New Province-Wide Masking Requirements Now in Force; Additional Restrictions for Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region
Date: October 6, 2020
Ontario has again revised its Rules For Areas In Stage 3 (Rules) in light of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Ontario. The new rules include a province-wide mandatory masking requirement and additional restrictions for Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region Public Health Units (defined as the “Enhanced Measures Zone”). The changes came into force on October 3, 2020.
Mandatory Masking Requirement
Persons responsible for a business or organization are now required to ensure “that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area.”
There are numerous exceptions to this requirement, such as where a person has a medical condition inhibiting their ability to wear a mask or is being reasonably accommodated under the Human Right Code, among others. Notably, the masking requirement applies to employees of the organization unless they work in areas that are not accessible to the public and can maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from other persons within the indoor area.
It is also important to note that if a person claims an exemption, they are not required to present evidence that they are entitled to the exemption.
New Restrictions for Enhanced Measures Zone
Schedule 1: Business and Places
Changes to the Rules impose additional restrictions for the Enhanced Measures Zone for persons responsible for a business or place that rents out meeting or event space:
- no more than six people can be seated together at a table in the rented space
- even where the business or place is in compliance with a plan approved by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, capacity limits must not exceed 50 persons for indoor meetings or 100 people for outdoor meetings, which limits are now applied across all rentable event or meeting space at the business (exceptions apply for an authorized wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony, or for the delivery or support of court services).
Schedule 2: Food and Drink
The Food and Drink requirements have been amended for the Enhanced Measures Zone such that establishments must comply with the following additional conditions:
- the total number of patrons permitted to be indoors in the establishment must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from every other person, and in any event cannot exceed 100 patrons
- no more than 6 people may be seated together at a table in the establishment
- no patron may be permitted to line up or congregate outside of the establishment unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least 2 metres from other groups of persons outside the establishment and wearing a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless they are entitled to any of the exceptions.
Contact tracing for a party entering an indoor or outdoor dining area in the Enhanced Measures Zone now requires the name and contact information of each member of the party (rather than just one member) to be recorded.
Exceptions are made for persons temporarily entering an establishment to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order, or where the place is a “limited-service establishment” where only the name and contact information of one member of the party is required to be collected. A “limited-service establishment” is one where dine-in patrons order or select their food or drink at a counter, food bar or cafeteria line and pay before receiving their order.
Schedule 2: Sports and Fitness
Changes to the Rules for Sports and Fitness with respect to the Enhanced Measures Zone limit the total number of members of the public permitted “to be indoors at the facility in classes, organized programs or organized activities together with members of the public in areas containing weights or exercise machines” to 50 persons.
For indoor fitness, exercise or dance classes, the total number of members of the public at the facility cannot exceed 10 persons. The classes must take placed in separate rooms.
Please contact your regular Hicks Morley lawyer should you have any questions about these additional requirements.
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