Ontario businesses reopen today - here's what employers need know

Restrictions may be loosening, but HR leaders still need to be mindful of health and safety rules

Ontario businesses reopen today - here's what employers need know

Ontario will start reopening select indoor settings and businesses with 50% capacity limits, the first of its three-step plan to loosen COVID-19 restrictions in the province. Starting today, the following establishments may be opened with some restrictions in place:

  • Restaurants, bars, and other food establishments without dancing
  • Retailers, including shopping malls
  • Gyms and non-spectator areas of sports facilities
  • Movie theatres
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, and similar attractions
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments
  • Religious services, rites, and ceremonies

What does this mean for employers?

Despite restrictions easing in the province, Ontario said that establishments should still ask for enhanced proof of vaccination with QC code from any customer looking to gain entry. This means employers should be equipped with the Verify Ontario app, which quickly scans the QR code to prove that a customer is fully immunised against COVID-19.

In order to verify if the vaccine certificate really belongs to the customer, employees must also look for the following identification documents to cross-check information:

  • Birth certificate
  • Citizenship card
  • Driver’s licence
  • Government (Ontario or other) issued identification card, including health card
  • Indian Status Card /Indigenous Membership Card
  • Passport
  • Permanent Resident card

"Validation of identification is considered to have been completed/successful when the name and date of birth of the presenter of the vaccination receipt and the name and date of birth on the identification document match," said the government's guidelines.

Other restrictions ease

In addition to the 50% cap of reopened businesses, Ontario is also increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Capacity of organised public events is now at 50 for indoor settings. Facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities, concert venues, and theatres may operate at 50% usually seating capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

More restrictions are further expected to get loosened by February 21 and then by March 14.

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