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Stopping the spread of COVID-19

Updated April 20, 2020 - Learn about the temporary measures we’re taking to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario and find a list of the essential services.

How we’re stopping the spread of COVID-19

We all have role to play in fighting the spread of COVID-19.

As a temporary, necessary measure, the Ontario government is ordering businesses to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by closing non-essential workplaces. All workplaces not included in the updated list of essential businesses must close by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, 2020.

This decision was based on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts.

Temporarily closing non-essential workplaces will help:

  • reduce exposure and stop the spread of COVID-19 from person-to-person

  • protect workers who maintain essential goods and services

  • minimize impacts to people’s livelihood and businesses’ bottom lines

  • maintain a strong supply chain for the goods and services they need

The government is also advising essential workplaces to put the necessary measures in place to protect the health and safety of their employees and the public, including safe physical distancing and hand-washing.

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

For questions about the Government of Canada’s emergency response program, and funding for individuals and businesses, please see Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Essential businesses: Changes to the list of essential businesses

As a temporary measure the Ontario government revised the list of essential businesses. The updated list will direct additional businesses to close, and directs specified businesses to provide services by alternate methods such as curbside pickup and delivery, except in exceptional circumstances. This includes stores that sell hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, pet and animal supplies, office supplies and computer products and repairs and safety supplies.

Only critical construction projects will continue, including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads and bridges. New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction that is near completion will continue.

All businesses not on the updated list will be required to close as of 11:59 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020.

This is an unprecedented time in our history and we are making these changes as the situation evolves with advice and guidance of industry experts and public health officials. At the same time we understand the important role that groceries, food and personal hygiene products, pharmaceuticals and critical infrastructure and their complex supply chains play in keeping Ontarian’s safe.

List of essential businesses: Essential businesses and services during this time include:

For non-essential businesses

If you operate a non-essential business, you can continue to operate if your staff can work remotely from home.

Learn about the measures the federal government has put in place to support workers and businesses in Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

For employees

If you have to go out to get food or other critical supplies, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care or go to an essential job, be sure to practice safe physical distancing. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers must take precautions to keep workers safe, including keeping them informed, creating health and safety policies and procedures and ensuring workers use the right protective equipment. As a worker, you also have the right to refuse unsafe work.

If you have concerns about your health and safety that your employer is not addressing, you can file a complaint with the Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, take a self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.

If your workplace is closed and you are unable to work, you may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) from the federal government.

Contact us

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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