As of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, 14 January, Ontario declares its second 28-day COVID-19 Emergency. Here’s what it means to folks in the Valley, and where to find out more about what’s allowed and what’s not during the emergency.
The basics in brief:
- Stay at home EXCEPT for essential purposes (groceries, pharmacy, health care services, exercise, essential work)
- Employers must let you work from home if you can
- Outdoor organized public & social gatherings LIMITED to FIVE (5) people only
- Mask-wearing required indoors (for individuals required to wear masks) and recommended outdoors where physical distancing is less than 2 metres
- Restricted hours (7 am. to 8 p.m.) for non-essential retailers (hardware stores, alcohol, curbside pickup & delivery). EXCEPTIONS if you sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants for takeout/delivery.
- Non-essential construction further restricted (including below-grade construction)
- All enforcement and provincial offences officers, including the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors will be authorized to issue tickets for non-compliance with stay-at-home or mask-wearing orders, subject to fines and/or prosecution.
- Enforcement personnel authorized to temporarily close premises and disperse individuals in contravention of an order (including parks, houses)
Schools/Child Care centres
- Return to in-person instruction delayed to Feb.10 in Windsor-Essex, Peel Region, Toronto, York and Hamilton public health units.
- In-person learning requirements include:
- Masking for Grade 1-3 and requirements for outdoor mask-wearing
- Enhanced screening protocols
- Expanded targeted testing
- Child care centres for non-school aged children remain open; emergency child care for school aged children ends Jan.22 (in approved public health units)
- Educational materials and inspections will encourage compliance with public health guidance in break rooms, vehicles
- On-site inspections of long term care homes and retirement homes
- Employees infected with COVID-19 may be entitled to federally funded paid sick leave of up to $500 for two weeks. Workers can also access Canada’s Recovery Caregiver Benefit of up to $500 per week for up to 26 weeks if unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. Federal government is funding a temporary income support program that allows workers to take up to 10 days of leave related to COVID-19.