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Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework

As of Thursday April 8, 2021, the entire province of Ontario, including the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit (LGLDHU) region, is under a Stay-at-Home Order. This Order requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. This Order is expected to last at least four weeks. The Order and O. Reg. 82/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 1 detail what public health precautions must be taken, including what types of businesses/organizations can open and operate and related public health measures. Read below for more information on how the Province’s measures affect the Leeds, Grenville, Lanark area.

Depending on several factors related to COVID-19, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit area could move into different zones of this framework, which would mean greater restrictions. The key to protecting our friends, family, children’s education, and local economy is to continue to be COVID-smart. Let’s be kind, supportive, decisive, and united in how we fight COVID-19. We have the power to stop the spread. Let’s use it. Please refer to O. Reg. 82/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 1 (Grey-Lockdown; Shutdown), O. Reg. 263/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 2 (Red-Control) and O. Reg. 364/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 3 (Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, and Orange-Restrict) for details on what public health precautions must be taken, including what types of businesses/organizations can open and operate and related public health measures. Local Medical Officers of Health can choose to implement stronger restrictions in their Health Unit region than the restrictions dictated by the Provincial colour-coded Framework. A municipality can choose to implement stronger restrictions in their region than the restrictions dictated by the Provincial colour-coded Framework.

The zones are as follows, ranging from least restrictive on the left (green) to most restrictive on the right (grey).

Ontario's COVID-19 Response Framework Levels

The 5 zones (colours) are designed to build on one another. Each new zone (colour) adds restrictions to the previous zone. For example, the Yellow – Protect level includes all the restrictions from the Green – Prevent zone, and adds more restrictive requirements.

When Does a Level Get Changed?

Indicators will generally be assessed based on the previous two weeks of COVID-19 indicators. However, movement to apply measures will be considered sooner than two weeks if there is a rapidly worsening trend. Local context and conditions will inform movement, including potential regional application of measures. Specific indicators and thresholds can be found in Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework.

General Public Health Measures and Advice for All Zones

Follow public health advice:

  • Stay home as much as possible, even when healthy. Stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Avoid social gatherings.
  • Limit close contacts to people you live with.
  • Work from home if possible. Allow your employees to work from home if possible.
  • Avoid travel except for essential reasons.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
  • Cover your cough.
  • Download the COVID Alert mobile app.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you’ve been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert mobile app.
  • Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with).
  • Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
  • Maintain two metres of physical distancing from everyone else.
  • Wear a mask/face covering:
    • Indoors, any time you are within two metres of someone you don’t live with.
    • If physical distancing cannot be maintained, even outdoors.
    • If wearing one is required.
  • Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people you don’t live with. Wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing when meeting for permitted organized public events or social gatherings with individuals you don’t live with.
  • Adhere to provincial and applicable local restrictions on public and private gatherings.

In Red – Control zones:

  • Trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons (work, school, groceries/pharmacy, health care, assisting vulnerable individuals or exercise and physical activity).
  • Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes. People who live alone can gather with one household.
  • Everyone should avoid social gatherings

In Grey – Lockdown zones:

  • Trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons (work, school, groceries/pharmacy, health care, assisting vulnerable individuals or exercise and physical activity).
  • No indoor organized public events and social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household. People who live alone can gather with one household.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Avoid travel except for essential reasons. Travel between regions will greatly increase the potential for spikes in community spread and undo all the progress we have made. You should avoid travelling between Health Unit regions except for essential reasons.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Ontario is restricting travel into Ontario from the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec with the exception of purposes such as work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights.

Individuals and families who consider travelling to another province for essential reasons should:

  • Consider the risk associated with travelling – this includes COVID-19 transmission in the other province, entry requirements (for example, quarantine) of some other provinces.
  • Self-quarantine, or drastically reduce close contact with others 10 to 14 days before travelling and after returning home, to help lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • Follow general public health advice, rules and regulations of Ontario and the other province.

When you return to Canada from abroad, you must:

  • Self-isolate (quarantine) and stay home for 14 days whether you have symptoms or not.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 on arrival at Toronto Pearson International Airport, as part of Ontario’s six-point plan to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC).

