Ontario Extends Stay-At-Home Order and Announces New COVID-19 Restrictions

The following information is an overview of the new measures announced on April, 16, 2021, by the Ontario Government. For an updated on the Regulations please refer to our In A Flash article Ontario Releases Regulations Defining Essential Construction Activities and Other COVID-19 Restrictions which sets out the full scope of these new restrictions.

In response to recent COVID-19 modelling, the Ontario Government has announced a two-week extension of the Stay-At-Home Order and declaration of emergency, interprovincial travel restrictions, enhanced enforcement powers and increased public health measures. 

Extension of Stay-At-Home Order and Declaration of Emergency

The Government has announced a two-week extension to both the declaration of emergency and Stay-At-Home Order announced on April 7, 2021. The Stay-At-Home Order will be in effect until at least May 20, 2021.

Enhanced Enforcement Powers

Pursuant to an amendment to Ontario Regulation 8/21: Enforcement of COVID-19 Measures, , police officers and other provincial offences officers will be provided with enhanced authority to support the enforcement of the Stay-At-Home Order. Effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., these enhanced enforcement powers will include the following:

  • Police officers and other provincial offences officers will have the authority to require any individual to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence; and
  • For the duration of the Stay-at-Home Order, police officers, special constables and First Nation Constables will have the authority to stop vehicles to inquire into an individual’s reasons for leaving their home.
Inspection Campaigns

The Ontario Government has announced the launch of the following inspection campaigns:

  • A province-wide inspection campaign of construction sites, during which 200 inspectors will visit approximately 1,300 construction sites for the purposes of enforcing COVID-19 safety requirements and ensuring public health measures are in place; and
  • Provincial officers will also be visiting approximately 500 workplaces, including big-box stores, food processors, manufacturers and warehouses, in COVID-19 “hotspots” including Toronto, Ottawa, and the York Region.
Closure of “Non-Essential” Construction Workplaces

The Provincial Government stated that effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. non-essential workplaces in the construction sector will be closed.  At this time, Regulations have not been released pertaining to the definition of non-essential construction.  Once Regulations are published, we will provide an update with a detailed overview of the definition of essential construction.

Restrictions on Interprovincial Travel

Pursuant to Regulation 293/21 Persons Entering Ontario from Manitoba or Quebec, new restrictions on interprovincial travel from Manitoba and Quebec will be effective Monday, April 19, 2021. Checkpoints will be set up at interprovincial borders to limit travel from Manitoba and Québec, with exceptions for work, obtaining medical care, the transportation of goods, and exercising Indigenous treaty rights.

Enhanced Public Health Measures

Effective Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the following public health and workplace safety measures will be implemented:

  • Prohibiting all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except 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;
  • Reducing capacity limits to 25 percent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted, including in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets and other stores which primarily sell food and pharmacies; and
  • Closure of all outdoor recreational amenities, including golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields and playgrounds, subject to limited exceptions.

Effective Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the following public health measures will be implemented:

  • Weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites, or ceremonies will be limited to 10 people indoors or outdoors;
    • Prohibiting social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions, except for members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone;
    • Drive-in services will be permitted.

All remaining public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail set out under the provincial “emergency brake”, including curbside pick-up and delivery, will continue to apply.

A copy of the Government’s News Release regarding these new measures can be found here.

We will continue to update our clients with information as soon as it becomes available. 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.

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