THE EMPLOYERS' EDGE
BREAKING: Ontario Introduces New Restrictions to COVID-19 Hot Zones
This afternoon Premier Ford announced a slew of new restrictions intended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Most notably, Toronto and Peel Region will be moved into Lockdown effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
Measures under Lockdown include, but are not limited to:
- Schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open;
- Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade;
- No indoor organized public events or social gatherings 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 limited to a maximum of 10 people;
- Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
- Retail permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity;
- Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments will only be able to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery. Indoor and outdoor dining services are prohibited;
- Personal care services closed;
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed; and
- Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with limited exceptions.
In addition to the new Lockdown measures, the following public health unit regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:
- 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 full list of public health region classifications can be found here.
In support of these restrictions, the government has introduced a number of enhanced enforcement measures as well as a workplace inspection blitz with steep penalties for non-compliance. As a reminder, the following business are required to have a workplace safety plan if they operate in a region that is coded Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, or Red-Control under the COVID-19 Response Framework:
- Restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments;
- Sports and recreational facilities;
- Meeting and event spaces;
- Personal care services;
- Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments; and,
- Cinemas and performing arts facilities.
The Ontario government will also be providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures. Businesses can apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebate grants from the province which will cover the length of time that a business is required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in an area categorized as Red-Control or Lockdown, or previously categorized as modified Stage 2 public health restrictions. A list of eligible business and instructions for applying can be found here.
As always, CCPartners continues to monitor announcements made by all levels of government as they are made and will continue to update you as they come. If you have any questions related to COVID-19 disruptions, CCPartners is here to help.