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Halton Hills COVID-19 Resources

 

Ontario Outlines Steps to Cautiously and Gradually Ease Public Health Measures

 

 

With key public health and health care indicators starting to show signs of improvement as a result of additional public health measures enacted on January 5, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, today released details of steps to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures, starting on January 31, 2022.

In the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care indicators, Ontario will follow a cautious and phased approach to lifting public health measures, with 21 days between each step.

Effective January 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will begin the process of gradually easing restrictions while maintaining protective measures, including:

·    Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

·    Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:

·    Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;

·    Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies);

·    Shopping malls;

·    Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;

·    Cinemas;

·    Meeting and event spaces;

·    Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; and

·    Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments

·    Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.

·    Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

·    Proof of vaccination requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.

February 21, 2022

Effective February 21, 2022, Ontario will lift public health measures, including:

·    Increasing social gathering limits to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

·    Removing capacity limits in indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to restaurants, indoor sports and recreational facilities, cinemas, as well as other settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.

·    Permitting spectator capacity at sporting events, concert venues, and theatres at 50 per cent capacity.

·    Limiting capacity in most remaining indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance.

·    Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies limited to the number that can maintain two metres of physical distance, with no limit if proof of vaccination is required.

·    Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.

·    Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.

March 14, 2022

Effective March 14, 2022, Ontario will take additional steps to ease public health measures, including:

·    Lifting capacity limits in all indoor public settings. Proof of vaccination will be maintained in existing settings in addition to other regular measures.

·    Lifting remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites, or ceremonies.

·    Increase social gathering limits to 50 people indoors with no limits for outdoor gatherings.

To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, local and regional responses by public health units may be deployed based on local context and conditions.

Business Supports 

To support businesses required to close or reduce capacity due to the public health measures put in place to blunt the spread of the Omicron variant, the government has launched the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program. Through the new program, the government will provide eligible businesses with a rebate payment of up to 100 per cent for property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these restrictions. Applications for the program opened on January 18, 2022. Learn more about the program and apply here.

 

The government is also introducing a new COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant that will give businesses subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen a $10,000 grant. The money will flow to eligible businesses in February. In addition, the government is also improving cash flows for Ontario businesses by making up to $7.5 billion available through a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes. This penalty and interest-free period started on January 1, 2022. This supports businesses now and provides the flexibility they will need for long-term planning

 

Ontario Moving to Modified Step 2

 

Time-limited measures needed to preserve hospital capacity as province continues to accelerate booster dose rollout
In response to recent trends that show an alarming increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is temporarily moving the province into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen with modifications that take into account the province’s successful vaccination efforts. These time-limited measures will help blunt transmission and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed as the province continues to accelerate its booster dose rollout.
As part of the province’s response to the Omicron variant, starting January 5, students will pivot to remote learning with free emergency child care planned for school-aged children of health care and other eligible frontline workers.
Evolving data is showing that while the Omicron variant is less severe, its high transmissibility has resulted in a larger number of hospital admissions relative to ICU admissions. Real-world experience and evidence in Ontario reveal that approximately one per cent of Omicron cases require hospital care. The rapid rise of Omicron cases, which may soon number in the hundreds of thousands, could result in the province’s hospital capacity becoming overwhelmed if further action isn’t taken to curb transmission.
These measures include:
  • Reducing social gathering limits to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
  • Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.
  • Requiring businesses and organizations to ensure employees work remotely unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site.
  • Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
  • Personal care services permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
  • Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
  • Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
  • Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.
  • Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
  • Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.
  • All publicly funded and private schools will move to remote learning starting January 5 until at least January 17, subject to public health trends and operational considerations.
  • School buildings would be permitted to open for child care operations, including emergency child care, to provide in-person instruction for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated remotely and for staff who are unable to deliver quality instruction from home.
In recognition of the impact the Omicron variant and additional public health measures have on small businesses, the government is expanding the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program. Eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity will receive rebate payments for a portion of the property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures. Eligible businesses required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs, while businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs.
A full list of eligible business types will be made available when applications for the program open later this month. To improve cash flows for Ontario businesses, effective January 1, 2022, the government is also providing up to $7.5 billion for a six-month interest- and penalty-free period for Ontario businesses to make payments for most provincially administered taxes, supporting businesses now and providing the flexibility they will need for long-term planning.
The government is also exploring options for providing further targeted and necessary supports for businesses and workers impacted by the province’s move into a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, including grants. The government will also continue to call on the federal government to come to table and help us support Ontario businesses and Ontario workers by allowing eligible businesses to defer HST and to enhance supports available to workers affected by current public health measures.
A full list of measures can be found in the news release.

