On November 20, 2020, Ontario announced that in order to stop the spread of COVID-19, Toronto and Peel (including the cities of Mississauga and Brampton) will move to the maximum Lockdown level restrictions in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework (discussed here) for a minimum of 28 days (i.e., two COVID-19 incubation periods), effective November 23, 2020. Other regions will move to restrictions at higher levels, as follows:
- Durham Region Health Department; and
- Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services.
- Huron Perth Public Health;
- Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit;
- Southwestern Public Health; and
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
- Chatham-Kent Public Health;
- Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
- Grey Bruce Health Unit;
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health;
- Peterborough Public Health; and
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
A comprehensive list of lockdown measures is available here. They include, among other things:
- Retail may be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only. Exceptions include the following, which may operate at 50% capacity: supermarkets; grocery stores; pharmacies; hardware stores; discount and big box retailers selling groceries; beer, wine and liquor stores; safety supply stores; and convenience stores.
- Indoor and outdoor dining services are closed. Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments may provide takeout, drive-through and delivery only.
- Personal care services are closed.
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments are closed.
- Schools, before and after school programs, and child care remain open.
- Post-secondary schools are open for virtual learning only. Limited exceptions exist for training that can only be provided in person (e.g., clinical training or training related to a trade).
- Indoor organized public events or social gatherings are not permitted, except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person.
- Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings must be limited to a maximum of 10 people.
- Wedding, funeral, and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.
- Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, are closed with limited exceptions.
After 28 days pass, Ontario will assess the impact of the public health measures to determine if public health units should remain at their current level or move to a different level.
Local medical officers of health have access to enforcement mechanisms. A fine of $750 is attached to any ticket issued for violating an order relating to COVID-19 made by a local medical officer of health. In addition, a fine of up to $10,000 may be imposed for illegally hosting a private social gathering.
Finally, the Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures. Applications can be made online for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates and grants. Eligibility information and information for how to apply is available here.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.