COVID-19 Restrictions

COVID lockdown gray banner

The province-wide Stay-at-Home Order begins on Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 am and is expected to be in place for at least 42 days.

This means you must stay at home. You should only go out for necessities, such as:

  • getting food, beverages or medication
  • going to medical appointments
  • getting vaccinated
  • supporting vulnerable community members
  • child care
  • attending school or a post-secondary institution
  • going to a bank
  • government services
  • getting outdoor exercise or walking pets
  • going to work, if you can’t do it remotely

Do not travel outside your region or the province unless absolutely necessary.

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020

  • No indoor or outdoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with).
    • Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation
  • Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services but not including receptions, where physical distancing can be maintained (applies in any venue other than a private dwelling/home):
    • 10 people  indoors
    • This does not apply to receptions, which are limited to people you live with.
    • Virtual and drive-in events and religious services, rites or ceremonies permitted.
  • Anyone who can work from home must do so if their work does not require them to be on site.

General regulations

Masks & face coverings:

  • Every person must wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period in which they are in an indoor area of a business or premise, with limited exemptions.
  • Every person in a place of business or facility that is open to the public must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except from their caregiver or from members of the person’s household.
  • Every person shall wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period in which they are in attendance at an organized public event or gathering permitted (indoor or outdoor) and within two metres of another individual who is not part of their household.

Screening:

  • Every business that is open must at a minimum, screen individuals by posting signs at all entrances of the business or organization, in a location visible to the public, that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises. 
  • Certain businesses must actively screen their patrons as well (see specific categories below for more information).
  • All employees must be actively screened before they enter the premises of the business or organization using the Employee/Worker Screening Tool

Safety plan

  • All businesses, places, facilities and establishments that are open need to prepare and post a Safety Plan in a conspicuous place.

Physical distancing

  • The person responsible for a place that is open must not permit patrons to line up inside the business or place, or to line up or congregate outside of the business or place, unless they are:
    • maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons
    • wearing a mask or face covering

Capacity limits

  • The person responsible for a place that is open to the public must limit the number of members of the public in the place so that:
    • the members of the public are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the business or facility
    • the total number of members of the public in the business or facility at any one time does not exceed 50 % capacity
  • For retail stores:
    • 25% capacity limit 
  • Retail stores must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted.

The following recommendations apply to multi-unit housing:

Elevators

  • Practice physical distancing by keeping 2 metres (6 feet) away from others while waiting for an elevator and riding an elevator. Aim for no more than two or three people in the elevator at any time, unless they are also household members, to avoid close contact with others.
  • Take the stairs when possible or wait for the next elevator to avoid overcrowding.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth after touching elevator buttons or other elevator surfaces (e.g. mirrors or railings). 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze by using a tissue or your arm/sleeve.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after leaving the elevator.
  • Enhanced cleaning practices should be in place for high-touch items, such as elevator buttons and surfaces. Clean and disinfect at minimum twice per day.

Signs:

Shared Laundry Facilities

While COVID-19 is mainly spread through person to person contact, it may be possible to be exposed to the virus by touching a contaminated surface in a shared laundry facility and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Practice physical distancing and keep 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
  • Wear a face covering/mask in common areas of apartment buildings, such as laundry rooms.
  • Limit the number of people allowed in a shared area at one time.
  • Avoid doing laundry if the facility is busy/crowded or when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Where possible, open windows or doors to increase ventilation in shared areas.
  • Wash your hands before and after doing laundry.
  • Clean laundry machine controls and common surfaces before and after each use, at minimum twice per day.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry belonging to a person who is sick.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Do not overload laundry machines.
  • Wash laundry using the warmest temperature setting possible.
  • Dry laundry at the highest temperature setting possible until completely dry.
  • Close washer and dryer doors when finished.
  • Place and fold clean clothes on a cleaned surface or separate area from where dirty clothes were placed.
  • Disinfect hampers between use for dirty and clean laundry OR use a designated clean and dirty hamper to ensure cross-contamination does not occur.

