Update (April 7, 2021): Ontario has issued a new stay-at-home order that takes effect on April 8 and will last four weeks. Read the rules here.
Previous story continues below:
A stay-at-home order took effect in Ontario at midnight on January 14, meaning Ontarians have new rules to get used to.
The order comes two days after Premier Doug Ford declared a new state of emergency to curb COVID-19 cases, which are surging and threatening to overwhelm hospitals.
The new restrictions include:
- Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions.
- Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 am and close no later than 8 pm. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
The order, which will last for at least 28 days, requires people to stay at home except for essential reasons.
What will police do to enforce the rules?
Toronto Police have issued a statement explaining officers will enforce rules under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and Reopening Ontario Act, and their focus will primarily be on restaurants and businesses breaking the rules, and dispersing large gatherings.
“Officers can exercise discretion in every situation,” said Toronto Police Deputy Chief Demkiw in a news release. “But, where there is evidence of non-compliance, officers will be ticketing and issuing summonses for individuals and businesses.”
When officers have “reasonable and probable grounds” to suspect someone is violating the provincial acts, police said, they will ask a person to identify themselves in order to issue a ticket or summons.
“If the person refuses to identify themselves for this purpose, they can be arrested and charged with obstructing a police officer,” the statement adds.
The stay-at-home order does not give officers the power to enter dwellings nor the authority to stop a vehicle to check compliance, police said.
“In addition, individuals are not compelled to explain why they are out of their residence, nor is being outside prima facie evidence of a failure to comply with the stay at home order,” the statement continues. “Workers are also not required to have proof from their employer that they are travelling to or from their workplace.”
So what reasons are essential? Read the full list of stay-at-home order rules in Ontario below.
Ontario stay-at-home order rules
Work, school and child care
1. Working or volunteering where the nature of the work or volunteering requires the individual to leave their residence, including when the individual’s employer has determined that the nature of the individual’s work requires attendance at the workplace.
2. Attending school or a post-secondary institution.
3. Attending, obtaining or providing child care.
4. Receiving or providing training or educational services.
Obtaining goods and services
5. Obtaining food, beverages and personal care items.
6. Obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an individual, including health-care services and medications.
7. Obtaining goods, obtaining services or performing such activities as are necessary for the safe operation, maintenance and sanitation of households, businesses, means of transportation or other places.
8. Purchasing or picking up goods through an alternative method of sale, such as curbside pickup, from a business or place that is permitted to provide curbside pickup under the Stage 1 Order.
9. Attending an appointment at a business or place that is permitted to be open by appointment under the Stage 1 Order.
10. Obtaining services from a financial institution or cheque cashing service.
11. Obtaining government services, social services and supports, mental health support services or addictions support services.
12. Delivering goods or providing care or other support or assistance to an individual who requires support or assistance, or receiving such support or assistance, including:
- providing care for an individual in a congregate care setting, and
- accompanying an individual who requires assistance leaving their residence for any purpose permitted under this Order.
13. Taking a child to the child’s parent or guardian or to the parent or guardian’s residence.
14. Taking a member of the individual’s household to any place the member of the household is permitted to go under this Order.
Health, safety and legal purposes
15. Doing anything that is necessary to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an individual, including,
- protecting oneself or others from domestic violence,
- leaving or assisting someone in leaving unsafe living conditions, and
- seeking emergency assistance.
16. Exercising, including,
- walking or moving around outdoors using an assistive mobility device, or
- using an outdoor recreational amenity that is permitted to be open under the Stage 1 Order.
17. Attending a place as required by law or in relation to the administration of justice.
18. Exercising an Aboriginal or treaty right as recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
Multiple residences and moving
19. Travelling to another residence of the individual if,
- the individual intends to be at the residence for less than 24 hours and is attending for one of the purposes set out in this order; or
- the individual intends to reside at the residence for at least 14 days.
20. Travelling between the homes of parents, guardians or caregivers, if the individual is under their care.
21. Making arrangements to purchase or sell a residence or to begin or end a residential lease.
22. Moving residences.
23. Travelling to an airport, bus station or train station for the purpose of travelling to a destination that is outside of the Province.
24. Attending a gathering for the purpose of a wedding, a funeral or a religious service, rite or ceremony that is permitted under the Stage 1 Order or making necessary arrangements for the purpose of such a gathering.
25. If the individual lives alone, gathering with the members of a single household.
Caring for animals
26. Obtaining goods or services that are necessary for the health or safety of an animal, including obtaining veterinary services.
27. Obtaining animal food or supplies.
28. Doing anything that is necessary to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an animal, including protecting an animal from suffering abuse.
29. Walking or otherwise exercising an animal.
More Ontario stay-at-home order rules
- No person shall attend a business or place that is required to be closed under the Stage 1 Order, except to the extent that temporary access to the closed business or place is permitted under subsection 1 (6) of Schedule 1 to the Stage 1 Order.
- This Order does not apply to individuals who are homeless.
- If this Order allows an individual to leave their residence to go to a place, it also authorizes them to return to their residence from that place.
- The requirement in subsection (1) to remain at an individual’s place of residence does not prevent the individual from accessing outdoor parts of their place of residence, such as a backyard, or accessing indoor or outdoor common areas of the communal residences in which they reside that are open, including lobbies.
- For greater certainty, nothing in this Order permits a business or place to be open if it is required to be closed under the Stage 1 Order.
- For greater certainty, nothing in this Order permits an individual to gather with other individuals if the gathering is not permitted under the Stage 1 Order.
- For greater certainty, individuals may only attend an outdoor organized public event or social gathering that is permitted under the Stage 1 Order for a purpose set out in subsection (1).
Update (January 14, 5:45 pm): This post was updated with information from the Toronto Police Service.