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Reopening Ontario: A Brief Guide for Small Business Owners

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While Ontario announced its ‘Roadmap to Reopen’ on May 25, 2021, the current stay-at-home order will be in place until June 2, 2021.

Ontario’s reopening plan is made up of 3 steps that are all spaced 21 days apart. Ontario will be moving to Step 1 of the reopening plan on June 11, 2021, at 12:01 am.

This blog details the restrictions in each step of reopening Ontario, which are relevant to small businesses. The 3 steps are as follows:

Step 1: 60% adults with one vaccine dose

The first stage of the roadmap will begin when:

  • 60% of Ontario’s adults get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Public health indicators, such as hospitalizations and case rates, show that Ontario can safely move into this first step.
What can open in Step 1?

The list of activities allowed includes but is not restricted to:

  • Outdoor dining up to 4 people per table
  • Outdoor fitness classes, personal training and sports training up to 10 people
  • Essential retail can operate at 25% capacity and sell all goods (including discount and big box)
  • Non-essential retail can open at 15% capacity
  • Retail stores in malls will stay closed unless the stores have a street-facing entrance
  • Campsites, campgrounds, short-term rentals will be allowed

Ontario will stay in Step 1 for at least 21 days.

Step 2: 70% adults with one dose & 20% fully vaccinated

The province will move to Step 2 if:

  • 70% of adults are vaccinated with one dose and 20% with two doses
  • Public health and health system indicators show positive trends
What can reopen in Step 2?

Activities permitted include but are not limited to:

  • Outdoor dining up to 6 people per table
  • Outdoor meeting and event spaces with capacity limits
  • Non-essential retail at 25% capacity; Essential retail at 50% capacity
  • Personal care services where face masks are always worn with capacity limits
  • Outdoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits
  • Outdoor tour and guide services with capacity limits

Ontario will stay in Step 2 for at least 21 days.

Step 3: 70-80% adults with one dose and 25% fully vaccinated

The province will move to Step 3 if:

  • 70 to 80% of adults are vaccinated with one dose and 25% with two doses
  • Public health and health system indicators continue to be positive
What can reopen in Step 3?

Indoor services are expected to resume with larger numbers of people, and restrictions in place. This includes but is not restricted to:

  • Indoor dining with capacity limits
  • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities with capacity limits
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces with capacity limits
  • Essential and non-essential retail with capacity expanded
  • Personal care services with capacity expanded, and some other restrictions
  • Indoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits
  • Casinos and bingo halls with capacity limits
Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.