Signs:

Additional information for housing providers during COVID-19

Health and safety guidance for child care centres

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its Regulations apply to child care centres:

Child care centres and home care providers across Ontario are able to open with strict safety and operational requirements in place. Centres are required to adopt specific rules, including:

  • COVID-19 response plan - all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19.
  • Screening - all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting.  Anyone feeling unwell must stay home.
  • Daily attendance records - child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing.
  • Cleaning - child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter; removal of all toys that can easily spread germs.
  • No visitors - only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting.
  • Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.

Operators can contact the City of Hamilton’s Early Years and Childcare Services, who are working in conjunction with Public Health Services and others, to inquire about operation and infection prevention and control measures and concerns.

The following construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services, are permitted that:

  • are associated with the health care sector or long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space;
  • ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in municipal/provincial infrastructure
  • support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage, natural gas distribution, transmission and storage or in the supply of resources;
  • support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, schools, colleges, universities or child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014;
  • are required for the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries or
  • significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work commenced before April 17, 2021, or industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance or enhancement of personal protective equipment, medical devices such as ventilators and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products;
  • were commenced before April 17, 2021 and that would,  provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services, or provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services, or provide additional capacity to, or enhance the efficiency or operations of, businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials;
  • support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services;
  • are residential construction activities or projects and related services;
  • prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure;
  • are necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused, or that are not active, to ensure ongoing public safety;
  • are funded in whole or in part by, municipal, provincial or federal governments
  • are intended to provide shelter or supports for vulnerable persons or affordable housing, and
  • being funded in whole or in part by, or are being undertaken by, municipal, provincial or federal government, registered charity or not-for-profit corporation
  • Day camps are not permitted to operate during provincial shutdown.

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its Regulations apply to entertainment spaces:

Attractions

Attractions and heritage institutions, including museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites and similar attractions are closed.

Performing Arts & Cinemas

  • Cinemas, concert venues and theatres are closed.
  • Gathering limits for wedding services, funeral services and other religious services, rites or ceremonies, where physical distancing can be maintained are limited to a capacity of:
    • Indoors: 10 people
  • For greater clarity, this means that the maximum number of people indoors in a place of worship is 10 people including priests, ministers, musicians, alter-servers, etc.
  • Face coverings or masks must be worn indoors.
  • Virtual and drive-in religious services, rites or wedding/funeral ceremonies are permitted.
    • Each person attending must remain in a closed motor vehicle, except to use a washroom.
    • Motor vehicles must be positioned at least 2 metres from other vehicles.

City of Hamilton letter to Places of Worship (April 1, 2021) (PDF, 46 KB)

Physical Distancing

  • Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) between everyone in the place of worship, unless attending with members of the same household.  Note: physical distancing of at least two metres is required in Hamilton during COVID-19 under By-law 20-164
  • Avoid activities which require close contact (hand-shaking, hugging) or sharing items (drinking from chalice, passing collection basket, passing candle, kissing sacred items).
    Refer to Ministry guidance for sharing or distributing materials or objects.

Seating

  • Rearrange seating so that people are maintaining physical distancing from other people in different households. If this is not possible, seating should be blocked off.

Face Coverings and Masks

  • Face coverings/masks are required for entry into an enclosed public place, with limited exceptions.

Safety plans/screening

  • Safety plans must be posted in a visible location
  • Employees/staff must be actively screened prior to entering for work (including volunteers, suppliers and contractors). Workplaces must be able to demonstrate that they have implemented a screening system and that it is working as intended.
  • Post the COVID-19 screening questions at entrances to encourage visitors/ patrons to self-screen prior to entry. Faith-based organizations may also choose to actively screen patrons.

Cleaning/disinfection

  • Practice routine cleaning and disinfection to ensure that sanitary conditions are maintained.

