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Kingston creating open spaces for pedestrians, businesses during pandemic

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KINGSTON —
The City of Kingston is moving forward with plans to create more space for pedestrians and businesses in the downtown core as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed. 

A series of road and lane closures will come into effect the week of June 22, according to the city, with changes affecting Brock Street, and Market Street, while Princess Street will be reduced to one lane.

David Dossett owns Martello on Brock, which sits on Brock Street. At first, a little concerned about the city’s plan, now he says it is a great opportunity to reimagine the sidewalks.

“I think what we need to do is create a space that’s really going to be exciting,” explains Dossett. “We want a place that will be providing local goods, with kind of an exciting atmosphere.”

Mayor Bryan Paterson says the plan is to give more space for residents to physical distance while out and allow businesses more room to operate services like patios. 

“Space is really at a premium right now,” he says. “If you want physical distancing you’ve got to give people and businesses a chance to spread out, so let’s use our public spaces to do that.”

Tim Pater owns Le Chien Noir, also on Brock. He supports the move.

“Our sidewalks are fairly narrow, and it’s difficult to social distance on them,” he explains. “Really we want to create an environment where people feel safe but also that we help the merchants downtown as well.”

Market Street will be fully closed, while Brock Street will be closed from Ontario Street to Wellington Street, with the King Street intersection open for traffic along King. Princess Street will see all on-street parking removed and a single lane for vehicles from Ontario to Division Streets, while cross streets will remain open with some short-term parking added. 

Clarence Street will also see some on-street parking removed to accommodate the changes. 

However, some businesses who will not see changes to their streets feel this has put them at a disadvantage.

Paul Fortier owns The Public House on nearby King Street. He supports the closures but says he and other businesses would like to see them rotate throughout the summer.

“If we’re going to have probably 50 per cent capacity. This is a small restaurant that has 50 seats,” he says. “If I could expand into the street I could recoup those lost seats with social distancing. But I’m not being given the opportunity.”

Officials say this is a work in progress.

“We are already actively looking at some expanded patio options,” says Mayor Paterson.

“There’s still a lot of discussion to happen but the genuine sentiment is that we want to find solutions,” says Michele Langois from Downtown Kingston.

With files from Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Andrew Pinsent

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Samuel J. Savitz, 83, arts and business leader

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Samuel J. Savitz, 83, an actuarial executive who served on the boards of a dozen Philadelphia arts and culture groups, died Thusday, July 2, at his home in Bala Cynwyd. He had fought back various forms of cancer during the past two decades before finally succumbing to the disease, his family said.



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Loma Portal Business Shutting Its Doors Because of COVID-19 Shutdown – NBC 7 San Diego

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Some business owners are
dealing with the hard reality of going out of business during the wait to
reopen.

As some businesses are forced to close their doors again because of COVID-19, some business owners are scared they may be next.

Die Hard Pilates has stood on the corner of Chatsworth Boulevard in Point Loma for seven years. NBC 7 was there as Owner Christine Diaz, a single mother, said goodbye.

“It’s a sad feeling to feel like I’m responsible somehow for closing my business,” Diaz said.

But of course, deep down, she knows it’s not her fault. Instead, her business is yet another casualty of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Diaz was unable to keep up with the costs of her business while she waited three months for the OK to reopen.

“I can’t really separate my identity from the event that happened,” she said. “It’s a very very painful time.”

Across the street from her, Sia’s Eyebrow Threading has closed down and a couple of doors down, the owner of Aserenity Skin Body fears the same fate.

“It made me really sad that they weren’t able to pull through,” said Anke Stoner, the owner of Aserenity Skin Body. “I’m very fearful if we’re going to be able to survive another shutdown.”

Both Stoner and Diaz said they applied for small business assistance through the federal, county, and city programs. Stoner never heard back and Diaz was denied because of her credit.

Although the Die Hard Pilates building is now up for lease, Diaz said her dreams won’t die with it.

“I chose the word die-hard so they didn’t quit,” she said

NBC 7 reached out to the Small Business Administration. It said it’s getting so many applications, that it doesn’t have the denial rates for the loans. The latest numbers show it has loaned more than $23 billion in loans to California small business owners through the economic injury disaster loan emergency advance.

NBC 7 Investigates found that the city has only distributed about 27% of its small business relief fund.



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Coronavirus contact-tracing app allays privacy concerns

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Contact tracing has proven to be a vital tool in the fight against coronavirus, but its effectiveness has been hamstrung at times by concerns over privacy. Now, a new anonymous app called “I Checked In” offers a convenient system for contact tracing while alleviating those drawbacks.

The app is a simple way for customers and small business owners to keep track of who is coming and going and at what times in case of an outbreak.

Businesses get a pin number that customers can enter in the app when they check in. Guests remain anonymous, but in the event of an outbreak, the business can inform “I Checked In” and the app will notify anyone who was potentially exposed.

WHAT IS CONTACT TRACING?

The creator of the app, entrepreneur Avi Lugassy, is the owner of a small restaurant called Soupa Cafe Ltd. that was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said he developed the app to find a better way of contact tracing after noticing that people have an aversion to being tracked, the risk of which has been heightened by the pandemic.

APPLE, GOOGLE UPDATE CORONAVIRUS CONTACT-TRACING SOFTWARE PLANS

For instance, North Dakota was one of the first states to roll out its contact-tracing app, “Care-19,” in April. Users were told that location data would be kept private, but an analysis of the app by Jumbo, a consumer privacy service, found that location data was being shared with Foursquare, a third-party app that provides information to advertisers.

“Sharing what is supposed to be an anonymous code along with an Advertising Identifier (referred to as IDFA) has serious privacy risks,” Jumbo wrote.

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The American Civil Liberties Union warned in April, just weeks after the coronavirus prompted nationwide lockdowns to curb the pandemic’s spread, about privacy concerns related to tracking exposure.

“In the last few weeks we have seen many proposals for technology-assisted ‘contact tracing,’” ACLU wrote. “While some of these systems may offer public health benefits, they may also cause significant risks to privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.”

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