Ontario has announced that another 7 public health regions will be moving to Stage 3 of its Framework for Reopening ("Framework"). This change, scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 24, 2020, means that almost all businesses in the following public health unit regions will be permitted to re-open:

  • Durham Region Health Department;
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
  • Halton Region Health Department;
  • Hamilton Public Health Services;
  • Lambton Health Unit;
  • Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
  • York Region Public Health Services.

These regions will join 24 public health unit regions that entered Stage 3 on July 17, 2020.

Re-opening restrictions continue to apply across all Stage 3 regions. The following "high-risk places and activities" are not yet safe to re-open:

  • Amusement parks and water parks;
  • Buffet-style food services;
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
  • Overnight stays at camps for children;
  • Private karaoke rooms;
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

Businesses in "high risk" categories that are found to have re-opened without an approved re-opening proposal in place could face liability under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The province continues to accept re-opening proposals via its re-opening portal.

At present, all other stipulations under Stage 3 of the Framework remain the same:

  • Gathering limits remain capped at 50 people (indoor events) and 100 people (outdoor events).
  • Businesses must meet (or continue to meet) "strict health and safety requirements" to re-open or remain open.
  • Ontario has now published over 170 sector-specific guidelines and documents to support a safe and efficient return to work. Businesses should revisit applicable sector-specific guidelines to ensure that they are aware of any new requirements, recommendations, and best practices.