Public Health Advice, Recommendations and Instructions for Businesses

Businesses or organizations must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting. Check with your local public health unit for any additional advice, recommendations or instructions.

Businesses or organizations must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals.

Screening staff and essential visitors:

Screening patrons:

  • Businesses must implement passive screening for patrons (e.g., posting signs outside the store front advising patrons about not entering if they have COVID-19 symptoms). Use this COVID-19 Symptom Screening Poster.
  • Beginning in the Orange – Restrict zone, active screening of patrons may be required for some businesses. You can use this COVID-19 Customer Screening tool.

Everyone must wear a mask/face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin inside any business or place that is open, with some exceptions.

Workers must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects their eyes, nose and mouth, if in the course of providing services they are:

  • Required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering.
  • In an indoor area and are not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Businesses must not permit patrons to line up inside, or to line up or congregate outside, unless they:

  • Maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from others
  • Wear a mask or face covering (with some exceptions)
  • Maximum 25% capacity in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food, and pharmacies.

  • Subject to the ability to maintain two metres of physical distancing.

  • All businesses or facilities that engage in retail sales to the public must post a sign in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted to operate under.

  • To calculate maximum capacity:

    • For 25% capacity: divide the total square metres of floor space accessible to the public (not including shelving and store fixtures) by 16 and round down to the nearest whole number

Businesses or places that are open shall ensure that equipment, washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms and showers that are accessible to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.

All businesses/organizations must have a COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan in place. Use this sample COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan and COVID-19 Safety Checklist as guides to create your own. The Safety Plan must be in writing and be made available to any person to review it on request. A copy of the Safety Plan must be posted in a publicly available space where it could come to the attention of staff or patrons.

Each person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person who performs work for the business or organization conducts their work remotely, with limited exception, for instance, where the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace.

Public Health Measures for an Area in the COVID-19 Shutdown Zone and Stay-at-Home Order

This is only a summary of the measures in effect in Ontario. It is not intended to be legal advice or an interpretation of the law. For greater detail on the information below, refer to O. Reg. 82/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 1 and the Stay-at-Home Order.

Indoor organized public and private events and social gatherings are not allowed, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.

Outdoor organized public and private events and social gatherings are not allowed, except with members of the same household (the people you live with).

For weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies:

  • Physical distancing must be maintained.
  • Guests must wear masks or face coverings.
  • Capacity limits:
    • Maximum 10 people indoors or outdoors
  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies permitted, subject to certain conditions.
  • Virtual services permitted and are the safest option.
  • Social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions, are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone.

Businesses that can Open and Relevant Restrictions

Businesses allowed to open if they supply essential:

  • Support
  • Products
  • Supplies
  • Systems
  • Services, including processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, delivery and maintenance

Only permitted to open for:

  • Child care centres and authorized recreational and skill building programs (as described in the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014)
  • Court services
  • Government services
  • Mental health and addictions support services (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous). Permitted to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Social services
  • Collective bargaining, so long as no more than 10 people are permitted to occupy the rented space.

Contact information recording required, with the exception of court services.

