PROVINCIAL UPDATE: Ontario Extending Stay-at-Home Order across most of the Province

TORONTO — In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”). 

To support the province’s economic recovery, the government has updated the Framework to allow for a safer approach to retail. Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 percent in most retail settings. 

The following three regions will be moving back to the Framework at the Green-Prevent level on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order:

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health;
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; and
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit. 

The current Stay-at-Home order will be amended and individual orders making it applicable to each public health region will be made except for the three above. It is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22, 2021. Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at that time

In addition, the provincial emergency declared under s 7.0.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) will be allowed to terminate at the end of February 9, 2021. While the provincewide Stay-at-Home order will cease to apply in some regions as of February 10, 2021, everyone is strongly advised to continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, minimize travel between areas with different rules, and limit close contacts to their household. Employers in all industries should continue to make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

Enforcement of residential evictions will remain paused in the public health unit regions where the provincial Stay-at-Home order remains in effect. This will ensure people are not forced to leave their homes. In regions where the Stay-at-Home order is lifted, the regular process for residential eviction enforcement will resume.

Orders currently in force under the EMCPA have been extended to February 23, 2021, and will be extended further if necessary. O.Reg.55/21 (Compliance Orders for Retirement Homes) is currently in effect until February 19, 2021.

COLOUR CODES for the regions will be released over the coming weeks depending on your reopening date.  Please refer to the revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”) for your reopening framework restrictions.

Museums, galleries and Heritage Institutions

  • Museums, galleries, science centers, landmarks, historic sites and other similar attractions are permitted to open in the Green (prevent), Yellow (protect) Orange (restrict) and Red (control) zones with conditions
  • Whether the attraction is in the green, Yellow, or Orange Zone, the person responsible for the business must ensure that the attraction enables members of the public to maintain a physical distance of at least two meters
  • If washrooms are made available to the public they must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as it is necessary
  • Interactive and high-contact exhibitions can only remain open if located in the Green, Yellow or Orange zone with frequent cleaning and disinfection as necessary.
  • Some parts of museums, galleries, science centers, landmarks, historic sites and other similar attractions may be impacted by the changes to other sections of the regulation (such as restaurant and cafes).

In Grey (lockdown) Zone

  • Museums, galleries, science centers, landmarks, historic sites and other similar attractions must be closed to the public with the exception if these institutions provide drive-in or drive through access to the public and drive-in/drive-through regulations are followed.

Performing Art Facilities

  • Concerts venues and theatres must remain closed in regions that are in the RED (Control) and Grey (lockdown) Zones with certain exemptions
  • Concert venues and theatres may open if the facility is used for the purposed of rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance subject to certain conditions including the follow:
    • No Spectators are permitted
    • Every performer or person who provided work for the facility must maintain a physical distance of at least two meters from every other person except:
      • If it is necessary for the performers or other persons to be closer to each other for the purposed of the performance or rehearsal
      • Where necessary for the purpose of heath and safety
    • Singers and players of bass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by Plexiglas or some other impermeable barrier.   
  • Concert venues in Green, Yellow and Orange are limited to a 50 person capacity for the venue.


More of Ontario’s schools are reopening to in-person learning today.

  • Students in 13 public health units, including Hamilton and Windsor, will return to physical classrooms.
  • But in three COVID-19 hot spots — Toronto, Peel and York Region — schools will remain closed until Feb. 16.
  • Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government is taking a number of steps to enhance safety in schools, such as more stringent screening for high schoolers and asymptomatic testing across the province.

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