PROVINCIAL UPDATE: Ontario Taking Further Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Effective Monday, November 23 at 12:01am. The Ontario government is moving COVID-19 hotspots Toronto and Peel Region into lockdown.

Art and Culture Sector such as museums and other cultural amenities (e.g., art galleries, science centres) are CLOSED in lockdown.

Measures under Lockdown include, but are not limited to:

  • Schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open;
  • Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade;
  • No indoor organized public events or social gatherings except with members of the same household. Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person;
  • Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people;
  • Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors;
  • Retail permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity;
  • Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments will only be able to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery. Indoor and outdoor dining services are prohibited;
  • Personal care services closed;
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed; and
  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with limited exceptions.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will continue to provide advice to the government using criteria, including:

  • Epidemiological indicators such as the number and rate of COVID-19 cases and test positivity;
  • Health system capacity indicators including hospital and Intensive Care Unit capacity, access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
  • Public health sector capacity, including the number of COVID-19 cases and contacts being reached by local public health officials within one day; and
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

Schools and child-care centres will remain open.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s and dentists’ offices and other essential services will remain open with capacity limits.

Full list COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open — Lockdown Measures Restrictions HERE

Quote from Premier

“COVID fatigue is setting in on all of us. But I’ve seen the strength of our people. And it’s up to each and every one of us to determine our future to write the next chapter of our history. We all have a part to play. We must all rally around our businesses and our neighbours right now. We must support them. We were doubling our support for businesses impacted by these measures. I’ve directed that up to $600 million in relief be made available immediately to help these businesses with fixed costs, including help with their hydro bills and property taxes. We will be there for these folks. Businesses can apply today for this relief and for PPE grants at ontario.ca/covidsupport and together as a province. We can all make a difference. Please, shop local it if you’re shopping online.”

Based on the latest data, the following public health unit regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Red-Control
    • Durham Region Health Department; and
    • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services.
  • Orange-Restrict
    • Huron Perth Public Health;
    • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit;
    • Southwestern Public Health; and
    • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
  • Yellow-Protect
    • Chatham-Kent Public Health;
    • Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
    • Grey Bruce Health Unit;
    • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health;
    • Peterborough Public Health; and
    • Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Please visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse for the full list of public health region classifications

In addition, for regions in the red control level, the limit for all organized public events and social gatherings has been reduced to five people indoors and 25 people outdoors. To further protect the health and safety of elders in long term care homes staff essential caregivers and support workers who provide direct care to residents and regions that are in the orange restrict level or higher will be tested weekly for COVID-19 beginning Monday as well.

Additional Supports Available for Businesses Affected by COVID-19 Public Health Measures

The Ontario government is now providing $600 million in relief to support eligible businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to enhanced public health measures, doubling its initial commitment of $300 million made in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support Recover.

Businesses can apply online for temporary property tax and energy cost rebate grants from the province, via an easy-to-use one-window portal. The rebates will cover the length of time that a business is required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in an area categorized as Red-Control or Lockdown, or previously categorized as modified Stage 2 public health restrictions. Most businesses can expect to receive their rebate payments within a few weeks of submitting a complete application. A detailed list of eligible businesses, as well as instructions for applying, can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsupport.

Quick Facts

  • If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • Find out what level and which regional public measures are in place for your area.
  • Municipalities and local medical officers of health may have additional restrictions or targeted requirements in their region, on top of the public health measures required at their specific level.
  • The Ontario government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, to ensure the province’s health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the flu season.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert app. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find the nearest testing location.
  • To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People, which has information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.
  • To stay safe you can download the COVID Alert App free from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
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