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COVID-19 - Enforcement & Closures


COVID 19 Update Header Photo, Blue with images of microorganisims and icons of hand washing, social distancing and staying home.

Enforcement of Mandatory Closures & Restrictions


Stay-At-Home Order Extended and Enhanced Public Health Measures
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government has extended the provincial declaration of emergency and the Stay-At-Home Order (O.Reg 265/21) for an additional two weeks, until May 20, 2021.
 
The current Stay-at-Home order requires all individuals to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as

  • Going to the grocery store or pharmacy
  • Accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated)
  • Outdoor exercise
  • For work that cannot be done remotely

What this means for businesses
As of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday April 17, 2021, the Ontario Government will implement the following public health and workplace safety measures:
 

  • prohibiting social gatherings and organized public events, except for members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone,
  • close all non-essential workplaces in the construction sector,
  • reduce capacity limits to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted, 
  • close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds.


In addition, effective Monday, April 19, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., the government is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions, are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Drive-in services will be permitted.

Enforcement
Effective Saturday, April 17, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., the Ontario Government is strengthening enforcement by authorizing police officers and other provincial offences officers permission to request any individual to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence. In addition, police officers, special constables and First Nation Constables will have the authority to stop vehicles to inquire about an individual’s reasons for leaving their home.

This additional enforcement will only be in effect during the Stay-at-Home order and exclusively to enforce the Stay-at-Home order.
 
Travel
The Ontario Government has also imposed new interprovincial travel restrictions from the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec, with the exception of purposes such as work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights.
 
To learn more, visit https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/61192/ontario-strengthens-enforcement-of-stay-at-home-order

Business owners with questions can call Ontario's Stop the Spread Business Info Line at 1-888-444-3659.

FAQs

WHO TO CALL
Who do I call if my neighbours are having a gathering? 

Contact your Municipal By-Law Department 905.871.1600 x5216 or after-hours Niagara Region at 905.984.3690 & 1.877.552.5579.

Who do I call if COVID-19 safety protocols are not being followed at an essential business? 
Contact your Municipal By-Law Department 905.871.1600 x5216 or after-hours Niagara Region at 905.984.3690 & 1.877.552.5579.

Who do I call if employers or employees in a workplace are not following public health guidelines?
Contact the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

GATHERINGS AND EVENTS
Can I have visitors over? 

No, unless you live alone.  It is illegal to gather indoors or outdoors with anyone you do not live with, unless you live alone, then you can have contact with only one household other than your own.

Can we gather outside? 
No, unless you all reside in the same household.  Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with) and stay at least 2 metres apart from everyone else.

My wedding is booked at a venue, am I still allowed to have my reception? 
No.  Meetings and event spaces are closed.

Can I still have my wedding? 
Yes, but the Town is not currently issuing marriage licences.  Religious services rites or ceremonies are still permitted to proceed.  Maximum 10 persons in total including officiant(s), and where physical distancing can be maintained from those outside of their household.  No gatherings permitted other than those who reside in the same household outside the service.

Are funeral services still being provided?  
Yes.  Maximum 10 persons in total including officiant(s) and where physical distancing can be maintained from those outside of their household.  No gatherings permitted other than those who reside in the same household outside the service.

BUSINESSES
Who is responsible for ensuring patrons at a business are wearing masks?
Employees, customers, and corporations are all responsible for ensuring face coverings are worn indoors, unless there is an exemption.  Employees, customers, and corporations may be susceptible to fines for failing to ensure compliance with a regulation passed the Reopening Ontario Act.

Can I still get my hair cut?
No.  Personal care services are closed

Can I go to the Gym? 
No.  Fitness facilities are closed.

Get I get my pet groomed? 
Yes.  Public Health guidelines and restrictions apply.

Can I go out for indoors or outdoors (patio) meals? 
No.  Restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments are only permitted to offer take-out, drive-through, or delivery service.  Over-the-counter alcohol sales permitted.

What time does a business have to close? 
If a business is permitted to open, it can open no earlier than 7am, and must close no later than 8pm.  Deliveries of goods to patrons no earlier than 6am and no later than 9pm.

My business is permitted a 25% store capacity.  How would I calculate that?
The maximum number of persons permitted in a business or facility that is operating at 25 per cent capacity is determined by taking the total square metres of floor space accessible to the public in the business or facility, not including shelving and store fixtures, dividing that number by 8 and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number

What about domestic services?
Domestic services may only be provided that support children, seniors or vulnerable persons.  This includes housekeeping, cooking, indoor and outdoor cleaning and maintenance services.

CONSTRUCTION
Can I hire a contractor for home renovations and projects? 

Yes.  Residential construction projects and related activities are still permitted.

SHORT TERM RENTALS
Can I rent out my short-term rental?
 
Yes, but with restrictions.  Short-term rentals are only permitted for person(s) in need of housing.  By-law enforcement officers may ask for documentation supporting that the rental is for essential housing.  Social gathering restrictions still apply.

RECREATION
Can I leave my house and go for a walk?

Yes.  Under the Stay-At-Home Order exercise is permitted.  Avoid contact with all others outside of your household.

Can I launch my boat at a Town boat launch?
No.  The Town’s boat launch is currently closed.  

What about skate parks, BMX parks, basketball courts, golf courses, tennis courts, and soccer fields? All closed.

What about recreation amenities like playgrounds, play structures and equipment? Playgrounds, play structures and equipment are open; please continue to follow public health guidelines.  

Are outdoor parks open?
Yes.  Outdoor parks and recreational areas are open for the purposes of walking through only.  All picnic areas and similar gathering sites are closed.  Park bench use is permitted.  Physical distancing measures from those outside your household still apply.

MOVING
Can I still move?

Yes.  Moving is still permitted under the Stay-At-Home Order.

ENFORCEMENT
Can a Police Officer or a Municipal By-law Enforcement Officer close a premise?  

Yes.  Under the provincial emergency, Police Officers and By-law Officers have the authority to disperse crowds indoors as well as outdoors, and may order that the premise be temporarily closed if they have reasonable grounds to believe that an organized public event or other gathering is occurring at the premise, and that the number of people in attendance exceeds the number permitted, but does not apply to individuals who reside in the premise.

Am I required to identify myself to a Police Officer or Municipal By-law Officer?
Yes.  Under the provincial emergency, individuals have a duty to identify when a Police Officer or By-law Officer has reasonable and probably grounds that an offence under EMCPA or ROA has been committed, and it is an offence for failing to provide identity information.

Can a Police Officer or Municipal By-law Officer stop me and ask my reason for being out of my house?
Yes, with limitations.  Under the current emergency orders, individuals are required to provide the purpose for being out of their residence and the address where they currently reside, if a Police Officer or By-law Officer suspect that the individual may be participating in a prohibited gathering, and believes that it is in the public interest to do so.

Who to Call

  • During normal business hours, after hours and weekends, concerns around enforcement of COVID 19 emergency orders should be directed to the Town of Fort Erie at 905-871-1600 Ext 5216 or submit an online form.
  • Do not call 911.
  • For all COVID 19 health matters and/or inquiries, please call the Public Health hotline at 905-688-8248 or 1 (888) 505-6074 (press option 7 then follow the prompts).