  • Take out, drive through, and delivery permitted only (includes the sale of alcohol).
  • Night clubs and strip clubs only permitted to open if they operate as a food or drink establishment.
  • Supermarkets, convenience stores, indoor farmer’s markets and other stores that primarily sell food can open for:
    • In-person retail (25% capacity where two metres physical distancing can be maintained)
    • Curbside pick-up
    • Delivery
  • Pharmacies can open for:
    • In-person retail (25% capacity, where two metres physical distancing can be maintained)
    • Curbside pick-up
    • Delivery
  • During the Stay-at-Home Order, most non-essential retailers may open:
    • For curbside pickup and delivery only, by appointment
    • Between 7:00am to 8:00pm for sales, with delivery allowed between 6:00am and 9:00pm
  • Discount and big box stores can only open for in-person sales for:
    • Grocery items
    • Pet care supplies
    • Household cleaning supplies
    • Pharmaceutical items
    • Health care items
    • Personal care items
  • Shopping malls are only open for:
    • Access to grocery stores, pharmacies, health care services (e.g., dentist’s office) and government and court services
    • Picking up purchases from a designated pickup area, by appointment only. Only one single designated area for pick-up is allowed indoors. Any number of designated pick-up areas are allowed outdoors.
  • Outdoor garden centres, plant nurseries and indoor greenhouses may open for in-person shopping:
    • At a maximum capacity of 25%
    • Between 7:00am and 8:00pm only
  • Cannabis stores:
    • Open for curbside pickup only, by appointment, between 9:00am and 8:00pm
    • May provide delivery between 9:00am and 9:00pm
  • Stores that sell liquor, including beer, wine and spirits may open for in-person shopping:
    • At a maximum capacity of 25%
    • Between 7:00am and 8:00pm for sales, with delivery allowed between 6:00am and 9:00pm
  • Other retail:
    • In-store shopping is allowed by appointment only for:
      • Safety supply stores
      • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies
      • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rentals
      • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public
      • Sales of motor vehicles, boats and other watercrafts
      • Repair, essential maintenance and rental services for vehicles and equipment
      • Telecommunications providers or service, for cellphone sales, repairs or technical support only
    • These retailers may open for in-person shopping:
      • At a maximum capacity of 25%
      • Between 7:00am and 8:00pm for sales, with delivery allowed between 6:00am and 9:00pm
  • Includes cars, trucks and motorcycles; recreational vehicles including motor homes; trailers and travel trailers; boats and other watercraft; and other motorized vehicles, including power-assisted bicycles, golf carts, scooters, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles
  • Members of the public must not be permitted where products are neither sold nor displayed for sale
  • Subject to certain conditions related to test drives, including:
    • Limited to no more than 10 minutes
    • A maximum of two people, including up to one sales representative permitted
    • Windows must be opened at all times unless if two people who are not members of the same household are present in the vehicle
  • In-person shopping by appointment only
  • Maximum capacity: up to 25%
  • Operating hours limited to between 7:00am and 8:00pm for sales, with delivery allowed between 6:00am and 9:00pm

Permitted services include:

  • Gas stations and other fuel suppliers
  • Automated and self-service car washes
  • Laundromats and drycleaners
  • Snow clearing and landscaping services
  • Security services for residences, businesses and other properties
  • Domestic services to support children, seniors or vulnerable persons, including:
    • Housekeeping
    • Cooking
    • Indoor and outdoor cleaning and maintenance services
  • Courier, postal, shipping, moving and delivery services
  • Funeral and related services
  • Staffing services including providing temporary help
  • Veterinary services and other businesses that provide pet services and for the health and welfare of animals, including:
    • Farms
    • Boarding kennels
    • Stables
    • Animal shelters
    • Research facilities
    • Groomers
    • Pet sitters
    • Pet walkers
    • Pet trainers (including for service animals)
  • Rental and leasing services, including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental:
    • Only permit members of the public to enter the business premises by appointment
    • Maximum capacity: up to 25%
    • Operating hours limited to between 7:00am and 8:00pm, with delivery allowed between 6:00am and 9:00pm
  • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services:
    • Only permit members of the public to enter the business premises by appointment
    • Maximum capacity: up to 25%
    • Operating hours limited to between 7:00am and 8:00pm, with delivery allowed between 6:00am and 9:00pm

Hotels, motels, lodges, cabins, cottages, resorts student residences and other shared rental accommodations

  • Indoor pools, fitness centres or other recreational facilities closed.

Short-term Rentals

  • Short-term rentals (e.g., cottages, cabins) are only to be provided to individuals who are in need of housing.
  • With the exception of exercising an Aboriginal or treaty right, ice fishing huts may:
    • Only be used by to members of the same household
    • Not be used overnight

Seasonal Campgrounds

  • Campsites must be made available only for trailers and recreational vehicles that are:
    • Used by individuals who are in need of housing
    • Permitted to be there by the terms of a full season contract
  • Only campsites with electricity, water services and facilities for sewage disposal may be provided.
  • All recreational facilities in the campground and all other shared facilities in the campground, other than washrooms and showers, must be closed.
  • Other areas of the campground must be closed to the general public (may only be opened for preparing the seasonal campground for reopening).

