Kingston Motions to Ease Coronavirus Restrictions
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kingston has had fewer coronavirus cases compared to other places in the US. With these low numbers, Kingston is looking to ease the emergency restrictions that they have placed for the pandemic.
Based on the findings of the Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington Public Health, there have only been 56 lab-confirmed cases in the region of Kingston ever since mid-March with zero deaths. These cases have now been resolved except for four remaining cases. These efforts of resolutions are all thanks to the cooperation of the community and the COVID19 test kit.
Overall, 2441 tests have been completed, while there are still 114 tests with pending results. In April, there had only been three new cases. With these statistics, a local councilor is forwarding a motion for Kingston to reopen some parts of its economy.
The City Council’s Perspective
The city council forwarded a motion to ask the provincial government to consider relaxing the pandemic restrictionsfor areas that have less impact from the pandemic.
The motion, authored by Trillium District Councillor Robert Kiley, stated that provincial orders are based on the situation of bigger cities, which reflected how they assessed conditions in smaller places such as Lennox, Addington, Kingston, and Frontenac. These areas are able to benefit from the local public health advice that takes measures against the spread of the pandemic.
The motion also stated to ask the city for Premier (Ford) Doug to encourage more regional responses to the pandemic, especially in regards to allowing more essential services to operate. These include community gardens and businesses that people get income from.
Furthermore, the motion also stated its acknowledgment of the difference in the number of cases and spread when compared to other regions. Along with Coun. Jim Neill, the second author of the motion, Coun. Kiley desires to give more individual health units and more input from the municipal governments that shows their actions done to reduce the spread of the virus.
As much as there are people who would like to have parks and public gardens reopened, the government is still in the process of weighing its safety in reopening. To fight the spread of the virus, the province had closed all the institutions and facilities that are non-essential, as stated by the provincial government. They also banned the gathering of more than five people in one place.
Council to Mitigate the Impact of the Pandemic
In a special meeting, the council has approved several decisions that are aimed to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the city’s staffing and financial resources. A department office presented a detailed 41-page report that provided the information and overview of the steps that the City department will have to take. These are necessary precautions to ensure that all of the essential services will continue operating safely during the pandemic.
Amidst the pandemic, the City staff was also active in partnering with the community partners to ensure food security programs and emergency shelters for those who need it. These are just two of the projects that are on top of their daily operations and other motions set by the council.
Regarding the financial toll to the city, it is anticipated that the city will come up short for over $4 million when August ends. However, CAO has used its delegated authority to put the city in a better financial recovery position by freezing all of the non-union salaries of the year.
They canceled all the performance-based increases and have issued a shortage of work notice to some employees, both full-time and non-union. The City departments are still currently continuing to estimate and compile all loss on revenues, savings, additional costs, and provincial funding.
The losses are massive, and their effects will have a significant impact on the city, as predicted by most experts. However, CAO is working with the council to make additional decisions to bridge the gap left by the financial losses.
City’s Municipal Marinas Opened
Last Friday, May 29, the municipal marinas of the city of Kingston were opened. The city opened both Confederation of Basin and Portsmouth Olympic Harbor, which still has measures to follow Covid-19 guidelines.
Transient and day boaters are not permitted as the social distancing is still in order. However, the permission for all boaters to operate in the area is currently under deliberation and consideration.
The marina openings are coordinated with the consultation of the guidelines set by the Ontario Boating Association and KFL&A Public Health. Also, their staff is continuing to reach out to seasonal boaters for their confirmation on their reservation to boat in the area.
Kingston has had only a small number of cases ever since the start of the pandemic; however, the economic tolls are massive. The motion was set to reconsider the opening of some establishments to reduce the effect of Covid-19 in the city’s finances.