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In-Person Shopping at Retail Stores Permitted with Public Health and Safety Requirements in Place

February 8, 2021

Office of the Premier


Once local trends of key public health indicators have improved, the province’s 34 public health regions will be gradually transitioned back to a strengthened and revised COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”), with some new and modified measures in place. These measures include updates to allow in-store shopping at non-essential retail stores with additional public health and safety measures in place.

The following measures will be added to of the Framework to protect the health and safety of retail patrons and workers:

Grey-Lockdown Level

  • In person shopping permitted for retail sales, with capacity limits;
  • In addition of the previous restriction of 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies:
    • 25 per cent capacity limit for all other stores that engage in retail sales to the public, including, big box stores;
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted;
  • Require store capacity limit to be posted publicly;
  • Require businesses and organizations to screen in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or other public health official by, among other things:
  • Require individuals to maintain at least two metres of physical distance and wear a face covering, including when attending organized public events and other gatherings, with limited exceptions.

Red-Control Level

  • In person shopping permitted for retail services, with capacity limits;
    • 75 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies; and
    • 50 per cent capacity limit for all other retail businesses that engage in retail sales to the public, including big box stores;
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted;
  • Require store capacity limit to be posted publicly;
  • Require all retailers and other sectors to have a safety plan and post it;
  • Require businesses and organizations to screen in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or other public health official by, among other things:
  • Require individuals to maintain at least two metres of physical distance and wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.

Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, and Orange-Restrict Levels, and Other Sectors

Further changes to measures in the COVID-19 Response Framework (e.g. opening of additional businesses, loosening of public health and workplace measures) will be restricted for at least 28 days following the last public health unit returning to the Framework.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult with experts, review data, and provide advice to the government on the appropriate and effective measures that are needed to protect the health of Ontarians.


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