Provincewide Shutdown and Stay-at-Home Order to Stop Spread of COVID-19
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Province of Ontario has declared a state of emergency, effective January 13, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
The government of Ontario is also issuing a stay-at-home order coming into effect Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. This new order requires everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes. Guidance on the Provincewide Shutdown page is being updated to reflect the new restrictions and public health measures. Find out about the public health measures and restrictions during the declaration of emergency. Learn about the second declaration of emergency to address COVID-19 in Ontario.
This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people's mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household.
Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Trips outside the home should be limited to necessities such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, supporting vulnerable community members, for exercise or for essential work. Learn about Ontario Regulation 11/21: Stay-At-Home Order. Employers in all industries are asked to make every effort to allow employees to work from home. Learn about Ontario Regulation 10/21: Rules for Areas in Stage 1.
In response to the alarming and exceptional circumstances at hand, and to further interrupt the deadly trend of transmission in Ontario communities, hospitals, and long-term care homes, the government will enact the following additional public health measures:
- Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. This will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
- Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can't physically distance more than two metres. There are some situations when you may be exempt from wearing a mask or face covering.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
These measures will come into effect between Tuesday January 12, 2021 and Thursday, January 14, 2021, including the provincial declaration of emergency under the EMCPA, orders under that Act, and amendments to regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
These measures are in addition to the ones implemented during the Provincewide Shutdown, which 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.
- Closing all facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities. Outdoor sport and recreation fitness amenities (e.g. parks and recreational areas, ice rinks, and snowmobile, cross country, dogsledding, ice-skating and snow-shoe trails) can remain open with certain conditions. Ski hills are closed.
To learn about sector-specific restrictions that will be put in place under the Provincewide Shutdown, please see: COVID-19: provincewide shutdown. For additional measures that apply to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) region, please see: Public Health Orders, Public Health Advice and Additional Public Health Measures for All Sectors.
New School and Child Care Protocols
While transmission in schools remains low, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools will continue with teacher-led remote learning until at least January 25, 2021.
For schools in the EOHU region, while elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 25, 2021, the Chief Medical Officer of Health will advise the Ministry of Education on January 20, 2021 if in-person instruction will be permitted in the EOHU area, based on the most up-to-date data and modelling. Before- and after-school programs can be offered when in-person instruction resumes.
During this period, child care centres, authorized recreational and skill building programs and home-based child care services will remain open. During this extended period of online learning, in areas where in-person elementary learning is suspended, emergency child care will continue for eligible families in regions subject to school closures, as identified by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
- COVID-19 Self-Assessment – Online screening tool and recommendations from Ontario's Ministry of Health
- COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces (Businesses and Organizations) Some exclusions may apply when isolation is not in the best interest of the public (i.e. healthcare workers). These individuals should consult their employer’s occupational health and safety department for instructions.
- Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace: Employers, employees and essential service workers
- Ontario Ministry of Health: Sector-specific guidelines and resources
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: COVID-19 Tip Sheets by sector
- Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 & O. Reg. 82/20 & O. Reg. 10/21 & O. Reg. 11/21
- “Stop the Spread” Business Information Telephone Line – Toll-free line for businesses who have questions about how to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic (Government of Ontario)