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Condos Forced to Pull the “Emergency Brakes”: Ontario’s Third Shutdown

Sadly, but not surprisingly, Ontario has declared its third shutdown in about a year. As of Saturday, all Public Health Regions will be put under (modified) Shutdown Restrictions.  This is expected to last for at least 4 weeks.

Shutdown Restrictions are the highest level of restrictions and are similar to what was in place under the “Stay at home” order from December 26 to February 16. For those keeping track of the colour scheme, Shutdown is identified as white in their online framework.

We will continue to update on COVID tool (where you can see an up-to-date list of restrictions for each colour zones).

Shutdown Restrictions

At the time of writing these lines, we only have the benefit of Ontario’s press release and have not seen the actual regulations, which we expect will likely be issued over the long weekend.

Based on what we heard so far, we expect shutdown restrictions to mean the following for condos across Ontario:

  • Masks are required in indoor common elements.
    • There are nuances and exemptions but keep in mind that a court has clarified that those exempt from wearing a mask can be prevented from circulating on interior common elements for any purpose other than egress and ingress by the most direct route;
  • COVID Screening: Condos must:
    • Post signs at all entrances informing individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID prior to entering the premises; and,
    • Actively screen every person who works on the premise.

You can read more on COVID Screening here. Feel free to use this sign with a QR Code that brings your visitors directly to the province’s screening questionnaire.  Add management’s email address to the sign if you want your visitors to email it to you.

  • Organized events and social gathering:
    • Indoor organized public events or social gatherings of any kind are not permitted;
    • Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings are limited to 5 people;
  • Gym, pools and all other indoor/outdoor recreational amenities as well as any meeting rooms must be closed (there are some exceptions, most of which do not apply to condos);
  • Condo corporations should consider limiting/postponing any non-essential work in both units and common elements;
  • Have your staff and management work from home if possible unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace;
  • A Safety Plan is not formally required but it is a very good idea to adopt one.  A good Safety Plan describes the measures and procedures which have been implemented by the condo to reduce the risks of transmission.  We’re happy to help you set one up;
  • Short-term rental can only be provided for individuals in need of housing. Corporations should close their guest suites;
  • Cleaning/disinfecting shall be as frequent as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition – think of cleaning high touch areas;
  • Essential services include:
    • Laundromats;
    • Snow clearing, lawncare and landscaping;
    • Security services;
    • Maintenance, repair and property management services required for the safety, security, sanitation and operations of the corporation; and,
    • Construction activities and projects – but we recommend postponing all non-essential work.

The above is based on what we heard so far and the March 29 version of shutdown restrictions.