COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

Workplaces and Municipalities

Reopening Ontario – Fall 2021

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Workplaces and Vaccinations – Learn more

Safely Reopening Ontario and Managing COVID-19 for the Long-Term

The Province of Ontario is moving to gradually lift remaining public health and workplace safety measures with a plan to safely reopen Ontario and manage COVID-19 for the long-term. This process will take place into spring of 2022 based on key public health indicators.

Effective as of October 25th, 2021:

Ontario lifted capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination are required, such as:

  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments where dance facilities are not provided.
  • Facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities
  • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas.
  • Horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and similar venues.
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments.
  • Places where commercial film and television production takes place.

At this time, the government will also allow other settings to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination, including:

  • Real estate agencies, in respect of open houses hosted by the real estate agency.
  • Businesses that provide personal care services relating to the hair or body, including hair salons and barbershops, manicure and pedicure salons, aesthetician services, piercing services, tanning salons, spas and tattoo studios.
  • Outdoor recreational amenities, in respect of indoor clubhouses.
  • Photography studios and services, in respect of indoor areas.
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, in respect of indoor areas.
  • Amusement parks, in respect of indoor areas.
  • Fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals and similar events, in respect of indoor areas.
  • Businesses that provide tour and guide services, including guided hunting trips, tastings and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries, fishing charters, trail riding tours, walking tours and bicycle tours, in respect of indoor areas
  • Businesses that provide boat tours, if the business is otherwise permitted to operate under section 30 of Schedule 2.
  •  Marinas, boating clubs and other organizations that maintain docking facilities for members or patrons, in respect of indoor areas.

Locations where a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony takes place may also implement proof of vaccination requirements for services, rites, or ceremonies at the location.

This will not apply to settings where people receive medical care, food from grocery stores and medical supplies. In addition, the government intends to allow for greater capacity at organized public events such as Remembrance Day ceremonies and Santa Claus parades with more details coming in the near future.

The province has released further details on this reopening roadmap. Please read the full press release for details.

The information below applies to Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen and remains in effect.

In O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Step 3, every business or place is responsible for ensuring they are following all General Rules (outlined in Schedule 1)  in addition to the Specific Rules that are applicable to their sector (outlined in Schedule 2).

Mandatory public health measures that must continue for all businesses include the following:

  • Screening: active screening of all workers and essential visitors continues. Passive screening of all customers of businesses also continues, such as by posting signs so individuals can screen themselves. Some businesses are required to conduct active screening of customers. Screening is required even if staff or customers are fully vaccinated.
  • Masks: face coverings and personal protective equipment, including eye protection continues where indicated.
  • Physical distancing: is not required in the majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required or where settings that have opted-in to require proof of vaccination. For settings that do not require proof of vaccination, all persons must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres between themselves and others, with exceptions such as for caregivers and those within the same household
  • Capacity limits:  are lifted in the majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required or where settings have opted-in to require proof of vaccination. When opting-in to the proof of vaccination requirement, businesses must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states that proof of vaccination is required. For settings that do not require proof of vaccination, capacity limits remain and the business must continue to post signs stating the capacity limit at all entrances. Specific capacity limits are defined by sector.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting: ensure shared amenities, equipment and/or items are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
  • Safety Plans: all businesses must have COVID-19 workplace safety plans. Refer to O. Reg 364/20, Schedule 1, Section 3.3 for details.

For specific details on the above mandatory measures see O. Reg 364/20 Schedule 1 General Rules. Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Please note that when there are changes to COVID-19 public health measures, we share sector-specific guidance with the following sectors: Businesses; Restaurants & Food Establishments; Sports & Recreation; Personal Services Settings; Casinos, Bingo Halls and Gaming Establishments; Campgrounds; Places of Worship and Municipalities. To be added to our distribution list, please email: workplacewellness@county-lambton.on.ca 

Information Sections

COVID-19 Resources
Schools, Child Care & Camp Providers
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Ask a Question

Business-owners with questions are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

COVID-19 Resources

Outbreak Management

Screening Tools

Signs/Posters

COVID Safety Measures

Training Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

CAPACITY LIMITS: What are the capacity limits for different sectors, spaces, and events?

In Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, capacity limits are lifted in several high risk locations where proof of vaccination is required:

Meeting and event spaces:
● No Capacity Limits
● NOTE: If dancing takes place at the rented meeting or event space, regulations for dance facilities apply and must be followed.

Food and drink establishments
● No Capacity Limits

Food and drink establishments WITH dancing:
● Indoor: Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others and must not exceed 25% capacity or 250 persons (whichever is less). 
● Outdoor: 75% capacity or 5,000 persons (whichever is less).
● Seating: configure space so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass).
● NOTE: Any venue or event with dancing must follow the rules for dance facilities. 

The Province of Ontario announced that in the absence of concerning COVID-19 trends, capacity limits will be lifted at dance facilities (e.g. wedding receptions) on November 15, 2021.

Retail
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others.

Shopping Mall
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others (calculated based on the sum for each business in the mall). 

Personal care services
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others.
● If the personal care service decides to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements, capacity limits and physical distancing requirements can be lifted. For more information on opting-in, see the question below.

Businesses that provide teaching and instruction:
● Indoor: Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others.
and must not exceed 50% capacity or 1,000 persons (whichever is less).
● Outdoor: Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others.
and must not exceed 75% capacity or 15,000 persons (whichever is less).

Fitness training: 
● No capacity limits

Sport and recreation facilities
● No capacity limits

Indoor clubhouse at an outdoor recreational amenity
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others and must not exceed 50% capacity.
● If the indoor clubhouse decides to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements,  capacity limits and physical distancing requirements can be lifted. For more information on opting-in, see the question below.

Concert venues, theatres, cinemas:
● No capacity limits.

Horse racing tracks, car racing tracks or similar venues
● No capacity limits.

Commercial film and television production
● No capacity limits.

Museums and similar attractions; amusement parks; and fairs, rural exhibition, festivals
● Indoor: Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others and must not exceed 50% capacity. If at an indoor attraction, capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others and must not exceed 50% capacity of the attraction.
● Outdoor: 75% capacity. If at an outdoor attraction, 75% capacity of the attraction. 
● If the museum, amusement park, fair, rural exhibition or festival decides to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements, capacity limits and physical distancing requirements can be lifted. For more information on opting-in, see the question below.
● NOTE: If a concert or similar event occurs in this setting, it must follow the rules for such a space.

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
● No capacity limits

Tour and Guide Services
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others.
● If the tour and/or guide service decides to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements, capacity limits and physical distancing requirements can be lifted. For more information on opting-in, see the question below.

Boat Tours
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others and must not exceed 50% of the usual passenger capacity for the vessel.
● If the boat tour decides to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements, capacity limits and physical distancing requirements can be lifted. For more information on opting-in, see the question below.

Strip clubs
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others.
● Seating: configure space so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass).

The Province of Ontario announced that in the absence of concerning COVID-19 trends, capacity limits will be lifted at strip clubs on November 15, 2021.

Bathhouses, sex clubs
● Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others

The Province of Ontario announced that in the absence of concerning COVID-19 trends, capacity limits will be lifted at bathhouses and sex clubs on November 15, 2021.


Determining Capacity: 

● Outdoors: 75% capacity is determined by taking the total square metres of the area accessible to the public, dividing that number by 1.33, and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number.
● Indoors: 50% or 25% capacity is determined using the maximum occupant load of the business or facility (or part of a business or facility) as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
● Capacity limits cannot be combined (e.g., indoor and outdoor spaces for one event). In all cases, the lower capacity limits for an establishment/event must be followed (e.g., events that move from indoor to outdoor; if overall venue capacity and seated capacity differ; if establishment/event permits dancing). 

Physical distancing requirements for individuals:
● In places that are open to the public hat do not require proof of vaccination, individuals are required to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except from their caregiver or members of their household.
● Exceptions to this physical distancing requirement are for:
– Meeting or event spaces, 
– Sports and recreational fitness facilities, including dressing rooms, spectator areas, gyms and where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction,
– Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments (where dance facilities are not provided),
– Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments,
– Concert venues, theatres or cinemas,
– Horse racing tracks, car racing tracks or other similar venues, or
– Places where commercial film and television production takes place
– Businesses that choose to opt-in to the proof of vaccination requirement (and are permitted to do so by the provincial government) also qualify for exemption from capacity limits and physical distancing requirements.

