Ontario Announces Stage 3 Reopening – Nearly All Businesses May Reopen

 In Business Law

Premier Doug Ford announced this week that 24 regions in the Province of Ontario, including the Ottawa Public Health unit region, may enter Stage 3 of the provincial reopening framework this Friday, July 17, 2020. On Friday, beginning at 12:01 a.m., nearly all businesses and public spaces in the affected regions will be able to reopen, provided the businesses follow health and safety guidelines. Businesses and municipalities may, however, choose to delay their reopening until they feel they can reopen safely. Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, confirmed that she expects that the province will stay in Stage 3 for the foreseeable future.

While the vast majority of the businesses may reopen, the following high-risk businesses and activities will remain closed:

  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars (other than by performers hired by the establishment)
  • Private karaoke rooms
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses, and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
  • Overnight stays at camps for children

To assist with the reopening, the government and health and safety associations released a series of sector-specific guidance documents. They can be found here.

Businesses that cannot reopen this Friday or are experiencing significant challenges in reopening due to the remaining restrictions may submit a safe reopening proposal to the government that would outline how they may safely resume or increase operations. The government and public health officials will review and provide feedback on the proposals.

To further assist with the reopening, as of July 27, 2020, child care centres will be permitted to increase their cohorts from 10 to 15 children. This change will help parents to return to work more quickly. Strict safety and operational requirements will remain in place in child care centres and home child care settings.

In addition, in those Ontario regions that will be entering into Stage 3, the limit on indoor gatherings will be increased to 50 people while the limit on outdoor gatherings will be increased to 100 people. These limits continue to be subject to physical distancing requirements.

For more information on Stage 3 of the reopening and additional, sector-specific restrictions remaining in place, please click here and visit Ontario.ca/reopen. If you have questions on the restrictions remaining in place, please consult the emergency information portal or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

The Ontario government had earlier launched a website to inform business about personal protective equipment suppliers. This Workplace PPE Supplier Directory provides a list of Ontario companies and business associations that offer to supply personal protective equipment.

This blog post was written by Marina Abrosimov, a member of the Business Law team.  Marina can be reached at 613-369-0363 or at marina.abrosimov@mannlawyers.com.


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