On June 24, 2020, the Ontario Government announced an expansion of its regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province.
The Government states that the regional approach to reopening recognizes that different regions in the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses.
The Ontario Government announced on June 24, 2020 that the Regions serviced by Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will enter Stage 2 on June 25, 2020 at 12:01am. Windsor-Essex County had been the last Region in Ontario to remain at Stage 1, due to concerns over relatively high COVID-19 transmission rates in the Region’s agricultural sector. In view of the concerns surrounding the agricultural sector, the progression of the Windsor-Essex County Region to Stage 2 on June 25, 2020 is made with exceptions for the Municipality of Leamington and the Town of Kingsville, where high transmission rates remain a concern.
The Regions (as defined by Public Health Units) which are currently permitted to enter Stage 2 include:
- Algoma Public Health
- Brant County Health Unit
- Chatham-Kent Public Health
- Eastern Ontario Health Unit
- Grey Bruce Health Unit
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
- Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
- Northwestern Health Unit
- Ottawa Public Health
- Peterborough Public Health
- Porcupine Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
- Southwestern Public Health
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit
- Timiskaming Health Unit
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
- Durham Region Health Department
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
- Halton Region Health Department
- Hamilton Public Health Services
- Lambton Health Unit
- Niagara Region Public Health Department
- York Region Public Health Services
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (with exceptions)
At the beginning of each week the Government will provide an update on the ongoing assessment of excluded regions, and whether they are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week (or alternatively revert back to Stage 1, as appropriate).
Notwithstanding the above, effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the Province has increased the limit on social gatherings from 5 to 10 people across the Province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario were permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity.
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:
- Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
- Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
- Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
- Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
- Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
- Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
- Camping at private campgrounds;
- Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
- Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
- Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
- Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
Ontario’s announcement and the initial list of regions moving into stage 2 can be found here. The additional regions permitted to move into stage 2 announced on June 15, 2020, can be found here. The regions permitted to move into Stage 2 announced on June 22, 2020 can be found here, while the latest release with respect to Windsor-Essex County can be found here. The Regulation(s) authorizing the stage 2 re-opening can be found here.
If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.