NOTE: Mask wearing requirements continue to be required and are intended to be lifted March 28, 2022 in the absence of concerning trends in public health and health care.

CAPACITY LIMITS: What does my business or organization have to do to ‘opt-in’ to the proof of vaccination requirement? 

Businesses may choose to opt-in any day the business is open to the public and it must remain in effect for the duration of the day.  

EXAMPLE: A hair salon may choose to provide services with capacity limits to non-vaccinated patrons on Tuesdays and collect proof of vaccination from patrons for the rest of the week with no capacity limits or physical distancing in place. 

Businesses must post signs (see signs/posters in resources section) at all entrances to the premises in a conspicuous location visible to the public. This signage is to inform patrons that proof of vaccination is required in order to enter the premises.

For more information on requiring proof of vaccination, go to our Workplaces and Vaccinations page.

SCREENING: When and how am I required to screen workers and essential visitors?

Every workplace is required under the provincial regulations to actively screen every worker and volunteer before they enter the workplace. Screening is required even if workers are fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 worker and employee screening resource can be used to support this requirement.

Screening is a key component of the required for COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan. Please refer to Question 2 in this linked resource for additional information for businesses.

SCREENING: When and how am I required to screen my customers?

Every business is required under the provincial regulations to passively screen customers (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if they have COVID-19). Some businesses are required to conduct active screening of customers, including:

● Meeting and event spaces (indoor areas)
● Restaurants, bars (indoor dining)
● Food or drink establishments with dance facilities 
● Personal care services
● Personal fitness and training
● Sport and recreational facilities
● Business providing teaching and instruction
● Photography studios (indoor)
● Test driving vehicles (land or water)
● Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
● Strip clubs, bathhouses, sex clubs

Please Note: Screening is required even if persons are fully vaccinated. The following resources can be used to support this requirement:

COVID-19 customer screening
COVID-19 Signage Questions for Businesses and Organizations

For information on proof of vaccine required at certain businesses, see our Workplaces & Vaccination page.

WORKPLACE TESTING: When and how should employees be tested for COVID-19?

Based on the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance, testing criteria is as follows:

An individual presenting with at least one symptom or sign from the COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms should be considered for molecular (e.g., PCR) testing for COVID19.
 
An individual without symptoms should only be considered for PCR testing if they are considered high-risk,

● An individual without symptoms should only be considered for PCR testing if they are considered high-risk
● Employees are close contacts of confirmed positive case(s)
● Employees are part of Targeted Testing Group(s) as directed by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care, Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, or by local public health
● Employees are notified of an exposure from the COVID Alert App
● Employees are part of an outbreak investigation (at the direction of public health) 
 
In the above situations, Lambton Public Health will direct the testing and management process for employees identified as close contacts of a case. In some circumstances, testing of asymptomatic individuals is directed by a relevant Ministry, and these may or may not be eligible for testing at provincial assessment centres

Please note that rapid antigen testing is used for screening purposes only and should NOT be used for symptomatic individuals, individuals with known close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, or diagnosis of acute COVID-19 infection in symptomatic individuals or individuals with known close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

Lambton Public Health discourages any requirement for proof of a negative test or medical notes that rule out COVID-19 for employees returning to work. LPH does not currently have the capacity to provide documentation for employees requiring proof of a negative test.

WORKPLACE TESTING: Can my workplace implement private COVID-19 testing with employees?

Lambton Public Health (LPH) asks workplaces who choose to implement private COVID-19 testing for staff (using either rapid or PCR testing) to do so in  consultation with us.

Under the Ontario Regulation 135/18 and amendments under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, any suspected or confirmed cases of the diseases of public health significance (including COVID-19) must be reported to the local Medical Officer of Health. Therefore, any positive or suspected case of COVID-19 must be reported immediately to Lambton Public Health. Timely reporting of communicable diseases is essential for their control.

Please note: if rapid testing is being used, any positive results will need to be followed up with PCR testing as per the COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance for rapid antigen screening.

WORKPLACE TESTING: How do I access free rapid testing for my workplace?

