Friday , January 15 2021

State of Emergency Comes into Force: Your Questions Answered

State of Emergency Comes into Force: Your Questions Answered

Starting today, Ontarians are required to stay at home except for essential travel. Image credit: Rudy Chabannes
Rudy Chabannes


Reading time: 4 minutes

TORONTO – Ontario’s state of emergency takes effect today. More restrictive than the previous one, it is accompanied by a home care decree. Far from being as clear as a curfew, this package of public health measures contains multiple exceptions to the rule that can be confusing. Here are the basics of what is allowed and what is not.

Can I leave my house?

No, unless it is essential travel, for example if you are going to a medical appointment, to the pharmacy to pick up medication, to the grocery store to stock up on supplies, to work as an essential worker or to the daycare to drop off your child. Walks with your dog and physical exercise are also allowed.

Physical exercise is allowed. Can I go to the indoor gym or ski?

No, you can’t go to a gym. All indoor and outdoor sports facilities are closed, as are the ski slopes. On the other hand, it is allowed to take a walk, to run and, in general, any activity which does not provoke a gathering.

Which stores remain open and when to go?

Supermarkets, convenience stores, indoor farmers markets and other stores selling mainly food products remain open for physical sale, provided the number of customers does not exceed 50% of their capacity, and mask wearing and distancing are observed . This rule also applies to pharmacies. For grocery stores, the number of people should not exceed 25% of the capacity. The opening hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Is it still possible to order at my favorite restaurant?

Yes, take-out, drive-through and delivery are still permitted for bars and restaurants. This includes the sale of alcohol.

Am I allowed to work on the premises of my company?

No, unless it is in the list of exceptions established by the government, by industry. Your employer is responsible for ensuring that you are able to perform your work remotely, unless the nature of your work requires your presence there. Presence in the workplace therefore requires systematic screening when entering and leaving the workplace, in addition to wearing a mask and physical distancing.

Am I canceling my marriage?

No, if you don’t have a lot of friends. Weddings and funerals are permitted, provided they do not exceed ten participants, indoors or outdoors. Same rule for religious services. Any other gathering is prohibited indoors and tolerated up to five outdoors.

Can my children play Park ?

Yes and no. It is forbidden to use an indoor or outdoor recreational facility. If your children cannot use the public toboggan, nothing prevents them from stretching their legs in a green space or from riding a bicycle on a cycle path. In addition, the opening of outdoor recreational facilities may be authorized by your municipality or regional public health unit in parks, recreation areas or on sports fields.

When will my child’s school reopen?

Schools in Windsor, Toronto, Peel, York and Hamilton remain closed until February 10. Elsewhere in the south, the return was scheduled for January 25, but an announcement scheduled by January 20 could further change the schedule for return to face-to-face learning in these regions.

Is my child’s daycare still open?

Childcare services for out-of-school children, kindergarten and preschool not enrolled in school, remain open, including childcare services offered in licensed centers and at home. For regions where schools reopen on January 25, emergency child care services will end on January 22. Before and after school programs resume on January 25. For areas where schools reopen on February 10, emergency child care services will end on February 9. The before and after school programs will resume on February 10.

Am I allowed to stroll in a shopping center?

No. Malls are closed for in-person retail. You can enter it only to access authorized businesses and organizations (pharmacies, courts, government departments). For the collection of items, locations are provided outside, or inside by appointment.

Can I borrow a book from the library?

Yes. Curbside pickup, delivery and pickup are permitted. Circulating documents returned to the library must be disinfected or quarantined before being put back into circulation and you must leave your contact details with staff.

Can I rent accommodation? A car ? Take driving lessons?

Vehicle rental and sale are authorized by appointment. The same goes for essential maintenance and repair. The visit of a property is also done only by appointment. On the other hand, driving lessons in person are prohibited, except for drivers of commercial vehicles.

What do I risk if I attend a rally?

You may be fined $ 750 if you attend a public or social gathering indoors, or outdoors with more than five people outside your household. Up to $ 10,000 if you are the organizer. The police may ask you to leave the scene and close the room where the rally took place. Individuals, employees and managers of retail or businesses can also receive a ticket if, for example, a customer or employee does not wear a mask.

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