Kingston Police investigating tips nail salon at centre of outbreak opened early

Kingston Police investigating tips nail salon at centre of outbreak opened early

Police in Kingston, Ont., are looking into tips that a nail salon at the centre of a recent resurgence of COVID-19 in the city reopened before it was allowed to.

"Following the recent announcement last week from [Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington] Public Health regarding specific nail salons being the source for or related to recent confirmed COVID-19 cases, Kingston Police has received initial information one or more of these businesses ... may have been operating prior to the Government of Ontario's Stage 2 reopening date of June 12, 2020," Kingston Police said in a news release issued Tuesday.

Under the province's reopening plan, businesses offering personal care services, such as nail salons, weren't allowed to serve clients before COVID-19 restrictions were officially eased on June 12.

Sgt. Steven Koopman confirmed to CBC that one of the salons under investigation is Binh's Nails and Spa. 

All 30 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kingston stemmed from Binh's, the region's medical officer of health Kieran Moore said Tuesday. Moore said there's no evidence any of that transmission occurred before June 12.

Golf course, 3rd nail salon named

On Tuesday, public health officials expanded the list of businesses where customers and staff could have been exposed to COVID-19, all stemming from the nail salon outbreak. 

Along with the previously identified Kingdom Nails and Spa, where a worker and a client have now tested positive, public health authorities are asking anyone who visited Georgia Nail salon between June 12 and 25, and Amherstview Golf Club between June 22 and 24, to get tested and self-isolate until they get results. 

Moore said a staffer and golfer at the golf club have tested positive, as has one worker at Georgia Nail Salon. All three cases have been traced back to a person infected at Binh's.

Recent patrons of Binh's Nails and Spa and Kingdom Nails and Spa are also being asked to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19. Moore said they include up to 40 nurses who recently visited Binh's.

WATCH: 30 cases of COVID-19 now linked to Kingston nail salon

Stiff fine introduced

Starting June 30, any Kingston resident who fails to follow orders to self-isolate now faces a fine of up to $5,000 a day, Moore said. The threat comes after public health officials learned of two people who continued to socialize after they were instructed to stay home.

"I have written an order that if a public health nurse or inspector tells you to isolate you must do so, and if you don't do so there will be fines," Moore said. "I think that adds an extra layer of protection for our community."

Meanwhile, police want to hear from anyone with direct knowledge of any personal care services that reopened before June 12 to call 613-549-4600 ext. 6186. People can also call anonymously to the police department's main number, or contact police by email.

"I'm specifically interested in direct, first-hand information that can be used as evidence," Koopman wrote in an email. "Receiving second- or third-hand hearsay information will not assist in advancing the investigation and will only lead to an inundation of tips with little to no value."

Police stress clients who come forward with information won't face any repercussions.