The StaySafe™ Lambton Rapid Antigen Screening Program provides free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses, with 150 employees or less. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and in the community. Visit Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Covid Resources Page for more information.

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP) provides free rapid antigen test kits to high-risk communities, organizations and essential workplaces.The application process is open to all organizations that are allowed to be open under current public health measures, and require individuals to be physically present. The program requires participants to:

● Notify their Local Public Health Unit before testing begins
● Agree to the program terms and conditions
● Review onboarding and training materials
● Order free test kits from the province of Ontario
● Report de-identified testing data to the province each week
● Properly handle and dispose of used test kits

Please note: These programs are only for screening purposes and do not apply to workplace vaccination policies that require unvaccinated employees to get tested on a regular basis. Workplace vaccination policies should outline how employees can retrieve the appropriate tests if they choose to remain unvaccinated, most of which are purchased from a local pharmacy at the employee’s own expense.

For more information on Workplace Vaccination Policies, click here

WORKPLACE TESTING: How frequently should I require my employees to complete a rapid antigen point-of-care test?

Based on the Ministry of Health Antigen Screening Guidance, the following is the recommended:
● Rapid antigen point-of-care testing (or antigen POCT) is for screening purposes only and only appropriate for use with asymptomatic individuals.
● Antigen POCT is generally not recommended for individuals who are fully vaccinated.
● There is inadequate evidence around the optimal frequency of antigen POCT, however screening may be performed at least one time per week and up to 2-3 times per week for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

The frequency should be determined by a review of the risks of transmission associated within your workplace. For environments that are higher risk such as significant points of close, frequent and prolonged contacts between employees and/or with members of the public, higher frequency of antigen POCT such as three times a week may be indicated. If your risk analysis determines that 2 -3 times per week testing is indicated, ensure that the interval of testing is spaced out evenly and consistently within a seven day period. 

WORKPLACE TESTING: How do I properly dispose of waste generated from on-site workplace used rapid antigen screening programs? 

Waste generated from on-site workplace rapid antigen screening programs is considered a hazardous waste under the Environmental Protection Act. Waste from these tests is exempt from collection, storage and transportation requirements as long as the waste is disposed of in Ontario. This waste must still be disposed of at a waste facility approved to handle biomedical waste.

In Lambton County, waste generated from on-site workplace rapid antigen screening must always be disposed of at a waste facility approved to handle biomedical. 

The local program by the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce includes disposal. They offer a biohazard bag with their distributed kits and provide disposal for those kits.

If you are not part of this program, Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce may still be able to support disposal depending on the size of your organization. Please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 519-335-2400 to confirm their ability to dispose of waste for your organization.  
 
The provincial program provides information for approved facilities for the disposal of biomedical waste, including:
Daniels Sharpsmart Canada Limited
Stericycle, ULC Note: this facility is based in Scarborough and has been known to frequent the area
Octagon Medical Services Ltd.
 
ECS Cares is another facility that is based in Barrie and has been known to collect and properly dispose of rapid antigen screening waste in Lambton County.

WORKPLACE TESTING: How do I properly dispose of waste generated from at-home rapid antigen screening?

When completing rapid antigen screening at-home, the regulatory requirements for managing the hazardous waste under the Environmental Protection Act do not apply. 

In Lambton County, waste generated from at-home rapid antigen screening in all municipalities can be disposed of in household garbage and by following the disposal instructions included on the rapid antigen screening test kit.  

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: What are my obligations as an employer to meet the requirements for the Ontario regulations on masks/face coverings?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area, with limited exemptions (refer to FAQ on mask exemptions).

The person responsible for a business or organization shall ensure that every person who performs work for the business or organization and whose mask or face covering is temporarily removed to consume food or drink under sub clause (4) (i) (iii) is separated from every other person by,
(a) a distance of at least two metres; or
(b) plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Eye protection (e.g. goggles/faceshield) is also required if a worker is required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering when that person is in an indoor area and not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Further, businesses or places must not permit patrons to line up inside the businesses or place unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons and wearing a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless they are entitled to an exception set out in the regulation. 

Patrons must not line up or congregate outside of the business or place unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons.

