On November 3, 2020, Ontario revamped its COVID-19 response framework, moving from a “Stage” categorization to a new colour-coded system. Under this new framework, all of Ontario’s 34 Public Health Units are being placed in one of five colour categories, each with increasing COVID response restrictions. The 5 colour levels range from green (at the lower end) to red, with the ultimate level of restrictions being grey (also known as the “lockdown” stage).
In this blog post, we explore the impact this new colour-coded system has on Ontario’s condos.
Update: Confused about colour zones and applicable restrictions?
We now have a new tool to help you figure out which restrictions apply to your specific region. Click on the COVID tab at the top of our blog and download the COVID-Sheet applicable to your region and municipality.
Don’t miss our Holiday webinar on December 2, at 5 pm: A year in review, preparing your condo for the holiday season and, a tribute to Alex Trebek: our very own Jeopardy! condo gameshow! More info and registration here.
Ontario’s recent changes essentially superimpose colour zones to the existing “Stage” restrictions. The restrictions applicable under the old “Stage 2” are now covered under the “Red Zone” level (regulated by O.Reg. 263/20). The old “Stage 3” (regulated by O.Reg. 364/20) is now divided in 3 colour zones: Green, Yellow and Orange.
To understand what restrictions apply to your condo, you must therefore first figure out the zone in which your condo is located. We list below each of Ontario’s Public Health Region and the colour under which they fall (at the time of this post):
- Toronto is expected to move to the Red Zone on November 14, 2020. It has also adopted additional measures.
- Peel region. Do note that the Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel has issued additional directives, which are stricter than those required for Red Zones. These additional directives are effective as of today (November 9, 2020).
- Eastern Ontario
- Halton, Niagara
- Simcoe Muskoka
- Waterloo, and
- Everyone else
No one is currently in a Grey Zone, which is the highest level of alert.
Click here for an easy visual chart showing each zones and the regions within them.
Each zone comes with escalating restrictions applicable to various sectors, industries or businesses. You can find here a nicely organized visual chart prepared by the province showing the general restrictions by colour zone. But do keep in mind that this chart listed proposed restrictions as they existed on the date of the press conference (November 3). You should consult your favourite condo lawyer or the actual regulation to confirm the restrictions applicable to your condo.
Of interest, in all zones, the gathering limits for condo AGMs held at the corporation are:
- 10 indoors
- 25 outdoors
This is so as this gathering limits apply to “public events or social gathering” held at a residential building, including condominium buildings. The gathering limits are increased to 50 indoors (or 100 hundred outdoors) at venues that rent meeting space – except for Red Zones, where the limit remains at 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.
Masks on common elements
Masks or face coverings continue to be required at the provincial level for anyone in any condo indoor common areas – unless occupants can maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres between them. So, at the provincial level, if you are able to maintain the 2 metre distance, you do not need a mask or face covering while on interior common elements. In narrower spaces where this distance cannot be maintained (one could think of elevators, or even hallways for that matter), occupants must wear a mask or face covering.
In all cases, the usual exceptions apply (you can read more on this in our blog on provincial mask regulation).
Do note that certain activities have more stringent provincial mask requirements – for instance when attending gyms. These would apply, in our view, if the activity takes place on condo grounds. We will cover this when we discuss condo gyms under the new colour-coded framework.
However, in addition to the above, you should continue to pay close attention to your municipal mask regulations (if your municipality has any). Indeed, many municipalities have adopted by-laws imposing more stringent mask requirements. In many cases, these municipalities (including Toronto, Mississauga and Ottawa) have extended their mask by-laws until at least January 2021. Other municipalities appear to be have adopted the provincial regulation on this issue.
Keep in mind as well that many condo corporation have adopted their own policy/rule on masks. Condos, who have the ability to control, manage and administer common elements and to ensure the reasonable safety of those on the premisse, can adopt more rules/policy which are more restrictive than the province or their municipality.
Gyms & pools
I know, I know… You wanted to read about condo gyms under the new colour-coded regulation. We’ll cover that in our next post, later this week… The post is actually ready! But if you want a sneak peak, you’ll have to show us a picture of your 2020 poppy. You can purchase a virtual poppy by visiting www.mypoppy.ca. Others will have to wait for the post until after Remembrance Day.
Last updated Nov. 12, 2020