Ontario Moving to Step 2 of its Reopening Plan on June 30

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Effective June 30, 2021, all public health units in Ontario may move to Step 2 of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen. On June 30, all public health units in Ontario will be subject to the requirements established by O. Reg. 263/20, Rules for Areas in Step 2, as amended by O. Reg. 488/21, along with any other conditions that may apply in specific public health units. Due to a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in certain regions, including the Region of Waterloo, not all public health units will move into Step 2 at this time.

Roadmap to Reopen: Step 2 Overview

Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen is the province’s three-step plan to safely and gradually lift public health measures based on ongoing progress of province-wide vaccination rates and improvements of key public health and healthcare indicators. Step 2 requires that 70% of adults are vaccinated with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination and 20% of individuals are vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination. Generally, Step 2 further expands outdoor activities and resumes limited indoor services with small numbers of people and with face coverings being worn.

Working Remotely

Step 2 requires all individuals who are responsible for a business or organization that is open to ensure that persons who perform work for that business or organization conduct their work remotely, unless the nature of their work requires them to be onsite. This provision does not apply to the government or to entities that deliver or support government operations.

Safety Plans

In addition to the existing requirements, safety plans that have been prepared by individuals who are responsible for a business that is open now must include measures and procedures for preventing crowds and gatherings. Additional information is required for certain businesses, places or events that likely will involve crowds, such as certain sports or recreational activities, outdoor concerts, theaters and cinemas, museums, amusement parks and outdoor festivals.

Meeting and Event Space

Step 2 allows outdoor meeting or event spaces to be rented out where members of the public may maintain a physical distance of two meters from each other and there is a 25% capacity limit. Other conditions also apply in certain situations. Note that indoor meeting and event spaces only are permitted to be rented out for prescribed purposes.

General Capacity Limits

Subject to specific capacity limits provided in O. Reg. 263/20, including, for example, the 25% capacity limit that applies to certain retailers, public libraries and rented meeting and event spaces, among others, the general capacity limit for businesses and facilities open to the public now is 50%. Both the 25% and 50% capacity limits must be determined in accordance with a prescribed formula based on the total square meters of the premises. As noted above, all individuals must adhere to physical distancing requirements (i.e., two meters).

Organized Public Events, Certain Gatherings

At Step 2, the number of persons who may attend an organized public event has increased to (i) five individuals where the event is held indoors and (ii) 25 individuals where the event is held outdoors. Similar restrictions apply for social gatherings, including social gatherings associated with weddings, funerals or religious services, rites or ceremonies (e.g., a wedding reception). Subject to capacity limits contained elsewhere in O. Reg. 263/20, for outdoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites or ceremonies, there is no capacity limit as long as public health guidance on physical distancing may be maintained. For indoor weddings, funerals or religious services, rites or ceremonies, the number of persons attending must not exceed 25% of the capacity of the particular room and all persons attending the gathering must comply with public health guidance on physical distancing.

We continue to monitor how governments outside the United States are reopening society as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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