In addition, employers must be aware of the exemptions to mask wearing. Please see FAQ on exemptions.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: What are the exemptions to wearing masks or face coverings in the workplace?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, an employee is exempt from wearing a mask in indoor spaces when:
● Performing or rehearsing in a film or television production or in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance.
● They have a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering.
● They are unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person.
● Needing to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area:
◦ To receive services that require the removal of their mask or face covering,
◦ To engage in an athletic or fitness activity,
◦ To consume food or drink,
◦ Or necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
● Being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;
● Being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code; or
● Performing work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.

Please note: In situations where an employee is required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering (indoors) and is not separated from the person by an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglas) the employee must also wear protective eyewear (e.g. goggles, faceshield).

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: Can I ask my employee for documentation for an exemption from wearing a mask?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, it is not necessary for a person to present evidence to the person responsible for a business or place that they are entitled to any of the exceptions set out in the regulation. See FAQ on exemptions.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: When do masks need to be worn on the premises of a restaurant?

As outlined in O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Step 3:
• see Schedule 1, Section 2: General Compliance
• see Schedule 1, Section 3.1: Requirements that apply to individuals
• see Schedule 1, Section 3.2: Physical distancing and masks or face coverings in lines, etc.
 
Workers and patrons are required to wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin, when they are in indoor areas of the premises, with limited exemptions (refer to FAQ on mask exemptions).

Additionally, where dance is permitted at an establishment/venue all persons dancing must wear a mask/face covering if they cannot maintain 2 meters physical distance from every other person outside of their household.
 
FOR BUSINESSES AND WORKERS
Although in the outdoor areas of the premises a face covering is not required, it is still highly recommended. The onus is on the person responsible for the business and it is in their best interest to ensure the safety of workers and patrons and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Additional considerations for businesses to be aware of include: 
• Workers and patrons must wear a face covering while in any indoor public area. 
Proper use of face coverings requires workers to use hand sanitizer for 15 seconds before putting on and taking off a face covering or if  touching a face covering (e.g. when moving between indoor/outdoor areas). Wearing a face covering at all times will reduce the amount of time required to sanitize hands.
• Masks/Face coverings worn on outdoor patios will assist in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (and outbreaks), especially when serving food/ drinks in close proximity to patrons who are not wearing a mask and may not be vaccinated.
• All businesses that are open are required to prepare and make available a COVID-19 workplace safety plan. A safety plan describes the measures and procedures that the business is or will implement to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19, including the use of face coverings (refer to FAQ on safety plan and/or see Schedule 1, Section 3.3)
 
FOR PATRONS
Although in the outdoor areas of the premises a face covering is not required, it is encouraged that whenever individuals are out in the community that they: 
• Keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. 
•Wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres.
 
A face covering becomes required during any period in which a person is in an indoor area of the premises, except once seated at their table in which the mask may be temporarily removed to consume food or drink. As persons move within areas of the establishment (e.g. from their table to the washroom) and between indoor and outdoor areas, they remove or reapply personal protective equipment they need to ensure proper handling. This includes washing your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering.
 
Further, a business that is open must ensure that when patrons are lining up or congregating that they:
• Indoor: maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons (unless an exception to physical distancing applies) and wear a face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin.
• Outdoor: maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups (unless an exception to physical distancing applies).

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: When are masks required outdoors?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, it is required to wear a mask or face covering outdoors when attending/viewing an event such as a concert, performance or movie or when dancing. This means for such an event/activity in the outdoor areas of restaurants/food establishments with dancing, sports and rec facilities, concert venues, theatres, cinemas, and racing venues. It also includes if a concert, event, performance or movie is held at another outdoor venue such as a museum or similar attraction, amusement park, or fair, rural exhibition, or festival.

In the above outdoor situations and venues, every patron must wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless:
● They are entitled to an exception set out in Schedule 1, Section 2 (4).
● They are seated with members of their own household only, and every member of the household is seated at least two metres from every person outside their household.
● They are temporarily removing their mask to consume food or drink.

POSITIVE TEST RESULTS: My employee tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

Please refer to Question 4 of the provincial COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan 
To support decision making for symptomatic employees refer to this guide.

