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The following guidance is intended to help with clarification of general public health measures as mandated in Ontario Regulation 82/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 1 and described in the COVID-19 Response Framework for owners/operators of retail establishments.

Many retail settings are unique and it is the responsibility of the operator to review their own site-specific circumstances and assess their ability to implement COVID-19 prevention methods. For information about how to assess COVID-19 risks in your retail setting and to plan risk modifications, please refer to the WECHU Risk Assessment for Workplaces page.

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

COVID-19 Response Framework Measures

Retail is generally permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery only (in-person retail shopping not permitted) with some exceptions:

  • Supermarkets, grocery stores, indoor farmer’s markets that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies are permitted to be open for in-person shopping at 50% capacity where in-person shopping is permitted. There are no restrictions to operating hours.
  • Discount retailers and big-box retailers that also sell groceries are limited to 25% capacity. There are no restrictions to operating hours.
  • Safety supply stores or businesses that sell, rent, or repair medical devices and optical stores that sell prescription eyewear are limited to 50% capacity by appointment only and limiting operating hours between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Stores that sell liquor, wine and spirits are limited to 25% capacity with operating hours between 9 a.m. and 8 pm.
  • All businesses or facilities that are permitted to be open to the public for retail sales must post a sign in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity under which they are permitted to operate.
  • Motor/recreational vehicle sales permitted to be open for in-person shopping by appointment only, with hours of operation between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Garden centres, plant nurseries can only provide curbside or delivery services, 7 am and 8 pm.
  • Outdoor markets, including farmer’s markets and holiday markets are permitted outdoors only if they primarily sell food to the public, with hours of operation between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • General retail (e.g. hardware stores, pet food, computer stores, cannabis retail stores) are permitted curbside pick-up only if the item was ordered before the patron arrives, or delivery with operating hours between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m (i.e., in-person shopping is not permitted).

Retail outlets in malls permitted to be open for pick-up or delivery (in-person retail shopping not permitted)

  • Access to shopping malls for limited purposes, including access to businesses and organizations permitted to be open (e.g., pharmacy, dentist); food court open for take-out; malls may also establish designated pick-up points inside or adjacent to the mall
  • Businesses that remain open must ensure that a 2 metre physical distance is maintained while customers are waiting in line inside and outside
  • Operating hours must be between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. only, except for access to grocery stores/supermarkets, pharmacies, and health care providers.

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.

For more details, refer to the Government of Ontario’s website

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Specific Enhanced Measures

No additional measures.


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

Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open mandates the wearing of face coverings in indoor public places and workplaces. Municipalities and organizations have created further regulations through the development of face-covering policies. Several local municipalities have included further spaces where masks are required by passing by-laws.

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 (for example, when seated to eat or drink). These items should be labelled with staff names and should not be shared. Review our fact sheet on approved eye protection for staff.

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

Signage and Screening

  • Every patron/customer/staff member that enters the facility/workplace must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. There are two different types of screening:
    • Passive screening: people assess their own risk factors and make the decision themselves. Post clear signage at all entrances with screening questions and instructions. If active screening of patrons entering a facility is not possible (for example, public transit, grocery stores), post signage instructing people with symptoms not to enter. Note: for retail stores, screening is only required at entrance to shopping malls, and not individual stores.
    • Active screening: an employer ensures that the information is collected and reviewed to determine whether a person may enter the workplace. Actively screen staff using the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces. This includes workers, volunteers, suppliers, and contractors.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 (such as in dining areas).
    • 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.

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. Those which 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.

Outdoor Markets

Outdoor markets, including farmer’s markets and holiday markets are permitted to operate in Grey-Lockdown per O. Reg 82/20 only if they meet the following conditions:

  • Primarily sell food and grocery items
  • Products must be provided in a manner that allows members of the public to remain in an outdoor area at all times, or through an alternative method of sale that does not require patrons to enter the indoor area, such as curb side pick-up or delivery.
  • 2 metres physical distancing is maintained

If an area at the market is covered by a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other element, at least two full sides of the entire area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.

If an area at the market is equipped with a retractable roof and the roof is retracted, at least one full side of the area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.

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Last modified: 
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 4:07pm