The news that anyone over the age of 18 will be eligible to book their second COVID-19 dose as of Monday has residents as well as local business owners excited about the prospect of taking the next step towards normalcy.
“It’s super exciting, I’m super excited to see my friends again,” said Oliva Ho, a Kingston resident.
“I wanna see my family, I haven’t seen my mom in months, I’m really excited for her to come up and visit,” Ho added.
While KFL&A is not a COVID-19 hot spot, the area has faced back-to-back lockdowns along with the rest of the province, in an effort — as public health officials say — to curb the spread of the virus and its variants.
The news of accelerated second doses is leaving many locals hopeful.
“I wanna hug people again, being fully vaccinated,” exclaimed Danielle Garland, as she enjoyed the sun at Breakwater Park on Sunday afternoon.
Others are looking forward to getting through their bucket lists as Ontario continues on its road to re-opening and more residents become fully vaccinated.
“I’ve always wanted to try a few more restaurants. I think getting takeout over the course of the pandemic has kind of opened up an expectation for me about the quality of Kingston’s restaurants,” said Liam Andrew, another resident.
Restaurants are also enjoying the in-person patronage, like the Merchant Tap House, which has been open for 17 years in Kingston’s downtown core.
“We’ve been waiting a long time to get back to this point so now I feel like we’re on the home stretch, and honestly it’s been great. We’ve had everybody coming in that has supported us during takeout over the year, and now we finally get to see them and thank them for all the support,” said Jared Haird, general manager of The Merchant Tap House.
While the light at the end of the tunnel nears for some, others remain cautious and advise people to not let their guard fully down just yet.
“I think it’s important to just continue wearing masks because of the variants and whatnot. I don’t think we should go all out right away, just because there’s still the dangers of the variants,” said local Parisa Maliahipour.
Provincial officals say that an appointment must be made at least 28 days after the first dose and that moving up second doses will make about 1.5 million more Ontarians eligible come Monday.