The Ontario government recently announced the province-wide Stay-at-Home order ("Order") that has taken effect pursuant to section 7.0.1(1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act ("EMCPA"). Starting April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., every person is required to remain at home, except for essential purposes.
The Order is scheduled to run from April 8, 2021 for at least 28 days. Until then, and unless extended, the retail sector will continue to adapt to more stringent public health and workplace safety protocols. In particular, the restrictions can be summarized as follows:
During the Order, affected retailers can continue to seek the benefit of support from both the federal and provincial governments.
What's Next: Subsidies and Support
Federally, businesses can seek relief under the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy ("CERS") program. CERS was established to aid businesses that have experienced a drop in revenue as a result of the pandemic; certain of these businesses may be eligible to receive funds to help cover commercial rent and other qualifying eligible expenses. The last day to apply for the current claim period is April 22, 2021. The next claim period application date opens on May 9, 2021. For more details on CERS, please refer to our previous publication and the Canada Revenue Agency's website.
Provincially, the Government of Ontario has established a non-enforcement period for commercial tenancies. Under O. Reg 763/20, this measure puts in place a 12-week eviction moratorium on tenants who have been approved for CERS. If a tenant is approved for CERS and provides its landlord proof of that fact, the 12-week ban on eviction will commence, starting on the date of CERS approval.
For businesses that remain open and operative, it is important to protect your community by complying with all safety standards and guidelines established by the Order and by your local public health unit. This will safeguard your business from hefty fines, as well as your customers from possible exposure to Covid-19.
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.