COVID-19

Ontario Declares Third State of Emergency and Issues Stay-At-Home Order

In response to the increase in COVID-19 transmission and risks posed by “variants of concern”, the Ontario Government has declared a third state of emergency pursuant to section 7.0.1(1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA). The declaration of emergency will terminate after fourteen (14) days, unless terminated earlier or extended.

The Ontario Government has also issued a province-wide Stay-At-Home Order (the “Order”). The Order will be in effect as of Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. for a four-week period. Pursuant to Ontario Regulation 265/21 made under the EMCPA, the Order requires individuals to remain in their place of residence unless leaving their residence is necessary for one of the following purposes:

Work, school and child care

  • Working or volunteering where the nature of the work or volunteering requires the individual to leave their residence, including when the individual’s employer has determined that the nature of the individual’s work requires attendance at the workplace.
  • Attending school or a post-secondary institution.
  • Attending, obtaining or providing child care.
  • Receiving or providing training or educational services.

Obtaining goods and services

  • Obtaining food, beverages and personal care items.
  • Obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an individual, including vaccinations, other health care services and medications.
  • Obtaining goods, obtaining services, or performing such activities as are necessary for landscaping, gardening and the safe operation, maintenance and sanitation of households, businesses, means of transportation or other places.
  • Purchasing or picking up goods through an alternative method of sale, such as curb-side pickup, from a business or place that is permitted to provide the alternative method of sale.
  • Attending an appointment at a business or place that is permitted to be open by appointment only.
  • Obtaining services from a financial institution or cheque cashing service.
  • Obtaining government services, social services and supports, mental health support services or addictions support services.

Assisting others

  • Delivering goods or providing care or other support or assistance to an individual who requires support or assistance, or receiving such support or assistance, including,
    • Providing care for an individual in a congregate care setting, and
    • Accompanying an individual who requires assistance leaving their residence for any purpose permitted under this Order.
  • Taking a child to the child’s parent or guardian or to the parent or guardian’s residence.
  • Taking a member of the individual’s household to any place the member of the household is permitted to go under this Order.

Health, safety and legal purposes

  • Doing anything that is necessary to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an individual, including,
    • Protecting oneself or others from domestic violence,
    • Leaving or assisting someone in leaving unsafe living conditions, and
    • Seeking emergency assistance.
  • Exercising, including,
    • Walking or moving around outdoors using an assistive mobility device, or
    • Using an outdoor recreational amenity that is permitted to be open.
  • Attending a place as required by law or in relation to the administration of justice.
  • Exercising an Aboriginal or treaty right as recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Multiple residences and moving

  • Travelling to another residence of the individual if,
    • The individual intends to be at the residence for less than 24 hours and is attending for one of the purposes set out in this Order, or
    • The individual intends to reside at the residence for at least 14 days.
  • Travelling between the homes of parents, guardians or caregivers, if the individual is under their care.
  • Making arrangements to purchase or sell a residence or to begin or end a residential lease.
  • Moving residences.

Travel

  • Travelling to an airport, bus station or train station for the purpose of travelling to a destination that is outside of the Province.

Gatherings

  • Attending a gathering for the purpose of a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite or ceremony that is permitted by law or making necessary arrangements for the purpose of such a gathering.
  • If the individual lives alone, gathering with the members of a single household.

Animals

  • Obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an animal, including obtaining veterinary services.
  • Obtaining animal food or supplies.
  • Doing anything that is necessary to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an animal, including protecting an animal from suffering abuse.
  • Walking or otherwise exercising an animal.

In addition to the above Order, public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail and services have been enhanced pursuant to Ontario Regulation 267/21 made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. These measures include, but are not limited to:

Retail

  • Permitting the majority of non-essential retailers to operate for curb-side pick-up and delivery, via appointment, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
    • An item may only be provided for pick-up if the patron ordered the item prior to arriving at the business premises.
  • Restricting access to shopping malls to limited purposes, including access for curb-side pick-up and delivery, via appointment only, with one designated location inside shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside shopping mall.
    • An item may only be provided for pick-up if the patron ordered the item prior to arriving at the business premises.
    • Allowable hours restricted to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
    • A shopping mall may open outside of the hours described above only for the purpose of providing access for members of the public to a business or place that is permitted to open during those hours and where the business or place only has public entrances that open into the interior of the shopping mall.
  • Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only.
    • No other goods or services may be sold unless the discount or big box retailer complies with any conditions that are applicable with respect to the sale of those goods or services by other retail establishments under the Order.
  • Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.:
    • 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 rental;
    • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
    • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
    • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
    • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.
  • Permitting stores that sell liquor, including beer, wine and spirits, other than restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands, and other food or drink establishments, to open subject to 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Permitting outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, to operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Requiring outdoor markets which are permitted to open under the Order to provide products only to patrons in a manner which allows members of the public to remain in an outdoor area at all times or through an alternative method of sale that does not require patrons to enter the indoor area, such as curbside pick-up or delivery
    • Restricting allowable hours to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Education

Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted.

A copy of the News Release announcing the provincial state of emergency and Stay-At-Home Order can be found here.

If you have any questions about this matter, other COVID-19 related issues, or would like any other workplace law assistance, please contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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