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Ontario Stay-At-Home Order: Updated Restrictions for Businesses


The Ontario government has declared a second provincial emergency and imposed a stay-at-home order across the province. This would be in effect from 12:01am on January 14, 2021 for a period of 28 days.

As per the order, all Ontarians can only leave their homes for permitted essential activities such as grocery shopping, or to access medical services, to exercise or for work if it is not possible to work from home.

From midnight of January 13, 2021, the following measures will also come into force:

  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must operate from 7am to 8pm. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted. This would include below-grade construction, exempting survey.
  • Face covering are essential in the indoor areas of businesses that are open.
  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings will be restricted to five people (with limited exceptions).
Ontario businesses and services that can stay open with additional restrictions include:
  • Supermarkets, convenience stores, indoor farmer’s markets, and other stores primarily selling food; and pharmacies. Besides, existing restrictions, they must ensure that customers inside the store follow face covering rules.
  • Discount retailers and big box stores that sell groceries can open for curbside pick-up and delivery. They can open for in-person retail if customers can keep a two-metres physical distance from each other inside the premises. The number of people occupying any room open to the public must not exceed 25% capacity of the room.
  • Gas stations and other fuel suppliers
  • Safety supply stores, businesses that sell, rent, or repair assistive/medical devices, and optical stores selling prescription eyewear must operate from 7am to 8pm. The same applies to outdoor markets and motor vehicle sales stores.
  • Shopping malls can also operate only from 7am to 8pm. However, they can open outside of these hours to provide the public access to grocery stores, pharmacies, and health care providers that only have public entrances facing the interior of the mall.
  • Cannabis retail stores (operating under the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018) and garden centres can also stay open from 7am to 8pm. They can provide curbside pickup only if the item has been ordered by the customer before arriving at the business premises. The same rules apply to general retail stores, including computer stores, pet food, etc.
  • Pre-arranged booking for short-term rentals is prohibited with exceptions for housing requirements.
  • Certain construction activities, such as projects associated with healthcare, critical industrial activities etc., are allowed. Some types of residential construction projects are also permitted.
  • Outdoor recreational amenities, such as parks, ice rinks, etc., are permitted to open, subject to conditions and public health and safety measures.
Ontario businesses and services that can stay open with no new updates to existing measures include:
  • Libraries, supply chain businesses, meeting or event spaces (subject to conditions), and restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments (for takeout, drive through and delivery only).
  • Rental and leasing services, including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery (by appointment only)
  • Automated and self-service car washes, laundromats and drycleaners, and snow clearing and landscaping services
  • Security services for residences, businesses, and other properties
  • Domestic services, including child support, senior care, housekeeping, indoor and outdoor cleaning, and maintenance services
  • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance, and vehicle and equipment rental services (by appointment only)
  • Courier, postal, shipping, moving and delivery services
  • Funeral and related services
  • Staffing services, including providing temporary help; healthcare and social services; media industries
  • Veterinary services necessary for the immediate health and care of the animal, or provided through curb side pick-up and drop-off of the animal
  • Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including farms, boarding kennels, stables, shelters, and research facilities
Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

To get advice on how to maintain your business during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.