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Effective Wednesday, September 22, 2021, the Government of Ontario will require proof of vaccination status to access:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
  • Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment)

 

For more information about verification of vaccine status and how this applies to individuals and owners/operators of public settings where proof of vaccine status is applicable, please review the New Requirement for Proof of Vaccination in Certain Settings: Frequently Asked Questions backgrounder from the Office of the Premier of Ontario.

The following guidance is intended to help with clarification of the public health measures Reopening Ontario Act for restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments.

Owners and operators of restaurants, bars, and food and drink establishments must ensure that all required COVID-19 public health measures are in place to keep staff and visitors safe, while also ensuring compliance with the requirements of Ontario Regulation 493/17: Food Premises, and other applicable legislation, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Visit WECHU’s Provincial Pandemic Status page for updates on Windsor-Essex’s status level and a summary of current provincial requirements and local enhanced measures.

Enhanced Local Measures & Instructions

The Medical Officer of Health’s Letter of Instruction (effective September 7, 2021) to control the spread of COVID-19 in our community provides additional measures for restaurants, bars, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, such as:

  • Limit hours of operation to 12 am (i.e., midnight)
  • Ensure all employees wear both a mask and eye protection (i.e. safety goggles, face shield) at all times when working both indoors and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained or when a barrier is not in place
  • For food or drink establishments with Dance Facilities, prohibit dancing indoors, except where dancing is part of employment and 2 metres can be maintained.

The Medical Officer of Health’s Workplace Letter of Instruction provides additional measures that employers can implement to keep employees and customers safe, such as:

  • Providing workers with appropriate personal protective equipment if the work environment cannot be altered to allow the required 2 metres (6 feet) of physical distancing at all times;
  • In the circumstance that employees are within a 2 metres (6 feet) distance of each other or a customer that isn’t masked (e.g., a server in a restaurant tending to those eating without masks), a face shield or eye protection is also required.

Three-Step Roadmap

  • Outdoor dining permitted with 4 people per table (exceptions for larger households greater than 4 people, a member of up to one other household who lives alone, or a caregiver for either household) and other restrictions
  • The establishment must actively screen any dine-in patrons before they enter the premises of the establishment.
  • Strip clubs are permitted to operate as a restaurant in alignment with restaurant restrictions
  • Outdoor dining with 6 people per table and other restrictions, unless everyone seated at the table is:
    • a member of the same household,
    • a member of one other household who lives alone, or
    • a caregiver for any member of either household
  • The total number of patrons permitted to be seated outdoors at the establishment must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person at the establishment.
  • No patron shall dance at the establishment
  • Strip clubs are permitted to operate as a restaurant in alignment with restaurant restrictions
  • No indoor dining may be provided
  • No buffet-style service may be provided
  • Patrons must be seated at all times in any area of the establishment in which food or drink is permitted except while:
    • entering the area and while moving to their table,
    • placing or picking up an order,
    • paying for an order,
    • exiting the area,
    • going to or returning from a washroom,
    • singing or performing music, or
    • where necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
  • The establishment must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by:
    • a distance of at least two metres, or
    • plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • The person responsible for the establishment must:
    • record the name and contact information of every patron that enters an area of the establishment, unless the patron temporarily enters the area to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order,
    • maintain the records for a period of at least one month, and
    • only disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act or as otherwise required by law.

Enhanced Local Measures & Instructions

The Medical Officer of Health’s Workplace Letter of Instruction provides additional measures that employers can implement to keep employees and customers safe, such as:

  • Providing workers with appropriate personal protective equipment if the work environment cannot be altered to allow the required 2 metres (6 feet) of physical distancing at all times;
  • In the circumstance that employees are within a 2 metres (6 feet) distance of each other or a customer that isn’t masked (e.g., a server in a restaurant tending to those eating without masks), a face shield or eye protection is also required.

Restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands, and other food or drink establishments may open:

  • If the total number of patrons permitted to be seated at the establishment, whether indoors or outdoors, must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person at the establishment
  • If the food and drink establishment is operating during a time when patrons are permitted to make use of the dance facilities, then the capacity limits of a food and drink establishment with a dance facility now applies (see below)
  • With no limits on the number of people per table
  • With buffets permitted

Food or drink establishments with dance facilities, including nightclubs, restoclubs and other similar establishments, may open if they comply with the following conditions:

  • In the case of an indoor establishment, the total number of members of the public permitted to be in the establishment at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the establishment and in any event may not exceed 25% capacity or 250 persons, whichever is less
  • In the case of an outdoor establishment, the total number of members of the public permitted to be at the establishment at any one time may not exceed 75% capacity or 5,000 persons, whichever is less.

