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Public health order that limits gatherings extended in Kingston until end of April

Click to play video: 'Authorities in Kingston step up patrols of the Queen’s University District to try and keep a lid on St. Patrick’s Day parties' Authorities in Kingston step up patrols of the Queen’s University District to try and keep a lid on St. Patrick’s Day parties
University students seem to be heeding public health advice and warnings backed up by stiff fines to avoid large gatherings – Mar 17, 2021

Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for KFL&A Public Health, has extended a public health order originally meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 over the St. Patrick’s Day week.

The order was put into effect March 13 and was supposed to end March 21, but now the health unit says it will be extended until Friday, April 30.

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

The order limits all gatherings within the city of Kingston to five people, inside and outside. The public health regulations also require any businesses serving alcohol to adhere to the following:

  • require all patrons to be seated when served, pickup and takeout is exempt
  • require all patrons to seat only five persons to a table
  • collect contact information from persons seated
  • not allow dancing or karaoke and ensure the volume of music is low enough to allow for normal conversation
  • ensure lineup management follows the capacity limits, two metres physical distancing, and masking regulations

“Cases are increasing at a concerning rate in the city of Kingston and it is clear we must take further action to protect our community,” said Moore.

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Click to play video: 'Queen’s University as well as Kingston-area health unit asking some students to get tested' Queen’s University as well as Kingston-area health unit asking some students to get tested
Queen’s University as well as Kingston-area health unit asking some students to get tested – Mar 16, 2021

“We are extending this class order and asking everyone to adhere to these social gathering limitations. We have come so far, and as we provide increasing immunity to our community through immunization, we must all be vigilant and keep our community safe. It is important to remember to stay home, stay local, stay safe, save lives.”

Any breach of the order can result in fines of up to $5,000 a day for every day of the breach.

The health unit announced 15 new cases in Kingston Wednesday, for a total of 53 active cases in the region. The health unit also announced three new variants, for a total of 21 found in the area so far.

Currently, Queen’s University is dealing with an outbreak of a variant of concern, which has spread to at least two elementary schools in the region, Winston Churchill Public School and St. John XXIII Catholic School, with at least one student at each school testing positive for a COVID-19 mutation.

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The end of the new extended class order coincides with the university’s last day of examinations, but the health unit has not specified if this is intentional.

Read more: Kingston bylaw called to 140-person party night before St. Pat’s Section 22 order in place

The City of Kingston also noted that on March 12, the day before the public health order was put in place, bylaw officers responded to a party of over 140 people. The city has not given any details about the party and said it’s still investigating the incident. Queen’s University, Kingston police and Moore have yet to comment on the party.

As of Tuesday, there are 28 active cases of the virus associated with Queen’s. The university has yet to update its COVID-19 tracker.

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