COVID-19 – Reopening Step 2

Last Reviewed/Updated: January 4, 2021

In response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators. Learn more about the provincial changes here.

Visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/proofofvaccine for updated guidance on the provincial proof of vaccination requirement for select high-risk indoor settings.


The Roadmap to Reopen was a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures in 2021. The reopening plan was recently updated to: A plan to safely reopen Ontario and manage COVID-19 for the long-term | COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Ontario  providing steps and a timeline into 2022. The plan is based on:

  • Provincewide vaccination rates
  • COVID-19 case rates
  • Hospitalization and ICU occupancy
  • Monitoring the risks of COVID-19 variants

Ontario is currently in Step 2 of Reopening. Effective January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario lifted capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required. The information on this page will be updated soon. To learn more about the rules and regulations in Step 2, check out O. Reg. 263/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STEP 2 (ontario.ca)


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About Step 2

Ontario returned to Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen on January 5, 2022, at 12:01 a.m. based on the provincewide increase in cases. This reintroduces strict capacity limits, and closures of high risk settings.

Public health and workplace safety measures in Step Two are set out in O. Reg. 263/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STEP 2 (ontario.ca) under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to ) Act, 2020 (ROA).

Below is a summary of the public health and workplace safety guidance and measures that must be in place for specific sectors and settings in Step 2.

It is not intended to be legal advice or an interpretation of the law. For the full set of provincial restrictions, see the regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to  Act), 2020. If there is any conflict with this summary and the regulations, the regulations prevail.

Businesses and organizations that are not listed in O. Reg. 263/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STEP 2 (ontario.ca) are permitted to open as long as they follow they general rules that apply to all businesses, such as physical distancing and active screening, which are set out in the regulations.

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General public health and workplace safety measures in Step 2

Approach in schools and child care

Please refer to: https://www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-and-school-reopening-public-health-information-for-families/ (Peterborough Public Health)

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For businesses, organizations and facilities

Refer to O. Reg. 263/20 for details.

Public health advice, recommendations and instructions

Businesses or organizations must comply with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials. This includes advice, recommendations or instructions on:

  • face coverings
  • physical distancing
  • cleaning or disinfecting
  • screening
  • proof of vaccination

Check with your local public health unit for any additional advice, recommendations or instructions.

Corporations that are not following the orders can be fined up to:

  • $500,000 for a director or officer of a corporation
  • $10 million for a corporation

Physical distancing and line management 

Businesses and places that are open must not permit patrons to line up inside unless they:

  • maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from others
  • wear a mask or face covering (with some exceptions)

Businesses and places that are open must not permit patrons to line up or congregate outside of the business, or at an attraction or feature within the business or place, unless they maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from others.

Screening

Businesses or organizations must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals.

For patrons

Businesses and organizations must implement passive screening for patrons by posting signs at all entrances informing people to screen themselves for  before entry.

Active screening is required in accordance with instructions by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Where this is required, it is noted in the sections below.

Businesses, organizations and customers may use the  customer screening tool to meet this requirement.

For workers

Workplaces must actively screen all workers before entering the work environment. See the  Screening Tool for Workplaces for more information.

Personal protective equipment including eye protection

Everyone must wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin inside any business or place that is open (with some exceptions).

Workers must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects their eyes, nose and mouth, if in the course of providing services they are:

  • required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering when in an indoor area
  • not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier

Capacity limits

Generally, all businesses or facilities open to the public must limit capacity to the number of people that can maintain physical distancing of 2 metres.

Other capacity limits apply to certain businesses. Where this is required, it is noted in the sections below.

Unless otherwise specified, to calculate:

  • 75% maximum capacity at an outdoor setting: take the total square metres of area accessible to the public, divide that number by 1.33, and round the result down to the nearest whole number
  • 50% maximum capacity at an indoor setting: take 50% of the maximum occupant load of the business of facility, or part of a business or facility, as applicable, as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997
  • 25% maximum capacity at an indoor setting: take 25% of the maximum occupant load of the business of facility, or part of a business or facility, as applicable, as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997

Some businesses, including those that are open for retail sales to the public, must post a sign in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted to operate under. Where this is required, it is noted in the sections below.

Cleaning and disinfection

Open businesses must ensure that equipment, washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers and similar amenities that are accessible to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.

Face coverings

Businesses or organizations must ensure that patrons and workers wear masks or face coverings indoors, with limited exceptions.

Face coverings are also required in some outdoor public settings as well. Where this is required, it is noted in the sections below.

Safety plans

Open businesses must prepare and make available a safety plan. A copy of the plan must be made available to any person for review upon request, and be posted where it would come to the attention of individuals working in or attending the business.

