Ontario has announced today its new COVID Response Roadmap to reopening Ontario. We have gone from last year’s “Stage approach” to last October’s “Colour coded Response Framework” to, now, a brand new “Step approach”.
Specifically, reopening Ontario will be done in 3 steps. We will enter Step 1 as early as June 14. Ontario will stay under each steps for at least 21 days. The timing of when we move to the next step will be based on Ontario’s vaccination rate.
- Some outdoor recreational amenities will be permitted to open this Saturday (these include golf courses, tennis courts, skateboarding parks, sports fields, and other similar facilities);
- All other currently existing “Emergency Breaks” Shutdown restrictions will remain in place and will continue to apply until we enter Step 1.
- We are expected to enter Step 1 on June 14. Until then, the following restrictions continue to apply:
- No social gathering or organized public events (indoors or outdoors);
- Masks are still required in indoor common elements (with usual exceptions);
- All indoor or outdoor recreational amenities must be closed except for high-performance athletes and other non-condo-relevant exceptions [expect more on this in an upcoming post];
- Mandatory COVID screening for those working at the condo and notices by all entrances inviting all others to self-screen;
- All non-essential construction remains suspended but the following can proceed:
- Maintenance, repair and property management services required for the safety, security, sanitation and operation of properties and buildings;
- Residential construction activities or projects.
- Very few clues were given on how the condo industry will be affected under each of these stages. We should learn more when the regulation is published.
As of this Saturday
Before we even enter Step 1, as of this Saturday, Ontario will allow:
- Outdoor gatherings limits for social gatherings and organized public events will be expanded to 5 people, including members of different households;
- The reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities. These include golf courses, tennis courts, skateboarding parks, sports fields, and other similar facilities. There may be more but until we know for sure, the existing restrictions apply and all other outdoor recreational amenities are to be closed (with the exception of parks and play structures).
Based on the limited information we currently have, we are of the view that all exterior amenities, including pools, common patios, rooftop terraces, communal BBQs (etc.) should remain closed.
Step 1 (as early as June 14)
Under step 1, the province will allow the following condo-relevant activities:
- Outdoors gatherings of up to 10 people;
- Outdoor pools, splash pads and wading pools with capacity limited to permit 2 metres physical distancing (you may want to start working on reopening your outdoor pools, which may require an inspection by your local authorities);
- Indoor and outdoor recreational amenities (including fitness rooms) are to remain closed except for high performance athletes and other exceptions that do not apply to condos;
- Outdoor fitness classes, personal training and sports training of up to 10 people;
- Short-term rentals will be able to resume (subject to your municipality and condo regulations);
- All construction projects can proceed;
- Lawn care and landscaping services can proceed.
We are expected to enter Step 1 as early as June 14 when 60% of adult Ontarians have received their first vaccine dose.
Under step 2, the province will allow the following condo-relevant activities:
- All that is allowed under Step 1, plus the following;
- Outdoor gathering of up to 25 people;
- Indoor gathering of up to 5 people with other restrictions (maybe you can start thinking of some in-person board meetings).
Ontario will enter into Step 2 once 70 % of adult Ontarian have received one dose and 20% have received 2 doses. There is no set date to enter under Step 2 but it is not likely to be before July 5 (which is 21 days after June 14).
Under step 3, the province will allow:
- All that is allowed under Steps 1 and 2 plus the following;
- Outdoor and indoor gatherings with larger capacity limits;
- Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities with capacity limits (this may be a clue as to what the province has in mind for indoor condo’s fitness rooms);
- Indoor pools, splash pads, spray pads, whirlpools, wading pools and water slides can open with 2m physical distanging.
The above is drafted with only the benefit of the press conference and press release. We will keep our eyes out for the regulations. In the meantime, you can find more details on what can open under each of the “steps” by visiting Ontario’s Roadmap to reopening.
Updated at 9:52 am on May 21, 2021