ontario grey zone rules

Here are the newest rules for grey zone lockdown regions in Ontario

Another week, another newly-modified set of rules for people living in the grey-lockdown zone regions of Ontario amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of this coming Monday, March 29, at 12:01 a.m., Hamilton will join Toronto, Peel, Lambton, Sudbury and Thunder Bay at the most-restrictive level of the provincial government's colour-coded response framework.

The former region is expected to remain in lockdown for two weeks (unless a newly-strengthened emergency brake is pulled) while the others all have one week left before the government considers allowing them to graduate from grey-lockdown to red-restrict.

Toronto and Peel have been in the grey zone now since stay-at-home orders were lifted in the hot spot regions on March 8. On Monday, March 22, the rules were changed to allow for patio dining in grey zone regions. Prior to that, the restrictions under Ontario's grey zone had changed no less than three times in as many months.

Below, per the provincial government and as of Friday, March 26, are the rules set to come into effect for grey-lockdown zones in Ontario this Monday, March 29. 

Key changes to note: Outdoor fitness classes may resume, marinas and boating clubs can reopen their clubhouses for outdoor dining (thank goodness! we were all worried) and capacity limits have been raised for weddings, funerals and religious services.

Oh — and two weeks after all of the rules below come into effect, on April 12, Ontario will allow the reopening of "personal care services" such as barbershops, hair and nail salons and body art establishments at 25 per cent capacity. Now that's something to celebrate.

Organized public events, social gatherings and wedding, funeral and religious services, rites and ceremonies
  • No indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household
  • Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation
  • Limit for outdoor organized public events and social gatherings, where physical distancing can be maintained: 10 people outdoors
  • Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services (but not receptions), in all venues, where physical distancing can be maintained: 15 per cent capacity of the room indoors, 50 people outdoors
  • Virtual and drive-in events and religious services, rites or ceremonies permitted
Restaurants, bars and food or drink establishments
  • Indoor dining prohibited
  • Outdoor dining, take out, drive through, and delivery permitted, including alcohol
  • Capacity limited to allow physical distancing of two metres to be maintained
  • No buffet style service
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; two metres distance and face covering required
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Require patrons to be seated; two metres minimum or impermeable barrier required between tables
  • Patrons may only be seated with members of their same households, with limited exceptions for caregivers and people who live alone
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only
  • Personal protective equipment, including eye protection required when is a worker must come within two metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering
  • Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Dancing, singing and the live performance of music is prohibited
  • Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible
  • Night clubs and strip clubs only permitted to operate as restaurant or bar
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request
Sports and recreational fitness facilities
  • Facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities are closed except for the sole use of high performance athletes including parasport athletes, and specified professional leagues (for example, NHL, CFL, MLS, NBA) or specified purposes (for example, day camps, child care)
  • Outdoor recreational amenities (for example, ice rinks, ski hills, snow trails) open with restrictions (for example, no team sports)
  • Community centres and multi-purpose facilities (for example, YMCA) allowed to be open for permitted activities (for example, child care services, day camps, social services)
Outdoor Fitness Classes, Outdoor Team Training, and Outdoor Personal Training
  • No patrons are permitted to be in the indoor areas of the facility;
  • Requiring patrons to make a reservation (no walk-ins)
  • Limiting the number of patrons to 10 people maximum
  • Every person must maintain a physical distance of at least three metres from another person and activities that are likely to result in individuals coming within three metres of each other are not permitted
  • Requiring that the contact information of all patrons be collected and maintained for a period of a month, and be made available for disclosure if required
  • All patrons must be actively screened in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Limiting the volume of music and requiring the implementation of measures to reduce/not encourage loud talking, singing or shouting
  • Prohibiting the playing or practising of team sports except for training sessions for members of a sports team that do not include games or scrimmage games
  • Ensuring that any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of patrons must be cleaned and disinfected between each use and avoiding the use of any equipment or fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use
  • No spectators are permitted, except for any person under the age of 18 who is engaged in activities in the facility may be accompanied by one parent or guardian
  • Requiring every person to wear a face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin
Meeting and event spaces

All closed with limited exceptions for child care and day camps for children, court services, government services, provision of social services, mental health and addiction support services (for example, Alcoholics Anonymous) permitted to a maximum of 10 people.