OUTBREAK MANAGEMENT: What determines a workplace outbreak and what process takes place?

Workplace outbreaks: Declared when two or more employees test positive for COVID-19 within a reasonable time frame to suspect transmission in the workplace. 

Public Health will isolate cases, test and isolate those who have been exposed, and implement changes to reduce risk of transmission. Workplaces will only be named if public notification will help to identify additional close contacts that cannot be determined through contact tracing.
 
While we know it can be concerning to learn about new cases or outbreaks in the community we are encouraging everyone to follow these tips to protect themselves.

SELF-ISOLATION AND RETURN TO WORK: What are the steps to take for an employee to return to work after self-isolating?

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent outbreaks, refer to the Ontario Self-Isolation and Return to Work guidance to understand when employees can return to work.

SELF-ISOLATION AND RETURN TO WORK: Does an employee need a negative COVID test to return to work if they are home with a sick child with symptoms and/or is waiting to be tested?

NOT FULLY immunized employees:
The employee must stay home until the sick child gets a negative COVID-19 test result, is cleared by their local public health unit, or is diagnosed with another illness. However, having a child who is home sick from school (i.e. staying at home due to symptoms and required to be tested) is not an indication for required testing for the employee. Employees should only be tested if they are symptomatic themselves or if they have been contacted by Lambton Public Health as a close contact of a positive case.

FULLY immunized employees:
The fully immunized and previously positive asymptomatic employees who are parents of household members of a symptomatic person are not required to stay at home until the symptomatic individual tests negative.

CONCERNS & COMPLAINTS: I have health and safety concerns about my workplace. What are my next steps?

If you have health and safety concerns at your workplace you first must report them to your supervisor. You may also wish to contact your health and safety representative/ committee.  Employees have the right to refuse work* that they believe is unsafe. Follow the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development procedure for work refusal.  If your concerns continue you can file a complaint with the Ministry by calling toll-free at 1-877-202-0008.

Some businesses, including all those operating during a lockdown or shutdown, must have a written COVID-19 safety plan that outlines how to keep employees safe and what to do in the event of an outbreak.  This safety plan must be made available if requested and should be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace. Review your workplace safety plan to understand what safety precautions and protocols are in place at your workplace.  


*(Note: some exceptions include where a work refusal would endanger the life, health and safety of another person and would involve persons such as first responders, correction services, certain healthcare personnel etc.).

COVID-19 and workplace health and safety – Ontario Ministry of Labour
Right to Refuse Work – Ontario Ministry of Labour
Human Rights Questions and Answers – Ontario Human Rights Commission

CONCERNS & COMPLAINTS: Who do I contact about a workplace not following COVID-19 rules?

For contact information please visit the Public Health and Enforcement Calls webpage.

SAFETY PLAN: What businesses must develop a safety plan and what are the requirements for these?

All businesses open are required to prepare and make available a COVID-19 safety plan. A copy of the plan shall be made available to any person for review upon request, and be posted where it would come to the attention of individuals working in or attending the business.  For specific details see O. Reg 364/20: Schedule 1, Section 3.3.
 
• the safety plan is prepared and made available, that complies with the  requirement no later than seven days after the requirement first applies
• the safety plan shall describe the measures and procedures which have been implemented or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19.
• the safety plan shall describe how the requirements of provincially mandated orders will be implemented in the location including screening, physical distancing, masks or face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects, and the wearing of personal protective equipment.
• the safety plan shall be in writing and shall be made available to any person for review on request.
• a copy of the safety plan is posted in a conspicuous place where it is most likely to come to the attention of individuals working in or attending the location.

COMMUNITY: What are the requirements for holding events in a rented venue (i.e., event space, community hall, legions, cultural halls, etc.)?

Based on the Provincial regulations for Step 3, there are different measures that you are required to follow depending on the nature of the use of the hall.

If you are…
Operating as a food and drink establishment only and not renting out the space for meetings or events: Required to follow the Restaurant and bars measures as outlined in Schedule 2, Section 1 of the O. Reg 364/20.

