Ontario has announced that the Toronto and Peel Region Public Health Unit regions will proceed to Stage 3 of reopening, effective 12:01a.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020.
Toronto and Peel Region will join the 31 Public Health Unit regions that entered into Stage 3 of its Framework for Reopening ("Framework") on July 17 and 24, 2020.
Gathering limits in Toronto and Peel will increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors, with physical distancing in place. Gathering limits apply to all social gatherings and events, as well as some higher risk activities and venues.
Gathering limits do not apply to settings such as restaurants and bars; however these settings must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least 2 metres, plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier. The Office of the Premier has also endorsed proposals made by the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health relating to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments that are permitted to re-open.
Proposals from the City of Toronto and Toronto Public Health, if adopted, would further restrict close contact and interaction in restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments. These restrictions would include limitations on movement/seating and maintaining client logs to support case and contact tracing and limit the spread of the virus.
"High risk" businesses and activities continue to be restricted, and are not permitted to re-open (regardless of Stage) without an approved "re-opening proposal" in place. The province continues to accept re-opening proposals via its online re-opening portal. Designated "high risk" businesses and activities continue to include:
- Amusement parks and water parks;
- Buffet-style food services;
- Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
- Overnight stays at camps for children;
- Private karaoke rooms;
- Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
- Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
- Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region will remain in Stage 2 until further notice. The province has indicated that it will continue to monitor local trends of key public health indicators in the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region and transition the region into Stage 3 when it is safe to do so.
It is unclear whether the province will once again choose to adopt a unique approach for the Windsor-Essex region, as it did during Stage 2, by permitting certain low density and low risk municipalities to enter Stage 3 before the rest of the region.
In the interim, the province has committed to addressing the specific needs of the Windsor-Essex region, through measures such as enhanced testing, additional mobile testing units, and the adoption of new public health guidance for positive asymptomatic workers for all workplaces.
For any questions you may have about Stage 3, exclusions, re-opening proposals, health and safety protocols, and other issues related to COVID-19, the Gowling WLG Employment, Labour & Equalities Group would be pleased to assist. To find out more about our Group, and how to contact a specific lawyer, click here.