Post-secondary institutions open for virtual instruction, with limited exceptions where in-person instruction is required (e.g., clinical training, trades). Subject to physical distancing with limited exceptions.

In-person teaching (each instructional space at the institution at one time) and in-person examinations cannot exceed 10 persons, with limited exemptions for:

  • Diagnostic cardiac sonography and diagnostic medical sonography
  • Diagnostic ultrasound
  • Medical imaging
  • Medical laboratory assistant and medical laboratory technician
  • Medical radiation technology
  • Medicine
  • Mental health and addictions services, including psychology services, social work services and counselling services
  • Nursing
  • Paramedic
  • Personal support worker, supportive care worker, home care worker or a similar occupation
  • Pharmacy/pharmacy technician
  • Public health inspector, if the program is accredited by the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors
  • Rehabilitation sciences (nutrition, speech language pathology, occupational science, and physiotherapy)
  • Respiratory therapy

Additional requirements for in-person teaching that involves singing or the playing of brass or wind instruments.

Financial services that are permitted include:

  • Capital markets and related securities trading and advisory services
  • Banking/credit union activities including credit intermediation
  • Insurance
  • Land registration services
  • Pension and benefits payment services
  • Financial services including payroll and payment processing and accounting and tax services

No open houses – showing a property permitted by appointment only.

Permitted businesses include:

  • Information technology (IT) services, including online services, software products and the facilities necessary for their operation and delivery
  • Telecommunications providers and services (phone, internet, radio, cell phones etc.) and facilities necessary for their operation and delivery
  • Newspapers, radio and television broadcasting

Maintenance, repair and property management services that manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings are allowed.

Permitted services include:

  • Transportation services provided by air, water, road, and rail, including taxis and other private transportation providers
  • Support services for transportation services, including:
    • Logistical support, distribution services, warehousing and storage, truck stops and tow operators, and
    • Services that support the operations and safety of transportation systems including maintenance and repairs
  • Marinas, boating clubs and other organizations that maintain docking facilities for members or patrons that meet the following condition:

    • Any clubhouse, restaurant, pool, communal steam room, sauna or whirlpool, meeting room, fitness centre or other recreational facility on the premises must be closed to the public, except for any portion of those areas that,

      • Is used to provide first aid services,

      • Is used to provide take-out or delivery service,

      • Contains a washroom, or

      • Provides access to an area described above

      • Nothing in O. Reg. 82/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STAGE 1 precludes a person responsible for a marina, boating club or other organization that maintains docking facilities for members or patrons from operating a grocery or convenience store on the premises or from providing fuel supply, watercraft repair and servicing, watercraft docking and watercraft launching services.
  • Businesses that provide and support online retail, including by providing warehousing, storage and distribution of goods that are ordered online

In-person driving instruction only permitted for:

  • Instruction for drivers of commercial motor vehicles
  • The Ontario Driver Certification Program (administered by the Ministry of Transportation), for motor vehicles for which:
    • A class of driver’s licence other than Class G, G1, G2, M, M1 or M2 is required
    • An air brake endorsement is required
  • Students at private career colleges, in accordance with certain conditions

Businesses are permitted if they:

  • Extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g., primary metal/steel, blow molding, component manufacturers and chemicals that feed the end-product manufacturer), regardless of whether those other manufacturers are inside or outside of Ontario
  • Support and facilitate the movement of goods within integrated North American and global supply chains

Businesses are allowed if they:

  • Produce food and beverages, agricultural products (including plants), including by farming, harvesting, aquaculture, hunting and fishing
  • Process, manufacture or distribute:
    • Food
    • Beverages
    • Crops
    • Agricultural products
    • Animal products and by-products
  • Support the food or agricultural products supply chains and the health and safety of food, animals and plants

All non-essential workplaces in the construction sector are closed. Some essential construction activities or projects and supporting services are allowed.