Singing and instrument playing

  • Install barriers, such as plexiglass between performers who are singing or playing wind and brass instruments and attendees. Clean and disinfect barriers after each use.

In addition to the above requirements, Hamilton Public Health strongly recommends:

  • Encouraging everyone to assess themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and to stay home if sick
  • Ensuring hygiene practices are implemented, including easy access to handwashing stations or hand sanitizing supplies
  • Printing and displaying other relevant posters by entrances, hallways, washrooms and meeting rooms (e.g. physical distancing poster, protect yourself from COVID19, how to wash your hands)
  • Keeping a detailed attendance record for contact tracing (name, date, time/event and email or phone number). Record contact information for all members of the public visiting the facility, including members of the congregation, visitors, and contractors.
  • Making sure someone is assigned to monitor compliance with physical distancing and wearing a mask.

 
You can also modify or suspend activities to reduce virus spread

  • Host virtual services to allow a greater number of people to participate (consider hosting virtual services instead of in-person services where possible)
  • Limit gatherings to allow for better ventilation
  • Keep in-person services short, especially indoors/limit duration when people are indoors together
  • Limit the number of performers or vocalists. Avoid group or congregational singing. Consider using pre-recorded music.
  • Discourage social gatherings before or after the service
  • Limit shared items, i.e. provide single-use handouts or ask congregates to bring their own items.
  • If sharing work equipment (e.g. phones, computers), clean and disinfect between users
  • For rites requiring close contact (e.g. baptism, circumcision), wear a medical mask and eye protection (i.e. face shield or googles). Do not share personal protective equipment.

Social Gatherings

Social gatherings before or after in-person services are not permitted.

Hamilton Public Health Services information about harm reduction and preventing the spread of COVID-19:

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its Regulations apply to meeting and event spaces:

  • Meetings and events are not permitted, with some limited exceptions:
    • providing child care (day camps are not permitted)
    • providing social services
    • delivering or supporting the delivery of court services
    • operations by or on behalf of a government
    • delivering or supporting the delivery of government services
    • delivering or supporting mental health support services or addictions support services, so long as no more than ten people are permitted to occupy the rented space

Face coverings/masks

  • Face coverings must be worn, except when eating or drinking.
  • Employees must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that provides protection of eyes, nose and mouth while providing services if the employee is required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask/face covering when indoors and the employee and patron are not separated by plexiglass/an impermeable barrier.

Singing/music

  • Volume of music must be limited (no louder than the volume of a normal conversation)
  • Dancing, singing and live performance with wind and brass instruments are prohibited.

Safety plans/screening

  • Safety plans must be available upon request
  • Meeting & event spaces are required to actively screen patrons prior to entry using the Customer Screening Tool

Contact information

  • The person responsible for the meeting or event space must record the name and contact information for every person who attends a meeting/event. This information must be kept for 30 days and be provided to public health upon request.

Ministry Guidance for Meeting & Event Facilities

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its Regulations apply to personal service settings:

  • Personal care services, including but not limited to hair salons, spas, tanning salons, tattoo studios, diet centres and beauty salons are closed.

 

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its Regulations apply to restaurants, bars and nightclubs:

  • All restaurants, bars, concession stands, and other food and drink establishments may open for take-out, drive-through, and delivery service only. No indoor or outdoor dining is permitted in or at premises.
  • Nightclubs are not permitted to open, except for the purpose of providing food or drinks to patrons in accordance with the conditions that apply to restaurants and bars.

Capacity/seating/physical distancing

  • Line-ups/patrons congregating inside or outside venues must be managed by the venue and requires physical distancing of 2 metres between patrons and face coverings.

Face coverings/masks

  • Face coverings must be worn indoors

Hours of operation/liquor service

  • Liquor can only be sold or served between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm.
  • No liquor can be consumed on the premises between 10 pm and 9 am(including employees).

Safety plans/screening

Physical distancing of two metres between patrons from different households continues to apply to food trucks, food courts, concession stands and tours, including tastings at wineries, breweries and distilleries.

