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Ontario Declares Second State of Emergency: What it Means for Condos

Here we go again!

In response to a doubling in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, and the resulting threat to the province’s hospital system, the Ontario government has declared a second provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. [The legislative process being followed today is similar to the one followed last March].

When reading this blog post, please keep in mind that it is based on today’s press release.  We have yet to see an Order in Council or any new regulation.  We will keep updating this blog post as more information becomes available.  You may have to come and check it regularly.

Don’t miss Wednesday’s webinar to learn more about what this declaration of emergency means for condos. You can register here.

Lockdown measures to remain in place

As we understand it, this new state of emergency does not replace the current provincial lockdown but supplement it. Stated otherwise, as far as we know, the grey zone restrictions implemented last December continue to apply across the province. You can read more on these measures here.

In summary, the following measures therefore continue to apply to condos:

  • Masks are generally required in indoor common elements (as previously blogged, there are exceptions and nuances to this);
  • 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 (this is down from 10); and,
  • Gym, pools and all other recreational amenities must be closed.

Additional measures pursuant to today’s Declaration of Emergency

While we are still waiting to see the precise language of the Order in Council (or regulation to be adopted), this is what we understood from today’s press release:

  • The government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise (more on this below) or for essential work;
  • All businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home;
  • All indoor organized public event and social gatherings are prohibited;
  • Outdoor organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 5 people (with limited exceptions);
  • Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open;
  • Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres;
  • Additional restrictions on all non-essential construction work. While we are waiting to see the legislative language for further details, we are of the view that this will likely require all non-essential and non-urgent work (in suites and on common elements) to be postponed.
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.

Some measures are effective immediately, while others will comes into effect at 12:01 am, on January 14, 2021.

Essential services

The list of businesses permitted to remain open has been updated.  The following ones of interest to the condo industry can remain open:

  • Maintenance, repair and property management services that manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties;
  • Domestic services to support children, seniors or vulnerable persons;
  • Snow clearing and landscaping services;
  • Laundromats (but corporations should consider implementing COVID-compliant protocols and precautions);
  • Short-term rental accommodations can only be provided to individual who are in need of housing. Condo corporations should close any guest suites;
  • No real estate open houses. Showing can be done by appointment;
  • All indoor and outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities are to be closed (there are exceptions for professional sports, for institutions providing child care services, mental health support and for some outdoor activities)

More info to come

We will continue to monitor the situation and get provide more information as it becomes available.

Naturally, we will discuss this at our upcoming webinar, tomorrow.  More info and registration here.

You can consult a good summary issued by the province.

Updated January 12, 2021 at 8:40 p.m.

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