Ontario to Require Proof of Vaccination in Select Settings

FAQ

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities.

This approach focuses on higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn and includes:

·    Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);

·    Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);

·     Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;

·    Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;

·    Sporting events;

·    Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments;

·    Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;

·    Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs;

·    Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).

 

An enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.

These mandatory requirements would not apply to outdoor settings where the risk of transmission is lower, including patios, with the exception of outdoor nightclub spaces given the risk associated with the setting. In addition, these requirements will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores, medical supplies and the like. Aligned with public health measures currently in place, indoor masking policies will continue to remain in place.

To view a provided Frequently Asked Questions document associated with this announcement, please click here:

Quick Facts

·    Individuals can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.

·    Ontarians who received their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine out of province should contact their local public health unit to record their information and receive proper documentation.

·    The province will continue to work with the federal government to ensure the integration and interoperability with a national vaccine passport for the purposes of international travel.

·    The government is continuing its last mile strategy to reach eligible individuals who have yet to receive a first or second dose.

·    To protect vulnerable patients and staff in settings where the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and the Delta variant is higher, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health is pausing the province’s exit from the Roadmap to Reopen and providing third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable populations. The CMOH is also making COVID-19 vaccination policies mandatory in higher-risk settings.

·     COVID-19 vaccines are currently available at over 3,150 locations across the province, including more than 2,500 pharmacies and more than 650 mass immunization clinics, hospitals, primary care settings and pop up and mobile clinics.

·    A key component of Ontario’s last mile strategy is getting vaccines to people, wherever they are located. If you need your first or second shot, keep an eye out for the new GO-VAXX mobile clinics.

For additional details, please read the full release below:

 

Read the media release

Step Three of Re-opening starts July 16

The Ontario government announced that the province will move into Step Three of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 16th, 2021.
Step Three of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of additional indoor services with larger numbers of people and restrictions in place.
This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 100 people with limited exceptions;
  • Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to 25 people;
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services permitted with physical distancing;
  • Indoor dining permitted with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect;
  • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open subject to a maximum 50 per cent capacity of the indoor space. Capacity for indoor spectators is 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is less. Capacity for outdoor spectators is 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less.
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces permitted to operate with physical distancing and other restrictions still in effect and capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people, (whichever is less);
  • Essential and non-essential retail with with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • Personal care services, including services requiring the removal of a face covering, with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres;
  • Museums, galleries, historic sites, aquariums, zoos, landmarks, botanical gardens, science centres, casinos/bingo halls, amusement parks, fairs and rural exhibitions, festivals, with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors;
  • Concert venues, cinemas, and theatres permitted to operate at:
  • up to 50 per cent capacity indoors or a maximum limit of 1,000 people for seated events (whichever is less)
  • up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum limit of 5,000 people for unseated events (whichever is less); and up to 75 per cent capacity outdoors or a maximum of 15,000 people for events with fixed seating (whichever is less).
  • Real estate open houses with capacity limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres; and
  • Indoor food or drink establishments where dance facilities are provided, including nightclubs and restobars, permitted up to 25 per cent capacity or up to a maximum limit of 250 people (whichever is less).
Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing requirements remain in place throughout Step Three. This is in alignment with the advice on personal public health measures issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, while also accounting for Ontario specific information and requirements. Face coverings will also be required in some outdoor public settings as well.
The province will remain in Step Three of the Roadmap for at least 21 days and until 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75 per cent have received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent of their population fully vaccinated.
Other key public health and health care indicators must also continue to remain stable. Upon meeting these thresholds, the vast majority of public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings, will be lifted.
Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan.

COVID-19 Business Support & Resources

The Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce is closely monitoring and assessing ongoing developments pertaining to COVID-19 as well as the impacts on Halton Hills business.

Our office is closed for visits at this time. Dedicated staff are all working remotely, around the clock to connect you to what you need.