Retail

In person shopping permitted for all retail, subject to capacity limits of:

  • 50 per cent for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores and pharmacies
  • 25 per centfor all other retail, including discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, cannabis stores, hardware stores and garden centres
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted, including for cannabis stores
  • Stores must post capacity limit publicly
  • Stores must have passive screening for patrons (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if you have COVID-19 symptoms)
  • This does not apply to indoor malls, which are required to actively screen their customers before they enter the mall. Malls can use the patron screening tool to help meet this requirement.
  • Individuals must physically distance and wear a face covering, with some exceptions
  • No loitering in shopping malls, and stores within the malls subject to appropriate retail measures
Personal care services
Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
  • Closed
Cinemas
  • Closed, except for drive-in cinemas, rehearsal, or performing a recorded or broadcasted event.
  • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
  • Performers and employees must maintain two metres physical distance except for purposes of the performance
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request
Performing arts facilities
  • Closed to spectators
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted, with restrictions
  • Performers and employees must maintain two metres physical distance except for purposes of the performance
  • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
  • Drive-in performances permitted
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request
Amusement parks, water parks
  • Closed
Animal services

Services that are permitted include:

  • Veterinary services and other businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters and research facilities
  • Businesses that provide services for the training and provision of service animals
  • Businesses that provide pet services, including pet grooming services, pet sitting services, pet walking services and pet training services
Bathhouses and sex clubs
  • Closed
Boarding kennels and stables
  • Permitted to open for animal's owner, or their representative, to visit the animal, assist in the care or feeding of the animal or, as applicable, ride the animal
Campgrounds
  • Available for trailers and recreational vehicles that are used by individuals who are in need of housing, or are permitted to be there by the terms of a full season contract
  • Only campsites with electricity, water service and facilities for sewage disposal may be provided for use
  • All recreational facilities in the campground and all other shared facilities in the campground, other than washrooms and showers, must be closed
  • Short-term campground rentals that were reserved on or before Nov. 22, 2020 are permitted; no new reservations after Nov. 22, 2020 permitted, except for individuals who are in need of housing
Driving instruction
  • In-person driving instruction not permitted
  • Virtual permitted
Household services

Domestic and cleaning and maintenance services permitted, including:

  • housekeepers, cooks, maids and butlers
  • personal affairs management
  • nanny services and babysitters
  • other domestic personnel
  • house cleaning
  • Outdoor cleaning and maintenance services permitted, including indoor or outdoor painting, pool cleaning and general repairs
Horse racing
  • Training only, no races
  • No spectators
Hotels, motels
  • Permitted to operate except for any pools, fitness centres, meeting rooms and other recreational facilities that may be part of the operations of these businesses
Libraries
  • Open for curbside, delivery and pick-up
  • Patrons permitted to enter libraries for contactless drop-off and pick-up, and to access computers, photocopiers, or similar services
  • May open for permitted services (for example, day camp, child care services, mental health and addiction support services to a limit of 10 persons [AA meetings], provision of social services)
  • No classes
Marinas, boating clubs, golf courses and driving ranges
  • Marinas and boating clubs permitted to operate clubhouses or any restaurant, bar and other food or drink establishment for outdoor dining, subject to public health and workplace safety measures.
  • Pools, meeting rooms, fitness centres or other recreational facilities on the premises closed to the public, with limited exceptions
  • Golf courses and driving ranges permitted outdoors, indoors closed
  • Indoor shooting ranges closed
Media industries
  • Sound recording, production, publishing and distribution businesses
  • Film and television production, including all supporting activities such as hair, makeup and wardrobe, are permitted to open if they meet conditions
  • No studio audiences may be permitted to be on the film or television set
  • The set must be configured and operated in such a way as to enable persons on the set to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons, except where necessary for the filming of the film or television production
  • Persons who provide hair or makeup services must wear appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • Film and television post-production, visual effects and animation studios are permitted
  • Book and periodical production, publishing and distribution businesses are permitted
  • Interactive digital media businesses, including computer system software or application developers and publishers, and video game developers and publishers are permitted
Motorsports
  • Closed
Museums and other cultural amenities (for example, art galleries, science centres)
  • Closed (indoors) to members of the public
  • Drive-in or drive through only
Nightclubs
  • Only permitted to open if they operate as a restaurant, bar, or other food and drink establishment (take-out, drive-through and delivery service only)
Personal services

In-person personal services not permitted, including:

  • personal shoppers
  • party and wedding planners
  • personal organizer services
  • personal physical fitness or sports trainers
  • house sitters
Photography studios and services
  • Commercial and industrial photography permitted
  • Retail photo studios closed
Real estate agencies (including pre-sale construction)
  • Permitted to operate; property showings by appointment only
Short-term rentals
  • Existing reservations as of Nov. 22, 2020 honoured regardless of when the rental occurs
  • No new reservations after Nov. 22, 2020 permitted, except for individuals who are in need of housing
  • This does not apply to hotels, motels, lodges, resorts and other shared rental accommodation, including student residences
Strip clubs
  • Only permitted to open if they operate as a restaurant, bar, or other food and drink establishment (take-out and delivery service only)
Tour and guide services
  • Closed
Zoos and aquariums
  • Closed (indoors) to members of the public except for drive-in or drive through events
  • Permitted to operate for the care of animals
Wedding, Funeral and Religious Services, Rites and Ceremonies
  • Capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies, will be adjusted to allow for the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance. This change does not apply to social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions.
Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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