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New Reopening Regulations Are Out! What Does Step-1 Mean for Condos?

The long awaited regulations on the new 3-step roadmap to reopening Ontario have been published today! We are finally able to put some meat on the various press releases issued since May 20.

Don’t miss CAI’s upcoming webinar on virtual meetings (June 10 at 10am).  This one will go well beyond the basics and will help you master more delicate situations such as adjournments, 2 meetings in one (or catch up AGM), requisitioned meetings; by-law meetings, etc.  There is still time to register for June 10 at 10 am.  Registration and more info here.

Summary

As of June 11, Ontario will move its 34 Public Health Units under Step 1 (of a 3-step framework leading to the reopening of Ontario).

Step 1 restrictions are very similar to those in place under the old “Grey Zone” regulations.  We’re therefore still at the higher end of the spectrum: stricter controls than in the old “Red Zone”.

Here is a quick summary of what regulations will be applicable to condos in Ontario as of this Friday.

Masks

Face masks covering one’s nose, mouth and chin are still required in all interior common elements, with the usual exceptions related to age, health and disability. This applies to common elements unless the corporation is able to ensure that a 2-metre distance is maintained.

Stated otherwise, wear your mask.

Public gathering

Organized public events and gathering continue to be regulated:

  • There shall be no gathering indoors
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people (with some non-condo relevant exceptions)

There are also exceptions for people of the same household.

As we see it, both AGMs and board meetings should continue remotely/virtually. (Strictly speaking, you could hold your board meetings outside provided that there are no more than 10 participants but why not continue with virtual meetings.  They work very well).

Essential services

The list of condo-relevant essential services allowed to operate include:

  • laundromats;
  • Lawncare and snow clearing (ouch…! Seems like we’re in this for the long run);
  • Security services;
  • Deliveries (your lobbies and concierge office will continue to be flooded);
  • Maintenance, repair and property management related to the safety, security, sanitation and operations of the building or residential properties; and,
  • All constructions activities or projects and related services (these are no longer limited to residential and other exceptions that existed before).

Fitness/Gyms

The long and short of it is this: only outdoor fitness or sports facilities can be open under Step 1, and only provided that they comply with the following conditions:

  • Outdoors only (I know I have said this already. I want it to sink in);
  • The only activities permitted are fitness classes, personal training or sports training (for individuals or teams);
  • A maximum of 10 people can participate at any given time;
  • The users must maintain a minimum 3-metre distance;
  • No team sports (other than for training purposes and without an active game taking place);
  • Participants must be actively screened for COVID;
  • Tracing information must be kept for a period of at least 1 month.  This info can only be disclosed to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and promotion Act;
  • There no longer appears to be a requirement to book your spot in advance, which appears to indicate that walk-ins are now permitted. Still, our strong recommendation is that condos continue to require their users to book their spots ahead of time;

Your indoor fitness rooms must remain closed. (I know, I know! It’s the third time I say this.)

There are exceptions to the above but they don’t really pertain to condos as they are limited to allowing more flexibility for high-performance athletes, sports team and professional sports as well as facilities providing services to children, youth, and mental health support.

Both indoor and outdoor sports and recreational fitness amenities can, but do not have to open for the sole purpose of allowing a person with a disability to use the amenity if they have received written instruction for  physical therapy from a regulated health professional who is qualified to provide these instructions and only if that person is not able to engage in this physical therapy elsewhere.

Pools and other water features

Outdoor pools, splash pads, spray pads, whirlpool, wading pools and water slides can open.

If you open your (outdoor) water facilities, you must abide by the following:

  • The users must maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres;
  • Anyone engaging in a physical exercise in this amenity (including training, sports or games) must maintain a physical distance of at least 3 metres;
  • Activities likely to result in contact or close proximity cannot be practiced in these amenities;
  • Team sports must not be practiced or played (except for training sessions for members of a sports team).

The above rules are relaxed for members of a single household.

Naturally, we recommend you consider implementing the following:

  • Adapting the layout and access to your pool to facilitate compliance with  the regulation and other public health guidance;
  • Removing (or reducing) furniture;
  • Not providing any items to be shared by users (noodles and other floatation devices should be provided by the users themselves);
  • Increasing cleaning and disinfecting;
  • Having the users book their spot (no walk ins);
  • Actively screening the users for COVID symptoms;
  • Recording tracing information (name, contact information, etc) and keeping this information for at least one month.

Indoor pools and water features cannot open under Step 1.

Other recreational facilities

Corporations can also open the following outdoor recreational amenities:

  • Parks and recreational areas;
  • Playgrounds;
  • Portions of parks or recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment;
  • Baseball diamonds, soccer, football and other fields, tennis, pickleball and basketball court;
  • Golf courses;
  • Pools, pads, whirlpools, water slides (which are dealt with above in this blog post);
  • And a few more.  The above list is limited to the condo-relevant ones.  You may want to consult the entire list.

If you open these facilities, you must abide by the following:

  • The users must maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres;
  • Anyone engaging in a physical exercise in this amenity (including training, sports or games) must maintain a physical distance of at least 3 metres;
  • Activities likely to result in contact or close proximity cannot be practiced in these amenities;
  • Team sports must not be practiced or played (except for training sessions for members of a sports team).  We read this to mean that while you  can open any sports field, you cannot practice games on it other than for the purpose of a training session.

The above rules are relaxed for members of a single household.

Cleaning

There is a growing public discussion on whether surface cleaning is as important as initially thought, now that COVID appears to be more of an airborne virus.  I won’t opine on this but the new regulation continues to require that all rooms and equipment accessible to the public (including elevator button, mircom dial-in pads, etc…) must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.

Remote work

Remote work continues to apply unless the nature of the work require on-site attendance at the workplace.  Most management work can likely be done remotely but concierge, security, superintendent and the like can work on site.  They must abide by all public health restrictions and protocols, including any advice, recommendation and instruction issued by the Office of the Chief medical officer of a health region.

Safety plan

As we read it, a Safety Plan is required if you are going to operate a sports or recreational fitness amenities.  The regulation calls this plan a Health and Safety protocol. In our view, this safety plan should describe the measures and procedures implemented to reduce the risk of COVID transmission.  It should include protocols on screening, physical distancing, masks, and cleaning/disinfecting of surfaces, etc.

It should be in writing and should be posted in a conspicuous place where the users can see it.

Short-term accommodations

Short-term accommodations can proceed and are no longer limited to situations where there was a need for accommodations.  Keep in mind that your municipality or condo corporation may have restrictions on what short-term rentals can take place in your complex.

Keep in mind, however, that those benefiting from short-term rentals cannot be provided access to indoor pools, steam room, saunas, whirlpools, fitness or recreational centres.

You can read the amended regulation here.

 

Last updated on June 11 at 10:54 pm