Ontario Reverts to Modified Stage 2 Restrictions for Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region

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On October 9, 2020, the Ontario government announced additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Toronto and Peel public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be implemented for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Effective Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the targeted measures that are being implemented in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel under a modified Stage 2 will include the following:

  • Reducing limits for all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. The two limits may not be combined for an indoor-outdoor event.
  • Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments, including nightclubs and food court areas in malls (takeout/delivery and outdoor dinning will remain open).
  • Closing of:
    • Indoor gyms and fitness centres (i.e., exercise classes and weight and exercise rooms);
    • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments;
    • Indoor cinemas;
    • Performing arts centres and venues;
    • Spectator areas in racing venues;
    • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc..
  • Prohibiting personal care services where face coverings must be removed for the service (e.g., makeup application, beard trimming).
  • Reducing the capacity limits for:
    • Tour and guide services to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors;
    • Real estate open houses to 10 people indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained;
    • In-person teaching and instruction (e.g., cooking class) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with exemptions for schools, childcare centres, universities, colleges of applied arts and technology, private career colleges, the Ontario Police College, etc.
    • Meeting and event spaces to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).

The Ontario government has advised that schools, childcare centres and places of worship will remain open in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region and must continue to follow the public health measures in place. Before-school and after-school programs will also be exempt from these new restrictions.

Wedding receptions scheduled for the Thanksgiving weekend may proceed under existing public health rules. However, effective Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., updated public health measures will apply to wedding receptions, including new gathering limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors at event spaces.

In addition to the measures being implemented in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is also urging all Ontarians to:

  • Limit trips outside of home, except for essential purposes only such as work where it is not possible to work from home, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments and outdoor healthy physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions in the province, especially from higher transmission to lower transmission areas, should only be for essential purposes.
  • Practise physical distancing of at least two metres with those outside your household.
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so.
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly; and follow gathering limits and rules.

The Ontario government has also announced that because the pubic health measures to be implemented will come at a cost to small businesses, it has planned to and will make $300 million available to assist significantly affected businesses with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.

Emond Harnden LLP will continue to monitor and to report on important developments related to COVID-19. For further information or advice on your rights and obligations as an employer when dealing with COVID-19 and similar issues, please contact Paul Lalonde at 613-940-2759Sébastien Huard at 613-940-2744J.D. Sharp at 613-940-2739Colleen Dunlop at 613-940-2734 or Jennifer Birrell at 613-940-2740.