COVID-19 Update: New Restrictions in Ontario

On April 16, 2021, the Government of Ontario announced that it would be extending the provincial declaration of emergency and the Stay-at-Home order for an additional two weeks until May 5, 2021. The Order can be found here. Orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, with the exception of O. Reg. 241/20 (Special Rules Re Temporary Pandemic Pay), have been extended until May 20, 2021.

In addition, police officers and other provincial offences officers have been given enhanced authority to increase public compliance with the Stay-at-Home order and stop the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, effective April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., police officers and other provincial offences officers who have reason to suspect that an individual may be participating in a prohibited gathering and believes that it would be in the public interest to determine whether the individual is in compliance, may require an individual to provide information for the purpose of determining whether they are in compliance. Police officers, special constables and First Nation Constables will also have the authority to stop vehicles to inquire about an individual’s reasons for leaving their home. According to the Government of Ontario’s announcement, the additional enforcement tool will only be in effect during the Stay-at-Home order and exclusively to enforce the Stay-at-Home order. O. Reg. 8/21: Enforcement of COVID-19 Measures can be found here with amendments found here and here.

In addition to the foregoing, the Government of Ontario announced the following steps:

Additional Public Health Restrictions

Effective April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • All outdoor social gatherings and organized public events are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household (link);
  • All non-essential workplaces in the construction sector are closed (link);
  • Capacity limits in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted is reduced to 25 per cent. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies (link);
  • The list of items that are permissible for in-store shopping at discount and big box retailers has expanded to include “school supplies, household safety supplies” (link); and
  • With limited exceptions, outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, basketball courts, and soccer fields are closed (link). However, an outdoor recreational amenity that is an off-leash dog area, park bench, outdoor playground, outdoor play structure or outdoor play equipment may be open (link).

Further, effective April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the Government of Ontario is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Drive-in services will be permitted.

All other public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the province-wide emergency brake will continue to apply.

Interprovincial Travel

The Government of Ontario is also restricting travel into Ontario from the provinces of Manitoba and Québec. Exceptions will be made for purposes such as work, health care services, transportation of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights.

This update is part of our continuing efforts to keep you informed about COVID-19. If you are an employer and need assistance, please reach out to any member of our Labour & Employment Team or leaders of our Hub for Business Leaders.

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