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Orders under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act

Section 22 Order

Restrictions for shopping malls, retail stores, and food and drink premises in Niagara

Dr. M. Mustafa Hirji, Medical Officer of Health (Acting) for Niagara Region has issued orders under Section 22 for:

  • Shopping and retail
  • Food and drink premises, including:
    • Bars
    • Restaurants
    • Banquet halls
    • Wineries
    • Breweries
    • Establishments where only beverages are served

If you're not a business, learn about public health guidelines for the community.

Contact

If you're a business owner or operator and have questions about the Section 22 class orders:

  • Email inspect@niagararegion.ca
  • Call the COVID-19 Info-Line Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. at 905-688-8248, press 7 or toll-free at 1-888-505-6074

Orders under Section 22

Failure to comply with these orders is an offence for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

  • Shopping malls and retail stores

    All owners / operators of shopping malls and businesses that engage in retail sales to the public, including stores within a shopping mall in Niagara must:

    • Actively monitor compliance with the required capacity limits set in the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c.17 and applicable regulations for the shopping mall, business, place, facility, or premise under your control, and ensure that physical distancing of two metres is maintained by patrons, store staff and mall staff in all common areas, stores, washrooms, hallways, entrances, etc., at all times
    • Actively manage all line-ups or groups of patrons congregating and ensure all patrons waiting in line-ups inside or outside the shopping mall or retail store under your control maintain physical distancing of at least two metres
    • Actively monitor compliance and ensure that all patrons, store staff and mall staff, whether inside the mall or retail store under your control, or in the vicinity of a line-up outside the mall or retail store under your control, wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless entitled to an exception from this requirement in the Reopening Ontario Act
    • Conduct daily interactive screening of all employees for symptoms of COVID-19, using the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces, or another tool with the same minimum set of questions, such as the COVID-19 Screening Tool developed by Niagara Region Public Health. Answers to daily screens must be collected and retained for at least one month.
    • Ensure the workplace is arranged to help employees keep two metres distance from each other and from patrons at all times. For example, spacing of stations and visual cues. For emphasis, employees on breaks should keep two metres distance from each other.
    • Provide sufficient alcohol-based hand rub (minimum alcohol concentration of 70 per cent) at every entrance and exit of the establishment, with prompting to use it upon entry and exit
    • To encourage honest and forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms and / or contact amongst employees, ensure that all employees are aware of any benefits and / or pay to which they may be entitled to if they must isolate due to symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19, or being a contact of COVID-19.
    • Comply with all other requirements that apply to your business, place, facility or establishment as set out under the Reopening Ontario Act and the applicable regulations
    • Follow all further instructions from Niagara Region Public Health pertaining to COVID-19 that apply to your premise
    • Ensure all stores within the shopping mall set a maximum capacity limit that's consistent with required capacity limits set in the Reopening Ontario Act, and its regulations. Monitor the capacity limit to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres is maintained by patrons, store staff and mall staff at all times.

    For greater certainty, nothing in this order is intended to require persons who are members of the same household to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from each other while in a place of business or facility

  • Food and drink premises

    All owners / operators of food premises, including bars, restaurants, banquet halls, wineries or breweries, including ones where only beverages are served within Niagara must:

    • Record the following information from every patron who is 16 years of age or older that enters an indoor or outdoor dining area in the establishment, other than patrons who briefly enter the area to place, pick up, or pay for a takeout order:
      • Name
      • One form of contact information (phone number, emai addressl, physical address)
      • Time of arrival and departure
      • Table number or location
      • Attestation that the patron doesn't suffer from any COVID-19 symptoms, excluding those from a chronic non-contagious existing diagnosis)
      • Attestation that the patron is joining a table with only household members and / or a maximum of two persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health. For example, caregivers or social supports to someone who lives alone.
    • Don't serve patrons for indoor or outdoor dining on the premises if they don't provide information for the above records
    • Retain the above records for a period of at least one month, and ensure the records are maintained and stored in a secure manner to preserve privacy of patrons, and appropriately and securely destroyed after the one month retention of those records has elapsed
    • Disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request, or as otherwise required by law
    • Conduct daily interactive screening of all employees for symptoms of COVID-19, using the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces, or another tool with the same minimum set of questions, such as the COVID-19 Screening Tool developed by Niagara Region Public Health. Answers to daily screens should be collected and retained for at least one month.
    • Ensure the workplace is arranged to help employees keep two metres distance from each other and from patrons at all times. For example, spacing of stations and visual cues. For emphasis, employees on breaks should keep two metres distance from each other.
    • Ensure that patrons are seated at all times, except while:
      • Entering the area and moving to their table
      • Placing or picking up an order
      • Paying for an order
      • Exiting the area
      • Going to or returning from a washroom
      • Lining up to do anything stated above
      • Necessary for the purposes of health and safety
    • Ensure that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres, or by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
    • Provide sufficient alcohol-based hand rub (minimum alcohol concentration of 70 per cent) at every table, and at the entrance and exit of the establishment, with prompting to use it upon entry and exit
    • To encourage honest and forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms and / or contact amongst employees, ensure that all employees are aware of any benefits and / or pay to which they may be entitled to if they must isolate due to symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19, or being a contact of COVID-19.

    Sample food and drink premise patron logs

Reasons for the order

  • COVID-19 is a potentially fatal infectious disease, currently constituting a worldwide pandemic
  • COVID-19 is a communicable disease that can spread to others through respiratory droplets that are released from the nose and mouth, contact with contaminated surfaces, and poor hand hygiene
  • COVID-19 may be transmitted from persons who have minimal or no signs or symptoms of illness
  • The risk of transmission of COVID-19 is greater in close contact environments where persons are within two metres and / or without face coverings
  • Socializing or close interaction of persons in public spaces, such as malls, retail stores, food premises, employee-only social spaces and workplaces is associated with the spread of COVID-19 amongst non-household members
  • Persons infected with COVID-19 in food premises in Niagara have subsequently spread COVID-19 more widely, and is one of the factors leading to large numbers of cases of infection, including in congregate care settings with vulnerable residents at greatest risk of dying
  • Employees of food and retail premises in Niagara have in some circumstances continued to work while COVID-19 symptomatic and infectious, putting others at risk in the workplace
  • Inspections conducted at retail premises by Niagara Region and the Ontario government have found inadequate compliance in the retail sector with provincial regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Ongoing widespread disease transmission of COVID-19 will lead to outbreaks in congregate settings with vulnerable residents, and to increased morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 within the population of Niagara

Why these additional measures are needed

As owners and operators of establishments that directly interact with the public, you're on the frontlines of where COVID-19 spread occurs. Your investments in protecting your clients and your workers have prevented infection and saved lives in our community, and often that has been done with significant costs to your organization. You deserve recognition for this.

Ontario, including Niagara, find ourselves at a precarious point in this pandemic. Our average cases remain near the highest point of the first wave. We saw through the fall that despite the measures in the province's framework for keeping Ontario safe and open, COVID-19 continued to rise, though slowly, but eventually leading to the provincial shutdown earlier this winter.

We see variants of COVID-19 increasingly spreading in the GTA; other countries that have reopened such as the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands have found that these variants caused a third wave and required a third lockdown soon after the second lockdown.

To save lives and give our economy a sustained reopening to recover, it's imperative that the reopening be carefully managed.

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