New Restrictions, Stay at Home Order & Second State Of Emergency: What Employers Need to Know

Written by on January 13, 2021 in Covid-19 Centre, Employment Law Blog, Employment Law Issues
Second State of Emergency, New Restrictions, Stay at Home Order

By Tejpreet (Tanya) Sambi

On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, Premier Ford announced that the Province would be returning to a State of Emergency, effective at 12:01 am on Wednesday, January 13. The previous State of Emergency, enacted in response to the first wave of COVID-19, ended July 24, 2020. 

While Ontario has been in the grey Lockdown level since December 26, 2020, Premier Ford announced a series of restrictions that will come into effect at 12:01 am on Thursday, January 14, 2021, until at least February 11, 2021, as follows:

1. Ontarians Required to Stay at Home

With the exception of essential travel (i.e. travelling to purchase groceries, exercise, medical appointments and going to a pharmacy) and curbside pickup, Ontario residents are required to stay at home at all times.

2. No In-Class Learning Until February 10 in Windsor-Essex, Peel Region, York Region, Toronto & Hamilton 

The Government will announce the limits on in-class learning for the remaining Ontario regions on January 20, 2021.

3. Reduced Hours for Non-Essential Retailers

With the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants, all other retailers (including those offering curbside pickup), are only permitted to operate between the hours of 7:00 am and 8:00 pm. Masks are now mandatory in all workplaces, even where physical distancing can be maintained. There are no restrictions on purchasing non-essential items.

4. Work from Home for All, Except Essential Workers

Businesses must ensure that all non-essential employees work from home, allowing only those they deem essential to remain on-site.

5. Essential Construction Only

All non-essential construction are further restricted, including below-grade construction, with the exception of survey activity.

6. Outdoor Gatherings

Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 5 people, as was the case in the first State of Emergency. The Government is now recommended that masks be worn outside where it is not possible to engage in physical distancing of 2 meters.

7. Rapid Testing and Inspection Blitz

The Government will make 300,000 new rapid COVID-19 tests available per week for key economic sectors.There will also be an increase in inspections of “big box” stores to ensure that workplaces comply with the new restrictions.

Provincial offence officers and police officers are permitted to fine Ontario residents who violate the new restrictions, and are permitted to order offenders to vacate premises where unlawful gatherings are held. Ontario residents may also be prosecuted where appropriate, which may include fines or a prison sentence.

8. Upcoming Restrictions on Residential Evictions To Be Announced 

Contact Minken Employment Lawyers today

Minken Employment Lawyers is your source for expert advice and advocacy on today’s employment law issues. If you have any questions with respect to the above or need guidance on how to handle the State of Emergency, please contact us or call us at 905-477-7011 to schedule a consultation. Sign up for our newsletter to receive up-to-date Employment Law information, including new legislation and Court decisions impacting your workplace.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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