The safety plan must describe the measures and procedures businesses have implemented or will implement to reduce the transmission risk of . This includes, but is not limited to:

  • screening
  • physical distancing
  • masks or face coverings
  • cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects
  • wearing of personal protective equipment
  • preventing and controlling crowding

Some businesses, places and events have additional requirements that need to be included in their safety plan, including:

  • preventing gatherings and crowds
  • ensuring that requirements for line management are complied with
  • mitigating the risk of interactive activities, exhibits or games

Where this is required, it is noted in the sections below.

Live entertainment

Performers must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres or be separated from any audience or spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Roofs, canopies, tents or awnings

If covered (by a roof, tent, awning, canopy, etc.), an outdoor area must have at least two full sides, or one full side and the roof, open and unobstructed.

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For individuals

Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step 2.

This is in alignment with the advice on personal public health measures issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, while also accounting for Ontario specific information and requirements.

Face coverings will also be required in some outdoor public settings.

Read Canada’s public health guidance for vaccinated individuals.

Physical distancing 

Everyone must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from others (except for other members of their household or their caregivers):

  • in indoor area of business or facility that is open to the public
  • at an indoor organized public event

Face coverings

Everyone must wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin (with limited exceptions):

  • in an indoor area of a business or organization that is open
  • at an indoor organized public event and within two metres of another individual
  • at some outdoor public events or settings. Where this is required, it is noted in the sections below

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Organized public events and social gatherings in Step 2

Events and gatherings

Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are permitted for 5 or fewer people with limited exceptions.

Outdoor events have no limits on number of attendees, but face coverings and/or masks must be worn when distancing (two metres or more) cannot be maintained. This is distinct from outdoor social gatherings, where capacity is limited to 10 or fewer individuals.

Retirement homes

Retirement homes are exempt from organized public event and social gathering restrictions if the home is in compliance with the policies or guidance, if any, issued by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.

Weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies

For weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies:

  • all people attending the gathering must comply with public health guidance on physical distancing
  • people must wear masks or face coverings when
    • they are in an indoor area at a business or facility that is open to the public, with limited exceptions
    • they are within 2 metres of another person who is not part of their household, with limited exceptions
  • Indoor services are further limited to 50 per cent the capacity of the room.
  • Outdoor services are limited to the number of people who can maintain two metres distance.
  • Drive-in (motor vehicle) services permitted.
  • Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits

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Restrictions for businesses in Step 2

Refer to O. Reg. 263/20 for details.

Work from home

Businesses and organizations must make sure that all work is conducted remotely, unless the nature of the work requires workers to be on-site at the workplace.

Restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments (including those with dance floors)

Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments, including those with dance floors (such as nightclubs) and strip clubs must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor service closed
  • take out, drive through and delivery allowed
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions including, but not limited to:
    • no more than 10 people per table
    • patrons must remain seated
    • no dancing or singing
    • active screening
    • limited hours for the sale, service and consumption of liquor

Conditions:

  • capacity must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distancing of at least 2 metres from every other person at the establishment, except for patrons sitting at the same table
  • maximum capacity must be posted
  • dining area must be configured so patrons at different tables are 2 metres apart or separated by a barrier
  • for  outdoor dine-in service, the person responsible for the establishment must record the name and contact information of every patron and actively screen individuals.
    • The  customer screening tool can be used to meet this requirement.
    • These requirements do not apply to quick service restaurants where the patron temporarily enters the area to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order.
  • if covered (i.e., roof, tent, awning, canopy, etc.), the outdoor dining area must have at least two full sides of the dining area or one full side and the roof (if retractable) open and is not substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.
  • no dancing (see Nightclubs, restoclubs and other food or drink establishments with dance facilities below)
  • must have a safety plan with additional requirements

For more information, review Peterborough Public Health’s Guidance for Food Establishments webpage.

Personal care services

Saunas, steam rooms and oxygen bars will be closed.

Other services can remain open, including:

  • hair salons and barbershops
  • manicure and pedicure salons
  • aesthetician services
  • piercing services
  • tanning salons
  • spas
  • tattoo studios
  • sensory deprivation pods
  • other personal care services relating to the hair or body

Personal care services..

Such as barbers, hair salons, tattoo parlours must operate under the following conditions:

  • 50 per cent capacity
  • no services where face coverings need to be removed
  • by appointment only
  • active screening
  • music played is not above a decibel level where normal conversation is possible

Retailers

Retail

All retail must operate under the following conditions:

  • 50 per cent capacity
  • music played is not above a decibel level where normal conversation is possible
  • active screening at photography studios and services
  • safety measures for vehicle test drives sales, such as a maximum of 10 minutes for a test drive, a maximum of two people in a vehicle, including one sales representative, windows must be rolled down, active screening, masking, etc.
  • safety measures for shopping malls, including capacity limits, no loitering, distancing in line ups, food courts closed and active screening.

Shopping malls

Open

All retail stores can open in malls if they follow the other retail requirements listed above.

