Coronavirus | Ontario

Non-essential retailers in Ontario allowed to reopen during Phase One

May 14, 2020

The Ontario Government has announced the details on how non-essentials store in Ontario can begin to reopen their operations.

All non-essential retailers may reopen if they:

  • Are able to limit the number of people in the store to one customer per four square metres of sales floor space to ensure physical distancing can be maintained at all times.
  • Have a separate street-front entrance with measures in place that can enable physical distancing. Retailers with only internal mall entrances must remain closed.

This announcement does not extend to malls. All malls, and therefore retailers with only internal mall entrances, remain closed. No specific dates or further details have been announced yet for subsequent phases.

View detailed list of Stage one openings

New requirements for fitting rooms  

New requirements for fitting rooms have been outlined in the Ontario Ministry of Finance document which outlines that: “Only fitting rooms with doors would be used, not curtains, to facilitate disinfecting. Retailers would restrict use to every second fitting room at any one time to allow for cleaning after use and ensure physical distancing.”

Explanation on some of the most frequently asked questions

  • Retailers can now conduct “by appointment” sales AND/OR by  limiting customers (e.g. 1 customer per 4 square metres)
    You may do one or the other – but they cannot be combined.
  • Malls cannot reopen.
    Retailers with external-facing entrances are still able to open (even while the mall still remains closed). If you have an external entrance, as of Tuesday, May 19th at 12:01am you can have customers in the store.
  • How is “retail” defined?
    Early conversations with Ontario government officials outlined to  RCC that “retail” should be defined based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) definition, and therefore would not include services that might occupy a retail setting, like Nail Salons, Tattoo Parlours or a Hairdresser.
  • When will official regulations be posted?
    The official regulation (anticipated to be O. Reg 219/20 – eventually posted at this link) will not be publicly posted until Saturday, May 16, 2020 or Sunday, May 17, 2020. RCC will not be able to expedite or get an advance copy, as no copy has been drafted yet – Cabinet passed this as “Cabinet Minute” (a policy direction), and legal is currently drafting the formal regulation.

For further information contact Sebastian Prins, Director, Government Relations (Ontario) at [email protected].

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