COVID-19 Updates:

  • Community Update

Ontario Implementing Additional Measures at Bars and Restaurants to Help Limit the Spread of COVID-19

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, has amended orders O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 and O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2, under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020,implementing additional measures for restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments, as the province carefully and gradually reopens.

In order to keep patrons of restaurants, bars, and other food or drink establishments safe, the amended orders will implement the following measures:  

  • All patrons will be required to be seated at all times, in both indoor and outdoor areas, with limited exceptions; and
  • Bars and restaurants (and also tour boat operators) in Ontario will be required to keep client logs for a period of 30 days and to disclose the client logs to the medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Acton request, which will support case and contact tracing.
  • Complementary changes are being made in respect of existing provisions relating to tour operators and tour boat operators.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health measures or restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened.

It remains critically important for everyone to continue following public health advice as more businesses and services reopen in Stage 3. This includes practising physical distancing with those outside your household or social circle, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so, staying home when ill, and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.

Ontario Building A Safer and Stronger Long-Term Care System

Ontario released two reports and announced new initiatives that further deliver on recommendations made by the Honourable Eileen E. Gillese, Commissioner of the Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry, that will make long-term care safer and stronger, now and in the future.

The “Report Back on the Gillese Inquiry” provides an update on accomplishments in four key areas recommended by Justice Gillese: increasing awareness, prevention, deterrence and detection of intentional harm in long-term care homes. The Gillese Inquiry provided a thorough analysis and recommendations for making the long-term care system safer, and to date, 80 per cent of the recommendations are complete or underway.

As part of Ontario’s long-term care modernization, the “Long-Term Care Staffing Study Report,” was released as well. This study will inform the development of a comprehensive staffing strategy to be released later this year. The study was informed by an external Long-Term Care Staffing Study Advisory Group composed of resident and family advocates, operators, academics and other industry thought-leaders. This group provided the government with advice on staffing in the long-term care sector in response to a key recommendation in Justice Gillese’s report.

The province is investing in a $10 million annual training fund to help frontline care staff acquire new skills, including the flexibility and resiliency needed to adapt to changing practices.

Delivering on Justice Gillese’s recommendations, Ontario has entered into a three-year, $1.8 million partnership with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada to help long-term care homes strengthen medication safety practices. Ontario also plans to launch a Medication Safety Technology program next spring to help homes adopt new technologies to strengthen medication dispensing safety and consistency.

Ontario Safely and Gradually Reopens DriveTest Centres

People will be able to access more drive testing services as the Ontario government moves DriveTest centres into the second phase of its reopening plan. Beginning on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 road testing for class G2 and all motorcycle licences will resume and the number of locations offering commercial driver road tests will expand.

Starting on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, the following services will be available at DriveTest centres:

  • Class G2 road tests
  • Class M2 and class M motorcycle road tests
  • Commercial driver road tests availability will expand to 42 DriveTest locations across Ontario
  • Part-time Travel Point locations will resume driver examination services as the shared facilities they are located in become available for the public’s use.

All driver licensing services offered as part of phase 1 of DriveTest’s reopening, including knowledge tests and driver’s licence exchanges and upgrades, will continue to be available on a first-come, first served basis. To reduce crowding and support physical distancing, most DriveTest centres will continue to serve these customers based on the date of the customer’s birth. Customers who need road tests should visit DriveTest.ca to schedule a test.

People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre one week, and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week.For information on which customers are being served this week, please visit DriveTest.ca.  

To protect the safety of Ontarians DriveTest requires customers to wear face coverings inside centres and during road tests, sanitize their hands when they enter the building and undergo temperature checks before road tests. All DriveTest staff wear appropriate personal protective equipment when serving customers and driver examiners will also be equipped with face shields, sanitizer packages and seat covers when conducting road tests.

COVID Alert Available for Download Beginning Today

As Ontarians continue to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alertapp on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores. This app, which is available beginning today, lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus. It is free, easy and safe to use. The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Work on COVID Alert was initiated in Ontario by the Ontario Digital Service and volunteers at Shopify, and was the foundation of the work by the Government of Canada. The app was developed in consultation with the Privacy Commissioners of Canada and Ontario to ensure the highest level of privacy for everyone using it.

COVID Alert is a key tool to strengthen Ontario’s comprehensive case and contact management strategy, Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management. The app supports the efforts of public health units, allowing the province to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus and prepare for any potential outbreaks ― without sharing any personal information.

“As Ontario safely and gradually re-opens, we continue to take a digital-first approach to delivering simpler, faster, better services to support Ontarians, including the COVID Alert app, which will leverage technology to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. “By making it easier for Ontarians to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities, we continue to deliver on our commitment to build a smarter government that works for you.”

If an app user receives a message from COVID Alert that they may have been exposed to the virus, they should follow the public health advice given on the app and get tested. To notify other people if an app user has tested positive for COVID-19, they can enter their one-time key from Ontario’s test results website (Ontario.ca/covidresults) into the app. A message will then be sent to other app users who have been within two metres of them for at least 15 minutes within the past 14 days, without sending any information that identifies the user, or the time and place of exposure.

To stay safe as more of the province reopens, Ontarians should continue to follow public health guidelines including physical distancing with people not in their social circle, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and if anyone thinks they have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, get tested.