In addition to the requirements outlined above, all food or drink establishments must:

  • Be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres, plexiglass, or some other impermeable barrier
  • Post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which the establishment is permitted to operate
  • Actively screen dine-in patrons before they enter the establishment
  • Record the name and contact information of every patron that enters an area of the establishment, unless the patron temporarily enters the area to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order,
  • Maintain the records for a period of at least one month, and
  • Only disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request.
  • Prepare a safety plan

Capacity Limits

The person responsible for a place of business or facility that is open to the public shall limit the number of persons in the place of business or facility so that:

  • Members of the public are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the business or facility; and
  • The total number of members of the public in the business or facility at any one time does not exceed the allowable capacity limit.

All businesses or facilities that engage in retail sales to the public must post a sign in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity under which they are permitted to operate.

Determining Capacity Limits:

  • To calculate 75% capacity of an outdoor setting, divide the total square metres of area accessible to the public (not including shelving and store fixtures) by 1.33 and round the result down to the nearest whole number.
  • To calculate 50% capacity of an indoor setting, take 50% of the maximum occupant load of the business or facility, or part of a business or facility, as applicable, as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
  • To calculate 25% capacity of an indoor setting, take 25% of the maximum occupant load of the business or facility, or part of a business or facility, as applicable, as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.

Other Requirements

The person responsible for a business or place that is open shall ensure that if an outdoor area of the business or place is:

  • Covered by a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other element, at least two full sides of the entire outdoor area are open to the outdoors and are not substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers; and
  • Equipped with a retractable roof and the roof is retracted, at least one full side of the outdoor area is open to the outdoors and is not substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.

Curbside Pick-Up & Delivery

All retail business are encouraged to use remote interactions by:

  • Providing pre-pay options for the customers either online or over the phone (i.e., accept cashless no touch methods of payment).
  • Establishing a process to minimize the amount of time needed to complete the curbside transaction by:
    • Pre-scheduling pick-up times
    • Having customers notify you when they arrive by phone, text, or other methods
  • Loading the product into the car if possible, while asking the customer to remain inside their vehicles to limit contact. The identity of the driver may be verified by asking them to display it through the window of their vehicle.
  • Ensuring employees sanitize hands and surfaces in between each customer interaction.
  • Advising customers not to use their own containers, reusable bags, or boxes.
  • Ensuring customers and staff know to stay home if they are sick.
  • Provide training to employees on effective hand hygiene practices and if required, the proper way to put on and remove PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.
  • Note: Curbside pick-up does not include sidewalk sales or other displays of goods for sale on the sidewalk at this time.

Businesses allowing patrons to pick up items, must:

  • Have a public entrance that opens onto a street or exterior sidewalk; or
  • In the case of a business in a shopping mall, permit patrons o pick up the items at a designated location established by the shopping mall.

Businesses providing delivery services should:

  • Ensure delivery drivers are not reporting to work when sick. Use the Workplace Screening Tools available on the WECHU website.
  • Increase the frequency and cleaning and disinfecting of the delivery vehicle, focusing on high touch points such as door handles, shifters, steering wheels, and controls.
  • Ensure delivery drivers practice proper hand hygiene, whether or not they wear gloves.
  • Make arrangements to drop off the products at the customer’s home and avoid having direct in-person interaction with the person receiving the delivery.
  • Avoid close contact with customers during the delivery process by arranging for pre-payment on the phone or online.

COVID-19 Safety Plan

The person responsible for a business that is open must prepare and make available a safety plan. The plan must:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning, disinfecting and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review, on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working in or attending the location.

Non-Medical Face Masks, Face Coverings, and Eye Protection

Ontario Regulation 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step mandates the wearing of face masks that cover the mouth, nose, and chin in indoor public places and workplaces.

In addition to wearing a non-medical face mask or face covering, staff must wear eye protection when they are:

  • Within 2 metres of patrons who are not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering, and/or
  • In an indoor area and are not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barriers.

Train staff on the proper use, removal and disposal of non-medical masks.

Non-medical masks do not replace other important public health measures, such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve and staying home when feeling ill.

More information about face coverings and eye protection is available by visiting the Face Coverings & Eye Protection webpage.


