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New COVID-19 Restrictions Announced to Limit Spread in Ontario

Published on
November 20, 2020

Today, Premier Doug Ford, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams announced further measures to limit community transmission of COVID-19. The province is moving certain public health unit regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. The decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health, and other health experts. These actions are necessary to keep schools open, maintain health system capacity, and protect the long-term care sector.

The following public health unit regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:


  • Toronto Public Health; and
  • Peel Public Health.


  • Durham Region Health Department; and
  • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services.


  • Huron Perth Public Health;
  • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit;
  • Southwestern Public Health; and
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.


  • Chatham-Kent Public Health;
  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit;
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health;
  • Peterborough Public Health; and
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods. After 28 days, the government will assess the impact of the public health measures and determine if the public health unit should remain in its current level or be moved to a different level. To support public health regions in enforcing these public health measures, the province is making additional enforcement mechanisms available. The details can be found here.

Lockdown Measures include:


  • Schools, before and after school programs, and child care will remain open; and
  • Post-secondary schools open for virtual learning with some limited exceptions for training that can only be provided in-person, such as clinical training or training related to a trade.


  • Restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments will only be able to provide takeout, drive-through and delivery. Indoor and outdoor dining services are prohibited.

Retail and Other Businesses

  • Retail permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only, with certain exceptions such as for supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, which will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity;
  • Personal care services closed;
  • Museums, cinemas, casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments closed; and
  • Manufacturing, agriculture, supply chain and most construction can continue.

Sports & Fitness

  • Gyms closed; and
  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, closed with limited exceptions.


  • No indoor organized public events or social gatherings except with members of the same household.
  • Individuals who live alone, including seniors, may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other person.
  • Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.

Any affected business owner with questions can call 1-855-216-3090 for clarification.

Supports for Business Affected by COVID-19 Public Health Measures

  • The province has doubled the support previously announced to $600 million for businesses required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in a public health unit categorized as Red-Control or Lockdown. This money is available to help with fixed costs like property tax and energy costs. A list of eligible business and instructions for applying can be found here.

Additionally, we would refer you to the federal government update to review business support measures announced by the Trudeau government. That update can be seen here.

Going Forward
Unlike the government decisions taken in March and April of this year, today’s lockdown announcement was not accompanied by a list of essential businesses that could continue to operate. We recognize that a number of our clients will not see their particular business category reflected in today’s announcement. If you are not certain if you can continue to operate, please contact your Sussex consultant and will endeavour to obtain more clarity for you as soon as possible.

We thank you for your continued confidence in Sussex. We are making every effort to help our clients get through these turbulent times. Please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

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