Businesses that provide and ensure the domestic and global continuity of supply of resources are allowed, including:

  • Resource exploration
  • Mining
  • Forestry
  • Aggregates
  • Petroleum and petroleum by-products
  • Chemicals

Also allowed are:

  • Electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage
  • Natural gas distribution, transmission and storage

Businesses that deliver or support the delivery of community services are allowed, including:

  • Sewage treatment and disposal
  • Waste collection, transport, storage, processing, disposal or recycling
  • potable drinking water
  • Critical infrastructure repair and maintenance including roads, dams, bridges
  • Environmental rehabilitation, management and monitoring, and spill clean-up and response
  • Administrative authorities that regulate and inspect businesses
  • Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system
  • Government services, including:
    • Policing and law enforcement
    • Fire and emergency services
    • Paramedics
    • Coroner and pathology services
    • Corrections and court services
    • Licences and permits
  • Allotment gardens or community gardens

Only open for:

  • Identified high-performance athletes, including parasport athletes training and competing for the next Olympics/Paralympics, and specified professional leagues (e.g., NHL, CFL, MLS, NBA) 
  • Child care, mental health and addiction support services, social services or other specified purposes (includes community centres and multi-purpose facilities, such as YMCA) – 10 people maximum
  • Access to physical therapy for a person with a disability (as defined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005)
    • Written instruction by a regulated health professional required
    • Only for physical therapy not available elsewhere
    • May include:
      • Gymnasiums
      • Health clubs
      • Community centres
      • Multi-purpose facilities
  • Accompaniment by support persons or service animals allowed, if required
  • Read the guidance document for sports and recreational fitness activities facilities that open for people with disabilities 

All outdoor recreational amenities are closed, with limited exceptions. This includes, but is not limited to, golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds.

Businesses and organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research, including medical research and other research and development activities, are permitted.

Permitted:

  • Organizations and providers that deliver home care services or personal support services to seniors and persons with disabilities
  • Regulated health professionals
  • Professionals or organizations that provide in-person counselling services
  • Organizations that provide health care, including:
    • Retirement homes
    • Hospitals
    • Clinics
    • Long-term care facilities
    • Independent health facilities
    • Mental health and addictions counselling supports
  • Laboratories and specimen collection centres
  • Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, including:
    • Medications
    • Medical isotopes
    • Vaccines and antivirals
    • Medical devices
    • Medical supplies
  • Manufacturers, distributors and businesses that provide logistical support for products and services that support the delivery of health care
  • Organizations that provide critical personal support services in home or residential services for individuals with physical disabilities
  • Organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals
  • Businesses that are primarily engaged in the provision of health and safety training (with conditions)

Permitted:

  • Sound recording, production, publishing and distribution businesses
  • Commercial film and television production, including all supporting activities such as hair, makeup and wardrobe – with the following conditions:
    • No studio audiences permitted to be on the film or television set
    • No more than 50 performers may be on the film or television set
    • The film or television set may be located in any business or place, including any business or place that is otherwise required to be closed
    • Set must be configured and operated in such a way as to enable persons on the set to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons, except where necessary for the filming of the film or television production
    • Hair or makeup services providers must wear appropriate personal protective equipment
    • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
    • The person responsible for the film or television production must ensure that the production operates in accordance with the guidance document titled “Film and television industry health and safety during COVID-19” issued by the Film and Television Health and Safety Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, as amended from time to time.
  • Film and television postproduction, visual effects and animation studios
  • Book and periodical production, publishing and distribution businesses
  • Commercial and industrial photography
  • Interactive digital media businesses, including:
    • Computer system software or application developers and publishers
    • Video game developers and publishers

Circulating materials must be reserved over the telephone or online for contactless curbside, delivery or pick-up.

Patrons must only be permitted to enter the premises to facilitate the contactless drop-off and pick-up or access computers, photocopiers or similar services.

Patrons must not:

  • Be in the book stacks
  • Handle circulating materials that are shelved or in other areas of library storage

Circulating materials returned to the library must be disinfected or quarantined before they are recirculated.

Other permitted services include:

  • Child care services
  • Mental health and addiction support services, to a limit of 10 people
  • Social services
  • Amusement parks, water parks
  • Bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas (includes drive in or drive through events)
  • Day camps
  • Horse racing (open for training only, no races or spectators)
  • Motorsports
  • Museums and cultural amenities
  • Personal care services
  • Tour and guide services
  • Zoos and aquariums (permitted to operate for the care of animals)