COVID-19 – Guidance for Food Establishments

Last revised/reviewed:  9:33 a.m., October 13, 2021

Visit for updated guidance on the provincial proof of vaccination requirement for select high-risk indoor settings.

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Food Premises Sector

Food premises are establishments where food is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold or offered for sale. They include establishments such as grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, bars, etc.

Food premises have endured multiple levels of restriction during the COVID-19 pandemic and for much of the time, have been required to operate under strict capacity limits or by take-out, delivery and curbside pickup only. In Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen Ontario, food premises such as supermarkets will be permitted to have a higher capacity limit. Food and drink establishments will be permitted to resume indoor dining, in addition to the continuation of outdoor dining.

Step 3 Guidance for all Businesses, Organizations & Facilities

  • Actively screen workers every day before they enter the premise. This must be documented.
  • Comply with occupational health and safety legislation for the protection of workers, including taking every reasonable precaution to protect workers from hazards posed by infectious disease.
  • Post passive screening signage for customers and patrons. Note: where a business/organization requires active screening, such as for restaurants, bars and similar establishments, patrons must be actively screened.
  • Everyone indoors must wear a mask, with limited exemptions. Signs should be posted as a reminder.
  • Workers who consume food or drink must be separated from every other person by:
    • a distance of at least two metres; or
    • plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
    • Resources for meal and break periods at work during COVID-19 can be found here.
  • Workers who come within two metres of another person who is not wearing a mask must:
    • be separated from the unmasked person by a physical barrier; OR
    • wear personal protective equipment (medical/surgical mask and eye protection).
  • Capacity limits for a facility must be posted in a conspicuous location, based upon the specific capacity limit identified in the regulation. If the capacity limit is not specifically stated, then the business is required to limit the number of people in/at the establishment so that a physical distance of at least two metres between each person is maintained.
  • Lineups must be managed to ensure that physical distancing (two metres) is maintained between individuals in line and to ensure that anyone lining up indoors, wears a mask or face covering.
  • To be considered “outdoors”, an enclosure must have at least two full sides open to the outdoor environment and not substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable barriers.

Sector-Specific Requirements

For full details regarding the restrictions for this food premises, owners, operators and persons responsible for the business are required to review O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3. There are some additional resources below.

Contact Tracing by Food Premises

All food premises are required to collect information for every patron who enters the premises (indoor or outdoor areas) and remains at the premises to consume food and/or beverage, with the exception of establishments where the patron orders and pays for their meal at a counter, before sitting to eat. A template form is available for your use. Also refer to the Instructions issued by the Medical Officer of Health.