One Ontario City Is Already Debating Whether To Re-Open Amid COVID-19
Things are starting to look up again, and some parts of Ontario are already getting itchy feet. After maintaining a low rate of COVID-19 cases in the area, the City of Kingston is already looking into the possibility of partially reopening. A local councillor is behind the motion which will be presented to Kingston City Council on Tuesday.
Councillor Robert Kiley is pushing a suggestion which advocates asking the province to allow the city to reopen parts of its economy.
“The motion is generally about empowering a regional response to COVID19 based on the best local data and the advice of our medical experts," Coun. Kiley told Narcity in a statement."Particularly it speaks to allowing people to get outside in essential places like community gardens, which are vital for food security and farmer’s income. It could also include other natural spaces like conservation areas.
"Most importantly, and unequivocally, doing these things with strict physical distancing requirements. That way residents can stay healthy physically and mentally," he adds.
CTV News suggests Kingston could very well be the first municipality in the province to even consider passing a motion like this.
The suggestion comes after Premier Doug Ford announced just last week the extension of the emergency order in the province.
Read the latest local news and info ➡️ https://t.co/zDSiTLPS8A Including: ◾Universal credit ◾Stay home, stay activ… https://t.co/exTgyFpQGA— Kingston Council (@Kingston Council) 1587398945.0
To some, this request might seem far-fetched given that Ontario is still embroiled in the effects of the pandemic.
However, the city has seen just two new positive cases of COVID-19 in the past week, according to Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Public Health.
As of 11:45 a.m. on Monday, April 20, Kingston currently has five active cases, including 57 confirmed and 52 resolved.
However, Premier Ford cast doubt on the feasibility of facilities in the province reopening any time soon.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Ford shared that although everyone is excited to head back to normality, measures are in place to ensure safety for everyone.
"That (future) framework must have strict criteria and key benchmarks that must be met before lifting or easing restrictions," said Ford to reporters.
"I know many are eager to back to work and school, back to visit our friends and loved ones, and back to our normal lives. We will get there together."
In regards to the economy, Ford stressed that while he obviously wants things to get back up and running, it's an extremely delicate situation and he will wait as long as he needs to.
"It's very very difficult to close down the economy, it's twice as difficult to open it back up safely. Our number one priority is the safety of the people of this province... I'd rather wait and be safe," he said.
So, it's not at all certain that Kingston will be granted any flexibility. Still, though, councillors will meet on Tuesday and test their luck.
If Coun. Kiley's motion is approved, it would mark a landmark moment in the province's response to COVID-19.