Renting out your space for meetings or events (such as weddings, celebrations, conferences): Required to follow the meeting and event spaces measures as outlined in Schedule 1, Section 4 of the O. Reg 364/20

Selling or serving food at these meetings/events: Required to also follow the restaurant and food premise measures as outlined in Schedule 2, Section 1 of the O. Reg 364/20

Allowing dancing at the event: Required to follow the measures outlined for food or drink establishments with dancing facilities as outlined in Schedule 2, Section 2 of the O. Reg 364/20.

Please refer to each applicable section of the regulations for other required measures.
 
Capacity Limits:

For capacity limits, see FAQ: “CAPACITY LIMITS: What are the capacity limits for different sectors, spaces, and events?”

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 For all businesses, mandatory measures must be implemented as described on the Workplace and Municipal COVID-19 webpage. This includes:

Entertainment
●Live performances are permitted. If live entertainment is performed, the performers must maintain a physical distance from spectators by at least two metres or be separated by an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass).
● As previously mentioned, if/when there is dancing, the space becomes a “Food or drink establishment with dance facilities” and must follow the restrictions outlined in Schedule 2, Section 2. This includes reduced indoor capacity (i.e., 25% capacity or 250 persons, whichever is less). 

Responsibilities of the business or place
● Actively screen individuals before they enter the indoor premise of the business or place. 
● Record the name and contact information of every person who attends, and maintain the records for a period of at least one month. Only disclose the records to Lambton Public Health to support case and contact tracing.

Masks
● Masks are required indoors (with limited exemptions, see FAQ on mask exemptions).
● When dancing, masks are required indoors and outdoors (with limited exemptions, see FAQ on mask exemptions).

For information on the proof of vaccination requirement, please see the Workplaces & Vaccination webpage.

COMMUNITY: What do I need to know to plan an event?

What you need to know when planning an outdoor event will vary depending on the type of outdoor event it is classified as. Ontario Regulation 364/20 includes specific rules and regulations for multiple types of outdoor events, such as: 

● An social gathering or public event  (Schedule 3, section 1)
● An event at a rented venue (see above FAQ)
● Fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals (Schedule 2, section 28)
● Concerts, performances, or movies  (Schedule 2, section 22)

The following outlines general requirements if you plan on running an event based on Step 3 regulations. There may be other measures required if you have other sectors/events happening within one main event. You are encouraged to reach out to the Workplace COVID-19 Liaison Team for specific guidance and support in ensuring your event runs safely. 

Social gatherings or organized public events:
Capacity Limits

Social gatherings and organized public events are permitted up to 25 people indoors or 100 people outdoors.

A social gathering is when a group of people are getting together in a setting that is usually not organized or overseen by a business or organization. Examples: a wedding held at a private dwelling, a private birthday party in the park, or get-togethers with friends in your home. If a business/organization is NOT responsible for the gathering, a safety plan is not required. Physical distancing is recommended, or masking when distancing is not possible. It is important to stress that anyone that is not feeling well should not attend.

An organized public event is an event that is organized and/or overseen by a business or organization and open to the public (and not otherwise defined in the regulations). As there is a business or organization responsible for the event, there are responsibilities they are required to comply with (outlined in O. Reg 364/20, Schedule 1). Examples: a community fundraiser, an outdoor market, or a parade.

NOTE: In addition to COVID-19 requirements, community special events may also need to follow guidance if food is being served and/or personal services are provided. Please see our Community Special Events page for more information and application forms.

Screening
If a business/organization is responsible for the gathering or event, the person responsible must:
Post signs at all entrances to the premises of the business or organization, in a conspicuous location visible to the public, that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises; and
Actively screen every person who works at the business or organization before they enter the premises of the business or organization.

Masks/Face Coverings
In indoor places open to the public, masks are required. Masks are recommended outdoors in situations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

Physical Distancing 
In indoor places open to the public, individuals are required to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except from their caregiver or members of their household.

Safety Plan
If a business/organization is responsible for the gathering or event, the person responsible must prepare and make available a COVID-19 safety plan.

Fair, rural exhibitions/festivals:
Capacity Limits
For capacity limits, see FAQ “CAPACITY LIMITS: What are the capacity limits for different sectors, spaces, and events?”

Signage
The person responsible for the event must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which the event is permitted to operate.