Restrictions:

  • the number of members of the public in the shopping mall at any one time must not exceed the total capacity of the sum of the capacities of every business in the mall.
  • loitering is not permitted
  • the public can only line up inside the mall if they:
    • maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres
    • wear a face covering (with some exceptions)

Indoor and outdoor recreational amenities

Recreational amenities must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor recreational amenities closed
  • outdoor recreational amenities open

Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities

Indoor areas of facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gyms, sporting events and personal training must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor closed with limited exceptions and conditions (such as athletes training for Olympics and Paralympics, select professional and elite amateur sport leagues who will operate via an approved framework from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and persons with disabilities for physical therapy)
  • outdoor open with spectators limited to 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions
  • proof of vaccination required for facilities with a usual capacity of 20,000 or more people
  • every person must maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from every other person.
  • maximum capacity must be posted
  • the person responsible for the facility must record the name and contact information of every person who enters the facility and actively screen individuals who enter the facility. The  customer screening tool may be used to meet this requirement
  • face coverings are required indoors except when engaged in an athletic or fitness activity (with some other exceptions)
  • facilities and leagues must have a safety plan with additional requirements

Libraries and community centres must operate under the following conditions:

  • open with 50 per cent capacity, with limited exceptions, such as child care, social services
  • capacity must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distancing of 2 metres from every other person with limited exemptions (such as for day and overnight camps, child care)
  • indoor or outdoor sports or recreational fitness activities must comply with must comply with restrictions for Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities

Day camps and overnight camps

Closed

Short-term accommodation

Hotels, motels and similar establishments must operate under the following conditions:

  • open except for any area required to be closed, such as indoor gyms, pools, steam rooms/saunas
  • restaurants within the hotel or motel may offer takeout or delivery only

Short-term rentals must operate under the following conditions:

  • only open to those in need of housing (does not apply to hotels, motels, lodges, resorts and other shared rental accommodation, including student residences.)
  • ice fishing huts permitted with restrictions

Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres and convention centres must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed with exceptions, such as child care, court and government services, social services, health services, collective bargaining and mental health/addiction services up to 10 people, in-person exams for limited fields/occupations up to 50 people
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions including, but not limited to:
    • no more than 10 people per table
    • patrons must remain seated
    • no dancing or singing
    • active screening
    • limited hours for the sale, service and consumption of liquor

For more localized information, review Peterborough Public Health’s Meetings, Events, and Weddings webpage.

Post-secondary institutions

Open – please refer to the specific institute for information of the COVID measures in place.

Conditions:

  • a physical distance of at least 2 metres between every other person must be maintained, except when necessary for teaching or instruction

Businesses that provide in-person teaching or instruction (such as cooking classes, music classes) must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed, except for organizations that provide health and safety training (with conditions)
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions in place, such as physical distancing

Restrictions:

  • indoor capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres up to 50%
  • outdoor capacity in each instructional space limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres up to 75%
  • 2 metres physical distancing must be maintained, except in situations where teaching cannot be effectively provided if physical distancing is maintained
  • the person responsible for the business must record the name and contact information of every student and  actively screen students. The  customer screening tool may be used to meet this requirement

Real estate (including pre-sale construction)

Open houses not permitted

In-person driving instruction

Driving instruction must be conducted under the following conditions:

  • limited to in-person instruction for drivers of commercial motor vehicles only.
  • every person in the vehicle must wear a mask or face covering at all times
  • every student must be actively screened before entering the vehicle. The  customer screening tool may be used to meet this requirement

In-person driving instruction provided in an instructional space must follow the teaching and instruction requirements above.

Marinas and boating clubs

To be updated soon.

Entertainment

Concert venues, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, zoos, science centres , landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks, waterparks, tour and guide services including boat tours, fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals must operate under the following conditions:

  • outdoor open with restrictions (such as masking on rides)
  • spectators at seated events at 50 per cent capacity
  • outdoor tours and boat tours at 50 per cent capacity
  • drive-in and drive through events permitted with restrictions, such as distancing between cars, only permitted to leave a vehicle in limited circumstances, etc.
  • indoor areas of concert venues, theatres and cinemas closed except for rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted performance, artistic event or performance, with restrictions

Commercial film and television production

  • studio audiences not permitted
    • Restrictions, including performers must be distanced unless necessary

Casinos and racing venues

Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will be closed.

Horse and car racing tracks and similar venues must operate under the following conditions:

  • indoor areas closed
  • outdoor areas open with restrictions, including mandatory reservations, spectators limited to 50 per cent of usual seating capacity and others
  • proof of vaccination required for facilities with a usual capacity of 20,000 or more people.

Photography studios and services

  • Open Conditions:
    • indoor capacity limited to the number that can maintain a physical distancing of 2 metres from every other person at the establishment
    • maximum capacity must be posted
    • patrons must be actively screened where services are provided indoors. The  customer screening tool may be used to meet this requirement

Bathhouses and sex clubs

Closed

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