Kingston to return to green zone on Wednesday, Premier says

Provincial government brings an end to the state of emergency

Premier Ford made the announcement at a press conference on Monday.
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At a press conference Monday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford announced the province-wide state of emergency won’t be extended beyond its Feb. 9 expiry date. During the conference, the Province also announced the transition back to the green zone in the Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region.

Starting Wednesday, Feb. 10, KFL&A will return to the green zone, as well as the Hastings and Prince Edward County Health Unit and Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

All other public health units, with the exception of Toronto, Peel, and York, will return to the colour-coded COVID-19 framework on Feb. 16. The final three are set to transition back the following week, on Feb. 22.

“Today we’re seeing some sunlight break through the clouds,” Ford said. “Daily case numbers are down; transmission rates are down. [Fewer] people are being hospitalized.”

“[T]he measures are working: staying home is saving lives.”

Ford said the new measures are intended to help businesses reopen in regions where it can be done safely.

READ MORE: Queen’s reports no new cases of COVID-19

“Under the revised framework, we’ll be allowing non-essential retail businesses to reopen with stronger restrictions including capacity limits, even in the grey zone lockdown zones,” Ford said.

The decision to reopen the three regions this week is supported by the local medical officers of health, according to Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliot.

Elliot also said, as part of the gradual transition out of lockdown, there will be an “emergency brake” option to return individual regions to the grey zone.

“As mentioned, we are taking a cautious approach to returning to the framework,” Elliot said. “If a region experiences a rapid acceleration of COVID-19 transmission, or if the health care system becomes overwhelmed, a new emergency brake can be implemented.”

Should this occur, the provincial chief medical officer of health and the local medical officer of health may advise moving a region into grey lockdown immediately to interrupt transmission.  

“This is not a reopening, or a return to normal,” Elliot said. “It’s an acknowledgment that we’re making steady progress.”

The Journal has reached out to the AMS and the University to learn how the return to the green zone will affect campus activity, including the reopening of AMS services, the ARC, and Queen’s libraries.

This story is developing and will be updated with more information.

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