Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region Now Subject to Modified Stage 2 Rules
Date: October 14, 2020
Effective October 10, 2020, Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region are subject to the Rules for Areas in Stage 2 as modified by O. Reg. 572/20 (Modified Rules) as a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases in these areas. The Office of the Premier has advised that the Modified Rules will be in place for a minimum of 28 days and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region had each most recently been designated an “enhanced measures zone” subject to the revised Rules for Areas in Stage 3. The enhanced measures zone requirements have been deleted from the Rules for Areas in Stage 3 and are now largely incorporated in the Modified Rules.
In this FTR Now, we discuss some key elements of the Modified Rules.
Rules Relating to Business or Places
All businesses and organizations continue to have an obligation to comply with all applicable restrictions, including health and safety obligations and public health advice.
General compliance rules continue to require that persons responsible for a business or organization shall:
- operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding screening individuals, and
- ensure that anyone in the indoor areas of their operation is wearing a mask or face covering, subject to certain exceptions which include medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear a mask or face covering or reasonable accommodation under the Human Rights Code, among others. It is not necessary for a person to present evidence of entitlement to any of the exceptions.
These rules are the same as the Rules for Areas in Stage 3.
Capacity Limits for Rented Meeting and Event Space
Meeting and event space may only be rented out where persons in attendance can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from each other and, in any event, cannot exceed 10 persons for indoor events, or 25 persons for outdoor events. No more than 6 people can be seated together at one table. The physical distancing requirement does not apply where persons are members of the same household or social bubble. These reduced capacity limits represent a significant change from those in place under the Rules for Areas in Stage 3, which permitted gatherings of up to 50 persons for indoor events or 100 persons for outdoor events.
Note that the capacity limits set out in the Modified Rules do not apply to the rental of meeting or event space for a wedding, funeral, religious service, rite or ceremony that is authorized under Schedule 3 of the Modified Rules and is subject to the capacity limits established in those provisions.
Sale and Service of Liquor
The Modified Rules maintain the same restrictions on the sale or service of liquor, which can only be sold or served between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., while the consumption of liquor in the business or place is prohibited between 12:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. These prohibitions do not apply to airports.
In-Person Teaching and Instruction
For post-secondary institutions, the rules on physical distancing (2 metres) and maximum capacity limits (50 for indoor instructional spaces and 100 for outdoor instructional spaces) remain the same as in Stage 3. The Modified Rules now provide a definition of “post-secondary institution” which includes universities, colleges of applied arts and technology and private career colleges, amongst others.
For instructional places that are not post-secondary institutions, the number of persons permitted in the instructional space is also limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of 2 metres in that space, but cannot exceed 10 persons (indoor instructional spaces) or 25 persons (outdoor instructional spaces).
There continue to be a range of exceptions to the rules set out above, notably including a school or private school under the Education Act that is operating in accordance with a return to school directive issued by the Ministry of Education or approved by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Food and Drink
The Modified Rules make significant changes to the requirements relating to restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands and other food or drink establishments (Establishments), including that indoor dining is now prohibited and patrons may only be served by means of takeout, drive-through or delivery, or at an outdoor dining area (e.g. a patio).
The Modified Rules also now include the following restrictions, which previously applied only to the enhanced measures zone:
- contact information of every patron (rather than from one member of each party) must now be recorded, unless the patron is entering the premises to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order
- no more than 6 people may be seated together at one table
- if persons are lining up or congregating outside the Establishment, they must maintain a distance of 2 metres from each other and wear a mask or face covering, unless they are entitled to an exception for not wearing one
As was the case under the Rules for Areas in Stage 3, Establishments must be closed to the public between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. except to allow patrons to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order, provide drive-through or delivery service, provide dine-in service for persons working at the Establishments or to provide access to washrooms
The restrictions relating to dine-in service do not apply to airports and hospitals (which, however, remain subject to physical distancing and other health and safety measures). There are a range of other restrictions that apply to Establishments and the text of the Modified Rules should be consulted for details.
With respect to services, the following restrictions are now in place under the Modified Rules:
- real estate open houses may be held where the number of persons present can maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres, and in any event the number must not exceed 10 persons
- conference and convention centres are closed, except for providing meeting or event space for the purpose of delivering or supporting the delivery of court services
- no personal care services that require the removal of a mask or face covering may be provided (subject to exceptions in film/television or photography industries), and
- public libraries may open as long as circulated materials that are returned or accessed are disinfected or quarantined for an appropriate period (this rule is also in the Rules for Areas in Stage 3)
The rules relating to community centres and hotels/motels and short-rentals remain in place.
Sports and Fitness
The Modified Rules are significantly changed from the Rules for Areas in Stage 3, now providing that indoor sports and recreational facilities may open only if they comply with certain conditions, such as prohibiting indoor fitness, exercise or dance classes, closing areas that contain weights or other exercise machines, and limiting the number of persons permitted in a class, organized program or organized activity to 10, among other restrictions.
Outdoor sports and recreational facilities are permitted to open upon meeting certain conditions, and outdoor playgrounds, play structures and facilities containing outdoor fitness equipment may open.
A range of entertainment venues, including nightclubs, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments must close. Racing venues are closed to spectators. Museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc. can remain open, but with heightened restrictions than applied in Stage 3. Concert venues, theatres and cinemas must close, subject to exceptions which allow for drive-in or drive-through formats.
Organized Public Events, Certain Gatherings
Subject to complying with public health guidance on physical distancing, the following capacity limits apply to organized public events and social gatherings:
- an organized public event is limited to 10 persons where the event is held indoors and 25 persons where it is held outdoors
- a social gathering is limited to 10 persons where the event is held indoors and 25 persons where it is held outdoors
- effective October 13, 2020, a social gathering associated with a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite or ceremony is limited to 10 persons where the event is held indoors and 25 persons where held outdoors (the Modified Rules had permitted a higher capacity for these social gatherings between October 10 to October 13, 2020 only)
- there are different capacity limits for the actual ceremony associated with a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite or ceremony (the number of persons present may not exceed 30% of the capacity of the building for indoor ceremonies or 100 persons for outdoor ceremonies).
An indoor event or gathering cannot be combined with an outdoor event or gathering so as to increase the limit on the number of persons permitted to be in attendance.
These rules apply even where events are held at a private dwelling, which includes houses, apartment buildings, condominium buildings and post-secondary student residences. The rules do not apply with respect to a gathering of member of a single household.
This summary is not intended as a comprehensive list of all operations affected under the Modified Rules, nor does it discuss each category of restriction in exhaustive detail. The text of the Modified Rules should be consulted for complete details. We remind readers that the Rules are constantly changing, and this review reflects their status as of October 13, 2020.
Please contact your Hicks Morley lawyer should you require further information about the Modified Rules and their impact on your organization.
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. ©