Screening
The person responsible for the event must:

● Post signs at all entrances to the premises of the business or organization, in a conspicuous location visible to the public, that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises; and
● Actively screening every person who works at the business or organization before they enter the premises of the business or organization.

Masks/Face Coverings
WhIn indoor places open to the public, masks are required. Masks are recommended outdoors in situations where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

Physical Distancing 
In indoor places open to the public, individuals are required to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except from their caregiver or members of their household. 
Please note: physical distancing does not apply to fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals if the event chooses to opt-in to the proof of vaccination requirement.

Safety Plan
The person responsible for the event must prepare and make available a COVID-19 safety plan.

Proof of Vaccination
At this time, the government will allow fairs, rural exhibitions and festivals to choose to opt-in to require proof of vaccination. Doing so will lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements in these settings. 

For information on the proof of vaccination requirement, please see the Workplaces & Vaccination webpage. 

Concerts, performances or movies:
Capacity Limits
For capacity limits, see FAQ “CAPACITY LIMITS: What are the capacity limits for different sectors, spaces, and events?”

Screening
The person responsible for the event must:

● Post signs at all entrances to the premises of the business or organization, in a conspicuous location visible to the public, that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises; and
● Actively screening every person who works at the business or organization before they enter the premises of the business or organization.

Masks/Face Coverings
Every member of the public at a concert, event, performance or movie (indoor OR outdoor) must wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless they are exempt. Exemptions include:
● Temporarily removing a mask to consume food/drink
● Seating with members of one’s own household only, and every member of the household is seated at least two metres from every person outside their household.

Physical Distancing 
Physical distancing is not required. 

Reservation
A reservation is required to attend a seated concert, event, performance or movie within a concert venue, theatre or cinema.

Proof of Vaccination
Proof of vaccination is required. For information on the proof of vaccination requirement, please see the Workplaces & Vaccination webpage. 

COMMUNITY: What are the requirements for services, gatherings and activities for a place of worship?

Faith organizations are responsible for ensuring they are following all general rules for Step 3 (see O. Reg. 364/20 Schedule 1) in addition to applicable gathering limits (see O. Reg. 364/20 Schedule 3). 

Key Highlights:

Screening: Active screening is required for all staff and volunteers. Passive screening is required by everyone: Post signs in a conspicuous location at all entrances (indoors/outdoors) that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises. Anyone that is not feeling well must not enter the premises.

Masking: Face coverings are required while indoors.

Physical Distancing: Physical distancing of 2 metres is required between persons outside one’s immediate household.

COVID-19 Safety Plan: Prepare and make available a safety plan to any person for review on request.

Proof of Vaccination: Locations where a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony takes place may also choose to opt-in to implement proof of vaccination requirements for services, rites, or ceremonies at the location. For information on the proof of vaccination requirement, please see the Workplaces & Vaccination webpage. 

Capacity Limits:
● For religious services, rites and ceremonies at a place of worship (includes wedding/ funeral services): Capacity is limited to the number of people that can maintain a distance of at least two metres from all others.  Unless, the religious service, rite and/or ceremony decides to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
● For social gatherings at a place of worship (includes children’s activities, bible study, choir practice, coffee/tea after service, social dinners): Limited to up to 25 people indoors or up to 100 people outdoors. 
● For events at a place of worship (includes wedding reception, concerts): The place of worship is considered an event space, and must follow all rules for such a space (see O. Reg. 364/20 Schedule 1, Section 4). There is no capacity limit. Proof of vaccination, active screening and contact tracing is required. 
● For any religious service, gathering, activity, and so forth at a rented meeting or event space: Regardless of the activity, it is considered a meeting or event space and must follow all rules for such a space (see O. Reg. 364/20 Schedule 1, Section 4). There is no capacity limit. Proof of vaccination, active screening and contact tracing is required. 

Additional precautions:
● Persons that are singing must be separated from spectators by at least two metres or by an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass). Indoor singing by parishioners is not recommended.
● Contact tracing is strongly recommended. Maintain contact information for every person attending an indoor service for a period of 30 days. 

Please note, the above measures apply to everyone, including individuals who are fully vaccinated. For information on the proof of vaccination requirement, please see the Workplaces & Vaccination webpage. 

 

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