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A Further Update on COVID-19 – The Government of Ontario Announces that Stage Three will Commence on July 17, 2020 for Specific Non-GTA Regions

July 14, 2020
by Israel Foulon LLP


Since our June 24, 2020 E-Bulletin, the Government of Ontario has announced that it will continue to apply a regional framework as it moves forward with Stage Three of its plan to gradually reopen the economy. 

The following regions are not permitted to enter Stage Three until they are advised by public health that it is safe to do so:

  • Durham Region Health Department
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
  • Halton Region Public Health
  • Hamilton Public Health Services
  • Lambton Public Health
  • Niagara Region Public Health
  • Peel Public Health
  • Toronto Public Health
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
  • York Region Public Health

For greater clarity, the full list of regions that are permitted to progress to Stage Three may be accessed HERE.

Stage Three Social Gatherings Restrictions

As of Friday, July 17, 2020, at 12:01 AM, the social gathering restrictions for regions permitted to enter Stage Three will be increased.

  • Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people
  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people
  • All businesses, services and public spaces when operating an event are subject to the indoor and outdoor gathering limits
  • Employees, performers, and crew members do not count towards the gathering limit

For Regions that are subject to Stage Two restrictions, indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Stage Three – What Can Open?

As of Friday, July 17, 2020, at  12:01 AM, almost all businesses are permitted to reopen for Stage Three. Businesses that decide to open are subject to continued restrictions, and social distancing measures put in place by Public Health.

The following businesses and activities have been classified as high-risk and are not permitted to open for Stage Three:

  • 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, bathhouses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments

A full list of restrictions put in place by Public Health for Stage Three can be accessed HERE.

Best Practices for Reopening your Business

Employers have an obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to provide a safe work environment. To minimize the risk of infection and meet their requirements under the OHSA, employers must implement a detailed COVID-19 Response Plan that:

  • Clearly communicates health and safety measures to employees;
  • Educates employees on effective strategies to prevent the spread of the virus;
  • Provides information on how the employer is taking steps to protect employees;
  • Lists what steps an employee should take if they develop COVID-related symptoms; and
  • Outlines how the workplace will respond to a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

You Can access the Ministry of Labour’s COVID-19 Response Plan Template HERE.

Please feel free to contact Israel Foulon LLP for assistance with drafting and implementing COVID-19 Response Plans.

Sector Specific Health and Safety Guidelines

  • The Ministry of Labour has partnered with Ontario’s Health and Safety associations to develop sector-specific health and safety guidelines to help businesses safely reopen.
  • The full database can be accessed HERE.

Major City Centres Across Ontario are Mandating the Use of Masks in All Public Indoor Spaces

  • On Tuesday, July 7, 2020 the City of Toronto enacted By-Law 541-2020 mandating the wearing of masks in all indoor public settings. Any person caught contravening this policy may be fined under the Provincial Offences Act.
  • The Full By-Law can be accessed HERE.

Workplace PPE Supplier Directory

  • The Ontario Government has provided an up to date list of companies and associations that are ready to supply businesses with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  The list may be accessed HERE.

You can access the Ontario government’s newsroom announcement regarding Stage Three HERE.

Given the exceptional and unprecedented situation, we expect further developments in the coming days.

Israel Foulon’s Response to COVID-19

Israel Foulon is assessing the situation as it evolves, and is taking all necessary precautions within its workplace. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and for the health of our team and clients, absent extraordinary circumstances we are working remotely until further notice whenever possible. However, please be aware that our offices remain open and are fully functioning. In the circumstances, we encourage our clients to contact us by phone and email to the extent possible. Voicemail messages left at our office phone numbers are immediately forwarded via email. All messages will be promptly responded to. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our clients and would be more than happy to assist you with concerns regarding COVID-19 or any other employment or labour matters.


Legal Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice, which in all circumstances must be tailored to the specific facts of any problem. You should obtain a proper legal consultation in order to determine how this article applies to your specific situation. Please feel free to contact Israel Foulon LLP to learn more at 416-640-1550.