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Author:
Charles Binns

Date:
2020.12.21

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THE EMPLOYERS' EDGE

BREAKING COVID-19 NEWS: ONTARIO ENTERING PROVINCE-WIDE LOCKDOWN STARTING BOXING DAY

Province-Wide Lockdown

The much anticipated news of stricter lockdowns across Ontario has arrived. This afternoon Doug Ford announced that Ontario will enter a province-wide lockdown beginning on December 26 at 12:01am. You can find the government’s news release here.

The lockdown will be in effect for 28 days in Southern Ontario. Cities north of Sudbury will remain in lockdown for 14 days.

Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
  • Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings - curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
  • Restricting indoor access to shopping malls - patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.

Small Business Support Grant

Ontario government also announced a new Ontario Small Business Support Grant to provide significant financial support to eligible small business owners. Eligible small businesses include those that:

  • Are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the Province-wide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020;
  • Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with dollar for dollar funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Province-wide Shutdown. The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. More information about the Small Business Support Grant can be found here.

School Closures

As part of the lockdown schools in southern Ontario will switch to remote-only learning for a period of time after the holiday break.

Schools located in the following Public Health Unit regions can resume in-person instruction on January 11, 2021 for both elementary and secondary students:

  • The District of Algoma Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Sudbury and District Health Unit
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit

For schools in all other Public Health Unit regions, elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning.

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