Read guidelines below for additional guidance:

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its Regulations apply to retail spaces.

The majority of non-essential stores (including malls) will only be open for curbside pick-up by appointment or delivery. Curbside pick-up means that patrons do not enter the indoor area of a business.

If the business allows patrons to pick up items at the business that are pre-purchased & by appointment only between 7 am and 8 pm, it must have,

  • a public entrance that opens onto a street or exterior sidewalk, or
  • permit patrons to pick up items at a designated location in the case of a shopping mall.

For malls:

  • Food court seating areas in malls are closed.
  • Restaurants within the mall may remain open for take away.
  • Safety plan must be available upon request.
  • Malls are required to actively screen patrons prior to entry using the Customer Screening Tool.
  • Malls may only open between 7 am and 8 pm and may not deliver goods to patrons outside of these hours. An exception is made for premises (pharmacies, supermarkets, healthcare providers) in a mall that only have public entrances facing the interior of the mall, which are permitted to remain open outside of these hours.
  • Shopping malls can designate a single location inside the mall to allow patrons to pick up an order from a store inside the shopping mall. Patrons may only pick up orders from the indoor designated location by appointment. An item may only be provided for pickup if the patron ordered the item before arriving at the mall.
  • Shopping malls can designate any number of locations outside the mall to allow patrons to pick up an order from a store inside the shopping mall. Patrons may only pick up orders from the outdoor designated location without making an appointment.

For all retail spaces:

  • Capacity limits & hours of operation:
    • Capacity limit for all retail spaces: 25% of publicly accessible area
    • Stores must post the capacity limit publicly
    • Hours of operation for retail shops such as  discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, cannabis stores, hardware stores, garden centres is  7 am to  8 pm
  • Line ups require patrons be spaced 2 metres apart and mask or face covering is required if the line up is inside or outside of the establishment.
  • Volume of music must be limited
  • Passive screening is required for patrons ie. posting signs visible to the public at all entrances that inform individuals how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premise. Employees must be actively screening before they enter the premise
  • Safety plan must be available
  • Stores that primarily sell groceries include supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, stalls within indoor and outdoor farmers’ markets.
  • Stores that primarily sell groceries include supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, stalls within indoor and outdoor farmers’ markets.
  • Discount and big box retail stores can open provided they:
    • Sell groceries
    • Only sell groceries, household cleaning supplies, personal care items, pharmacy items and pet supplies
    • No other goods and services can be sold.
  • The below retail & other locations can also open by appointment between 7 am and 8 pm at 25% capacity:
    • Safety supply stores.
    • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies.
    • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public
    • Businesses that sell & repair vehicles
    • Rental and leasing services
    • Telecommunications
  • The below retail locations can also open by between 7 am and 8 pm at 25% capacity:
    • Outdoor garden centres & plant nurseries
    • Indoor greenhouses
    • Outdoor markets

Ontario schools are currently online.

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its Regulations apply to facilities for sports and recreational fitness facilities:

  • All indoor facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gymnasiums, health clubs, community centres, multi-purpose facilities, arenas, pools, exercise studios, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities are closed.
  • Exemptions exist for national elite teams and parasports.

Outdoor recreational amenities (parks or recreational areas) are open for persons to walk through the park or recreational area. Off-leash dog areas may open. Benches in parks or recreational areas may be used. Physical distancing of at least 2 metres is required from any other person also using the amenity, unless they are within the same household.

The following outdoor recreational amenities cannot be used:

  • Playgrounds, play structures and equipment.
  • Outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, including baseball diamonds, soccer fields, frisbee golf locations, tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts, basketball courts, BMX parks, and skate parks.
  • All portions of park and recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment.
  • All outdoor picnic sites and picnic tables in park and recreational areas.

Mesures de santé publique et de sécurité au travail et conseils de santé publique propres à chaque secteur