Here are the updated lockdown rules for Ontario retailers

Non-essential businesses will now be allowed to reopen during lockdown at 25 per cent capacity


With COVID-19 cases on a downward trend, province will gradually transition back to the colour-coded response framework that allows the economy to reopen in stages, Premier Ford announced today.

However, Ontario is also making changes to the rules to let non-essential retailers reopen under the strictest level, Grey-Lockdown.

Supermarkets, pharmacies and other grocery retailers deemed essential will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity in the Grey level, but the new restrictions allow other retailers to reopen at 25 per cent capacity.

Small business owners have pushed the province to allow their shops to reopen during lockdown, as big-box retailers that sell non-essential items have continued operating throughout the different waves of restrictions.

Three regions will transition from the province-wide lockdown and stay-at-home order order on February 10.

Twenty-eight other regions will move to the framework on February 16 and hot-spot regions Toronto, Peel and York are scheduled to make the switch on February 22.

However, the dates and final decisions are subject to review by public health officials at the time.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the government now has an “emergency brake” that will allow officials to shift a region back into lockdown “immediately” if COVID-19 cases rapidly escalate.

Below is the list of new and modified lockdown rules for Ontario retailers:

Grey-Lockdown Level

  • In person shopping permitted for retail sales, with capacity limits;
  • In addition of the previous restriction of 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies:
    • 25 per cent capacity limit for all other stores that engage in retail sales to the public, including, big box stores;
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted;
  • Require store capacity limit to be posted publicly;
  • Require businesses and organizations to screen in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or other public health official by, among other things:
  • Require individuals to maintain at least two metres of physical distance and wear a face covering, including when attending organized public events and other gatherings, with limited exceptions.

Red-Control Level

  • In person shopping permitted for retail services, with capacity limits;
    • 75 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies; and
    • 50 per cent capacity limit for all other retail businesses that engage in retail sales to the public, including big box stores;
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted;
  • Require store capacity limit to be posted publicly;
  • Require all retailers and other sectors to have a safety plan and post it;
  • Require businesses and organizations to screen in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or other public health official by, among other things:
  • Require individuals to maintain at least two metres of physical distance and wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.

Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, and Orange-Restrict Levels, and Other Sectors

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