Restrictions on Businesses During the Third State of Emergency (updated May 13, 2021)

 In Business Law

On May 13, 2021, Premier Doug Ford announced that the third state of emergency and provincewide stay-at-home order will remain in effect until at least June 2, 2021.  Every Ontarian must remain home, except for essential purposes, such as attending grocery stores or pharmacies, accessing health care services, exercising outdoors or for work that cannot be done remotely.

In addition to the restrictions imposed on businesses under the recent “emergency break”, businesses will be subject to further restrictions and increased inspections during the state of emergency and stay-at-home order, as outlined below.

Updated Restrictions

Non-essential retail stores may operate for curb side pickup, via appointment between 7:00am-8:00pm and may offer delivery between 6:00am-9:00pm.

Shopping malls may offer curb side pick-up by appointment and delivery only. There may be only one single designated pick-up location inside the mall and any number of designated pick-up locations outside.

Safety supply stores; businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive, mobility or medical devices, aids or related supplies; rental and leasing services, including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental; optical stores that sell prescription eyewear; businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft; vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance; and rental stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service (which may only permit members of the public to enter to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support) are permitted to offer in-store shopping by appointment between 7:00am-8:00pm, with a 25% capacity limit, and delivery is permitted between 6:00am-9:00pm.

In-person shopping at discount and big box stores is restricted to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items and personal care items only.

Outdoor garden centres, plant nurseries and indoor greenhouses may operate with a 25% capacity limit between 7:00am-8:00pm.

Workplace Inspections

Workplace inspections will be increased in regional hot zones during the state of emergency and stay-at-home order.


Schools will return to online learning indefinitely, beginning on April 19, 2021.


An employee who becomes infected with COVID-19 and is unable to work may be entitled to federally funded paid sick leave (the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit) of up to $500 per week,

for up to four weeks, for the period between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. The employee must submit a new application each week.

A complete list of regional public health measures and restrictions under the new emergency order can be found here. Several issues, including enforcement, remain to be clarified, and we will watch for further developments.

This blog post was written by Jade Renaud, a member of the Business Law team. Jade can be reached at 613-369-0373 or at

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