Last week, Ontario announced how it plans to safely reopen the province over the next few months.
Many readers have since asked us whether this new plan impacted condos. The short answer is that last week’s announcement has very little immediate impact on condos. However, if the plan is followed, condos may have to review some of their protocol in the longer run. But for now, for the most part, not much has changed for condos.
So, by popular request, here is a quick recap of what’s the lay of the land for condos in Ontario at the present time. You can always check the current COVID restrictions affecting condos by clicking on our COVID link (at the top of our blog).
What has changed with last Friday’s announcement
Not much of Friday’s announcement will have an immediate impact on condos – with the one notable exception that if condos opt-into checking proof of vaccination for those using their gyms / recreational amenities, they may be able to increase capacity.
At the present time, condo gyms and other interior recreational amenities must operate at 50% of their capacity or less to ensure the required 2 metre distance between users. Condos opting to verify vaccination status may increase this capacity limit.
The option to opt-into checking vaccination status is a decision that can be taken on a daily basis (a condo could decide to check vaccination status on certain days and not on others). On the days where vaccination status is being checked, a visible sign indicating so must be posted in a conspicuous place. Those who opt to check vaccination status may have to abide by all of the other provincial regulations applicable to vaccination verification. You may want to check our vaccination page for more details on this.
Vaccination verification is complicated and can be contentious. Do consult with your favourite condo lawyer before rolling out a vaccination policy.
Those already familiar with the balance of the COVID regulations presently in place can stop reading this post here. Those wanting a refresher can read on.
Summary of COVID restrictions/regulation still in place
Here is a very brief summary of the more important COVID restrictions which continue to apply to condos despite last week’s announcement. Our COVID tool provides more details.
Masks are still required while on indoor common elements – unless the corporation can ensure that all occupants maintain a 2-m distance:
- Usual exemptions apply (based on age, medical condition, disabilities….);
- Those seeking an exemptions do not have to provide any evidence supporting their claim, but those no wearing a mask may be limited to transiting through common elements for the purpose of direct access to their unit by the most direct route;
- Best to adopt a mask policy to clarify what is expected from your owners/occupants. You can read more on the mask policy we recommend be adopted;
- Posters/notices are required by your entrances. Here is a sample.
Public gathering and organized events are limited to:
- Indoor 25 people
- Outdoor 100 people
All other restrictions/public health directives apply.
COVID screening at entrance doors:
- Required for anyone working at the condo;
- All others (not working at the condo) should be invited to self-screen, but such screening is not mandated by the province. As usual, a condo can adopt a policy requiring such screening regardless of the fact that it is not mandated by the province.
- You can read more on COVID Screening in condos.
Gyms / fitness and recreational amenities
- Indoor and outdoors fitness or recreational and multi-purpose amenities can open:
- Indoors must operate at 50% capacity or less to maintain 2-m distance;
- Outdoors must operate at 75% capacity or less to maintain 2-m distance;
- Maximum capacity must be conspicuously posted;
- Participants must COVID screen themselves;
- Tracing info must be recorded and kept for at least 1 month;
- A safety plan is required setting out the COVID-related requirements/precautions in place at the corporation;
- Additional protocols and precautions may be adopted to ensure health and safety of occupants;
- Corporations can impose stricter measures and, in fact, many condo corporations have chosen not to reopen their amenities at all. Some have chosen to reopen them only to those who show proof of vaccination.
Vaccination status check
Vaccination is a more complex issue. We have a blog page on this to help but here is a summary:
- The requirement to check vaccination status likely does not apply to condo dwellers. So the corporation is not mandated to check vaccination status before entering the gym, for instance;
- Having said that, condos can adopt vaccination policies requiring proof of vaccination to access amenities;
- A vaccination policy could be a good idea if you want to increase the capacity of your gym. Right now, condos are limited at 50% capacity and 2m distancing. The corporation can opt-into checking vaccination status, allowing it to increase capacity;
- The corporation must have a vaccination policy for its employees/contractors. We can help you develop this;
- In all cases, any vaccination policy must provide for medical accommodation. The Ministry of health had made it clear that these medical exemptions will be rare and must be properly documented;
- Your vaccination policy must consider privacy issues amongst other considerations.
What should condos expect in the future?
Yea. Funny. Time will tell. But we’ll keep an eye out on regulations as they get published and will keep updating you.