After hearing calls from health-care workers kept busy during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kingston city council voted to make some parking free on city-streets around the hospital for the next several weeks.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bryan Paterson put forward a motion that would wave on-street parking permit fees for employees of Kingston General Hospital (KGH) until the end of June. These employees would need identification provided by the hospital displayed in their vehicles.
In a statement, Elizabeth Bardon with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) said they were “truly grateful for our dedicated employees, who have been working so hard through this busy time to address the increasing health care needs of our community and surrounding communities.”
This is why the hospital organization is working with the city to offer free parking in spots that are normally timed around both KGH and Hotel Dieu.
“KHSC staff members can access this free parking, which is available 24/7 effective April 23 through June 30, on a first-come, first-served basis, by providing their vehicle’s licence plate number and obtaining a parking permit from hospital security,” Bardon said in a statement.
The free parking will not apply to spots that are metered or pay and display.
This came after Global News spoke with several health-care workers earlier this week, who said they were struggling with long and stressful days, made worse by trying to find and pay for parking around the hospital.
Although there is currently no one local in a Kingston ICU — the one person counted on the dashboard is actually being treated in the Quinte region — Kingston Health Sciences Centre said as of Wednesday, local hospitals are caring for 46 COVID-19 patients from out-of-region.
During the third wave of the pandemic, Kingston has become a major overflow site for overtaxed ICUs in the GTA, which means local health-care workers are feeling the pressure.
Paterson’s motion addressed this issue, saying that the city had a “desire to support hospital workers who are on the front line by removing barriers to access parking.”
The motion also noted that the city would be reaching out to Queen’s University to see if they would be able to offer any parking accommodations for local health-care workers.
Queen’s University was not able to provide a comment on the matter Thursday.