Advocacy | Coronavirus | Health & Safety | Ontario | Store Operations

Ontario issues additional restrictions for retail

September 28, 2020

Ontario released some additional restrictions today, on businesses, mostly for restaurants and bars.

As of 12:01am on Saturday, September 26, restrictions shall be placed on restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs), prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m., and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises after 12:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. (including employees), and requiring establishments to close by 12:00 a.m. and remain closed until 5:00 a.m. except for takeout or delivery.

In addition – for all business including retail – Ontario now requires business to comply with advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health related to screening for COVID-19.

Specifically, that will mean that retail business will have to actively screen employees, and visitors to the premise providing a service. At this time, active customer screening is not required. Click here for the exact screening guidance issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Please note, retailers do not need to keep data, nor transmit information related to this to the government. Many retailers may have very similar active screening protocols already in place – so long as your protocol answers these three questions below, this likely will have little to no impact on operations. Those questions are:

  1. Do you have any of the following new or worsening symptoms or signs? Note: Symptoms should not be chronic or related to other known causes or conditions. In other words, an employee who suffers from chronic allergies, and has a runny nose as a result of that would not answer “yes” to the question on runny noses.
    • Fever or chills
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Cough
    • Sore throat, trouble swallowing
    • Runny nose/stuffy nose or nasal congestion
    • Decrease or loss of smell or taste
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
    • Not feeling well, extreme tiredness, sore muscles
  2. ​​​​​Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?
  3. Have you had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19?

​​​​​Ontario has said that it will take the province several days to get enforcement plans out to staff on the ground. Ontario has also signaled that, realistically, they can not enforce this at scale, and it’s a good faith measure with business. It has been verbally conveyed to RCC that enforcement will start off as ‘education only’, with no fines laid. There was no sense of time provided, other than the ‘it will take the province several days to prepare’.

RCC continues to engage the province with respect to Second Wave business planning and is actively encouraging the province of Ontario to create a more detailed front-facing plan, so that businesses have the documentation required to plan accordingly. While we are pleased that Ontario continues to act in a harmonized fashion, we know our members require more information, with advance notice and longer timelines as opposed to a 24-hour call to action.

If you have specific questions, please contact Sebastian Prins at [email protected], 416-467-3759.

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