our community, keep our schools and economy safe and open, and prevent an impact on our emergency medical services and hospital resources within the city of Kingston during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations,” the health unit said.

The order will come into effect at 12:01 a.m. March 13 and will span the week until 11:59 p.m., March 21 and will apply to all people in the city, and all businesses that serve alcohol in Kingston. St Patrick’s Day lands on Wednesday, March 17.

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Individuals can be charged under the order if they host a gathering with more than five people, while businesses that serve alcohol will have to abide by the following rules:

  • remain closed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Only sell and serve alcohol between 12 p.m. and 10 p.m. No consumption of alcohol is permitted in the business between the hours of 11 p.m. and 12 p.m.
  • require all patrons to be seated when served. Pick-up and take-out are exempt
  • require all patrons to seat only five persons to a table
  • collect contact information from persons seated
  • disallow dancing, singing and live performances of music
  • volume of music must be low enough to allow for normal conversation
  • ensure line-up management follows the capacity limits, two-metres physical distancing and masking regulations

Individuals who break the class action order can be fined up to $5,000 a day, while businesses can be fined up to $25,000 a day for lack of compliance.

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“Given the increasing concerns of COVID-19 variants, and the risks of potential spread of COVID-19 related to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, these measures are prudent and necessary to prevent illness and the spread of COVID-19,” Moore said.

Last year, despite pleas from the health unit and local officials not to gather on St. Patrick’s Day, street parties in the University District continued on.

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