Areas around lockdown zones brace for visitors
KINGSTON, ONT. -- As Toronto enters its second day of lockdown, health and government officials are asking those who live in the strictly controlled regions of Ontario not to venture out for road trips.
Still, some businesses, like hotels, tell CTV News that they are prepared to keep people safe, even if they come from other regions.
That’s the case for Corey Duke-Laplante, who is the manager of the Hochelaga Inn in downtown Kingston.
“We’re a business of people traveling here. We are comfortable; we’re confident,” he explains.
Since September, the number of visitors staying at the hotel has gone down, with many residents from other cities cancelling trips if they feel unwell.
He says many people still need to travel for a variety of reasons, and hotels like his are prepared to welcome them safely.
“Hotels are one of the safest places. Everyone’s sanitizing everything, safe distances are kept,” he says of the safety protocols.
Regions around Toronto and Peel are raising concerns about the possible influx of visitors from those locked down cities.
Places like Kingston are open with restrictions in place, but are fighting to keep case counts low. Kingston is currently in the “Yellow-Protect” zone, and many of its cases are linked to people traveling to and from areas with higher case counts.
Dr. Kieran Moore, the medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, is asking all residents to stay close to home.
“I personally think there should be a number associated with it, don’t travel 100 km past your home unless it’s for work or life or death,” he says.
There is no official travel ban within the province. If residents do have to leave their region, mayors in surrounding areas ask that they do it safely and don’t travel with any symptoms.
“Our heart and spirit as a community is always going to be welcoming,” says Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson. “We’re never going to lose that but, at the same time, we’re going to be cautious and vigilant.”
“We’re trying to make sure that we don’t get into a complete lockdown,” says Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “So, we’re saying to everybody the same thing that they’re saying in Toronto - stay home, stay apart, lather up, and mask up.”