Coronavirus | Ontario | Wins

Ontario’s reopening of retail

February 8, 2021

UPDATE: Ontario regions re-opening under colour code framework on February 16, 2021

Ontario announced retail reopening, something that RCC has been working on continuously for many weeks.

Reopening will occur in three phases based on positive COVID-19 cases, with reopened regions moving to a modified version of the former colour code framework.

The following table highlights the changes to the Red and Grey Zones.

Of particular note, capacity changes now mean that all non-essential retailers can be open in the Grey Zone, with a 25% capacity limit. There are new capacity restrictions for all retailers in the Red Zone – retailers who do not sell grocery/pharmacy products will be restricted to a capacity of 50%. See RCC’s updated Store Capacity Calculator for more information.

In addition, malls will be required to actively screen all patrons in Orange, Red, and Grey Zones. For retailers with external entrances as well as internal entrances, you will need to engage with your landlord to discuss how to negotiate this boundary. There is passive patron screening requirement (e.g. posted signage) for retail entrances in Orange, Red, and Grey Zones.

Colour code framework

  Green – Prevent Yellow – Protect Orange – Restrict Red – Control Grey – Lockdown Shutdown
Capacity: Grocery, Pharmacy & Convenience Stores Capacity requirement is “No more patrons than can physically distance in your store”. Calculation: sales floor, less fixtures divided by 4m2. Capacity requirement is “No more patrons than can physically distance in your store”.   Calculation: sales floor, less fixtures divided by 4m2. Capacity requirement is “no more patrons than can physically distance in your store”.   Calculation: sales floor, less fixtures divided by 4m2. 75% capacity Defined as  “no more patrons than the total square metres of sales floor, less fixtures, divided by 6 m2”. 50% capacity Defined as “no more patrons than the total square metres of sales floor, less fixtures, divided by 8 m2”.. 50% capacity. Defined as “no more patrons than the total square metres of sales floor, less fixtures, divided by 8 m2”.
Capacity: All Other Retail Capacity requirement is “No more patrons than can physically distance in your store”   Calculation: sales floor, less fixtures divided by 4m2. Capacity requirement is “No more patrons than can physically distance in your store”   Calculation: sales floor, less fixtures divided by 4m2. Capacity requirement is “No more patrons than can physically distance in your store”   Calculation: sales floor, less fixtures divided by 4m2. 50% capacity Defined as “no more patrons than the total square metres of sales floor, less fixtures, divided by 8 m2”. 25% capacity Defined as “no more patrons than the total square metres of sales floor, less fixtures, divided by 16 m2”. 0% or 25% capacity   Big Box and Discount selling grocery and alcohol retailers, the 25% capacity restriction is defined as “no more patrons than the total square metres of sales floor, less fixtures, divided by 16 m2”.   For retails defined by Ontario as non-essential, the Shutdown zone means curbside-only sales.
New Requirements Stores must have passive screening for patrons (e.g. signage outside of the store posting signs outside advising a person not to enter if they have COVID-19 symptoms) For malls: active screening in accordance with the instructions from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request. Stores must have passive screening for patrons (For malls: active screening in accordance with the instructions from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. For malls: active screening in accordance with the instructions from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health   For malls: active screening in accordance with the instructions from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health Stores must post capacity limit publicly. Capacity limits of 75% for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, pharmacies. Capacity limits of 50% for all other retail, including discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores, garden centres and other retailers (e.g. formerly defined as “non-essential”). For malls: active screening in accordance with the instructions from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health Capacity limits of 25% for all other retail (e.g. formerly defined as “non-essential”).   This means non-essential retailers are open.  
Previous Requirements Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls. Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required.     Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls. Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required. Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible. For malls: a safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request. Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering required. Limit volume of music to be no low enough that a normal conversation is possible. For malls: a safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request. Stores must have passive screening for patrons (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if you have COVID-19 symptoms).   Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls. Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering also required. Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible. For malls: A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request. Stores must have passive screening for patrons (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if you have COVID-19 symptoms). For malls: maximum number of patrons permitted to be seated indoors in mall food court is 10. Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls. Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering also required. Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible. For malls: A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request. Stores must have passive screening for patrons (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if you have COVID-19 symptoms). For malls: maximum number of patrons permitted to be seated indoors in mall food court is 10. Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls. Line-ups and patrons congregating outside venues managed by venue; 2 metres distance and face covering also required. Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible. For malls: A safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request. Stores must have passive screening for patrons (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if you have COVID-19 symptoms). For malls: maximum number of patrons permitted to be seated indoors in mall food court is 10.

The following areas are scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, February 10:

  • Hastings and Prince Edward Counties
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Region
  • Renfrew County and District

The following areas are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, February 16:

  • Algoma Region
  • Brant County
  • Chatham-Kent Region
  • Durham Region
  • Eastern Ontario Region
  • Grey Bruce
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Region
  • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District
  • Halton Region
  • City of Hamilton
  • Huron Perth Region
  • Lambton Region
  • Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District
  • Middlesex-London Region
  • Niagara Region
  • North Bay Parry Sound District
  • Northwestern Region
  • City of Ottawa
  • Peterborough Region
  • Porcupine Region
  • Region of Waterloo
  • Simcoe Muskoka Region
  • Southwestern Region
  • Sudbury and District
  • Thunder Bay District
  • Timiskaming Region
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Region
  • Windsor-Essex County

The following areas are scheduled to reopen on Monday, February 22:

  • City of Toronto
  • Peel Region
  • York Region

Next Steps

RCC is pleased that Premier Ford provided encouraging news to retailers today on the province’s reopening plan.  Allowing ‘non-essential’ retailers to reopen at 25% capacity in the gray zone strikes an important balance between public and economic health – one that is supported by both data and science.  For our media statement, on today’s announcement, click here.

RCC is now well positioned to shift its advocacy from reopening to calling for further business supports in the upcoming Ontario Budget.

For more information, contact Sebastian Prins, Director of Government Relations (Ontario) at sprins@retailcouncil.org

Be heard. Save money. Stay informed.

Become a member