Province Amends Stage 2 Closure Order Effective July 17
Date: July 17, 2020
On Thursday, July 16, the Ontario government published a regulation that amends the existing Stage 2 Closure Order (Order) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA). The amendments took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, and are therefore already in force.
At the time of publication, the following areas of the province remain in Stage 2 of the government’s reopening plan and are thus impacted by the amendments:
- City of Hamilton Health Unit
- City of Toronto Health Unit
- Durham Regional Health Unit
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
- Halton Regional Health Unit
- Lambton Health Unit
- Niagara Regional Area Health Unit
- Peel Regional Health Unit
- York Regional Health Unit
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
In several respects, the amendments are intended to streamline the Order and to bring the structure of the Order to be more in line with the Stage 3 Closure Order.
Places of business subject to the Order that are permitted to open will remain subject to general compliance requirements, such as ensuring compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and ensuring compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials.
In addition, there are new general cleaning and disinfecting requirements for places of business permitted to open, which apply to various amenities (such as washrooms, locker rooms and change rooms) and to any equipment that is rented to, provided to or made available to the public.
The regulation establishes a general rule that businesses must limit the number of persons who can enter a place of business or facility to ensure that every person is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the business or facility. There are exceptions to this general rule – for example, in relation to groups of persons who are complying with public health guidance on households and social circles.
The general rule limiting numbers of persons in a place of business or facility also applies where meeting or event space is rented out, but is subject to a maximum of 10 persons. This maximum does not apply to weddings, funerals or other religious services, rites or ceremonies provided that the detailed rules set out in the new Schedule 3 of the revised Order are complied with. It also does not apply if the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health approves a plan providing otherwise.
In several instances, existing rules have been amended, which apply, for example, to restaurants, bars, food trucks and other food or drink establishments.
There are two new Schedules that have been added to the Order.
The new Schedule 3 regulates organized public events and social gatherings, including those which are held in private residences, which are limited to no more than 10 people in most instances. It also regulates weddings, funerals or other religious services, rites or ceremonies, which are permitted to exceed 10 people provided specified requirements are met.
The new Schedule 4 establishes a number rules related to outdoor sports and other recreational amenities, and indicates which amenities remain closed and establishes rules for those that may open.
Note that there are special rules in the regulation for the operation of the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB). It states that both sports leagues, in their professional sports plans, shall list the businesses and places in the City of Toronto that may be used by NHL or MLB “hub” participants. These may include hotels, facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational facilities, restaurants or bars adjacent to hotels or those other facilities, among others. There are corresponding exemptions from a number of provisions of the Order, including from the limits on gatherings and the restrictions on the use of indoor / outdoor recreational facilities, among others.
We strongly encourage readers to consult the text of the amended Order to confirm the specific circumstance of your place of business. As businesses continue to reopen and/or expand their operations, readers may wish to consult our checklist entitled Ensuring a Successful Return to Work in a COVID-19 World for guidance.
Should you require further information relating to this amended Order, please contact your regular Hicks Morley lawyer.
The article in this client update provides general information and should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. This publication is copyrighted by Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP and may not be photocopied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP. ©