Signage and Screening

  • Every patron/customer/staff member that enters the facility/workplace must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors.
    • Actively screen staff using the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces. This includes workers, volunteers, suppliers, and contractors.
    • For indoor and outdoor dine-in service, the person responsible for the establishment must record the name and contact information of every patron and actively screen individuals.
      • The COVID-19 Customer Screening Tool can be used to meet this requirement.
      • These requirements do not apply to quick service restaurants where the patron temporarily enters the area to place, pick up or pay for a takeout order.
  • Post signage at entrances and throughout the retail establishment that clearly communicate procedures for physical distancing between staff and customers.  This include posters and floor markings such as instructional tape/stickers that direct the flow of people waiting for services, including any waiting areas. Examples of signage can be found in the Resources & Signage section of the WECHU website.
  • Post signage to communicate entry procedures such as hand sanitizing, sneeze and cough etiquettewearing of cloth masks, and/or screening for symptoms.
  • Ensure employees are aware of common COVID-19 symptoms and in addition to active screening upon arrival, instruct them to complete a daily provincial screening tool for workplaces before reporting to work.
  • Provide training to employees on effective hand hygiene practices and if required, the proper way to put on and remove PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.

Physical Distancing

Complete any needed modifications in areas where there will be staff and/or customers, to assist with physical distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection. For example:

  • Monitor entrances to control staff and customers entering the store.
  • Rearrange store layout and remove non-essential furniture/items, to allow ease of movement for physical distancing.
  • Establish directional aisles to manage customer flow and place visual markers (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) spaced 2 metres apart for customers lining up when waiting to enter the store and cash-out.
  • Staff should remind customers to stay 2 metres apart, as much as possible while shopping.
  • Use every other check out station if less than 2 metres apart.
  • If possible, install barriers (e.g. Plexiglas) between workers who must work in close proximity to each other.
  • Install barriers (e.g. Plexiglas) in areas where customers must come within 2 metres of employees (such as at check-in area or check-out areas) or within 2 metres of people from other groups (self check-out).
    • For barriers in areas where people are standing, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest patron or employee, which would be at least 2 metres (79 inches) from the ground.
    • For barriers in areas where people are sitting, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest seated patron or employee, which would be at least 1.46 metres (58 inches) from the ground.

To maintain physical distancing while offering curbside pick-up services, consider:

  • Posting signage near entrances and parking area that clearly communicate procedures for physical distancing and what steps customers should follow. If possible, also have someone in place to direct customers.
  • Set up queue lines at entrances (e.g., using cones or ropes) and ensure that pedestrians are still able to use the sidewalk safely.
  • Maintaining a minimum pedestrian clearway of 2.1 metres is essential to ensuring that all pedestrians can move safely along an unobstructed sidewalk, especially those using mobility devices, strollers, or other similar apparatus. In order to ensure room is available for passengers to ensure physical distancing from those waiting in line, consider the following:
    • Using private property (i.e., parking lots) to queue customers wherever possible. If public sidewalks must be used, do not allow customers to block the pedestrian clearway.
    • Spacing customers in the furnishing zone of the sidewalk (i.e. between trees, bike rings, benches) and actively monitor your line-up to ensure a pedestrian clearway of 2.1 metres is maintained at all times.
  • Displaying “Stand Here” signage or placing markers (e.g., tape, cones) every two metres can serve as distance cue reminders.
  • For in-person payments, having cashiers step back from customers if the card reader cannot be relocated two metres away from the cashier or if a physical barrier cannot be installed.
  • If the queue outside your store gets too long to manage, consider ways to have customers queue up digitally and leave their contact information.
  • Avoid offering sales or promotions designed to attract big crowds. Ensure that you adhere to other relevant public health guidance.

General Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Ensure hand washing facilities are available and in good working order.
  • Ensure there is always sufficient supply of approved disinfecting solution or wipes, and an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) with a minimum of 60% alcohol content, liquid hand soap, and paper towels. These should be easily accessible to employees.
  • Provide additional garbage bins for safe disposal of used masks, tissues, and paper towels and wipes.
  • Shopping carts and baskets must be sanitized between each customer. Items that cannot be easily sanitized should not be provided (e.g. cloth bags).
  • Do not distribute coupons, samples, testers, or flyers by hand directly to customers. These items can be provided on a table for customers to take if interested.
  • Encourage the use of contactless payments whenever possible. If handling cash, use alcohol-based hand rub after each transaction and avoid touching your face.
  • Clean debit/credit terminals after each customer or as frequently as possible.
  • Encourage the use of contactless payments whenever possible. If handling cash, use alcohol-based hand rub after each transaction and avoid touching your face.

Resources

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Last modified: 
Friday, September 10, 2021 - 3:45pm