This order is not intended to suggest that restaurants and bars have had a lack of diligence in following COVID-19 guidance. The vast majority have been excellent in their COVID-19 precautions. This order is to address social behaviour that has been identified as a spreader of COVID-19.
As mentioned in the Public Health press conference on Nov. 7, 2020, we have seen spread occurring between people sharing tables from different households. This is one of the reasons for the order. Public Health inspectors will help restaurants in following this order during their inspections.
Effective 12:01 a.m., November 14, 2020, 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:
One form of contact information (phone number, electronic mail address, physical address)
Time of arrival
Time of departure
Table number or location
Attestation that the patron does not suffer any of the symptoms (excluding 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, such as caregivers or social supports to someone who lives alone. Those essential to maintaining physical and mental health can vary significantly based on the patron's life circumstances. For example:
Partners living in separate homes are an essential support to each other and can dine together. However, they should not dine with anyone else outside of their households.
A senior who lives alone may dine with someone they self-attest to be essential to their physical and mental health
Operators of establishments are required to ensure patrons have made the attestation; they're not required to validate the attestation
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. Appropriately and securely destroy those records after the one month retention 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
Ensure the workplace is arranged, such as spacing of stations and visual cues, to maximize the likelihood that employees will keep two metres distance from each other and from patrons at all times, whenever possible. For emphasis, employees on breaks should be facilitated to keep two metres distance from each other.
Ensure that no more than six people are seated at each table in an indoor or outdoor area. As of Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, the provincial government has changed this to four people at a table as Niagara is now in the "Restrict" level of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework.
Ensure that patrons are seated at all times except:
While entering the area and while moving to their table
While placing or picking up an order
While paying for an order
While exiting the area
While going to or returning from a washroom
While lining up to do anything described in sub-paragraphs a to e
Where 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 plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
Provide sufficient alcohol-based hand rub (minimum alcohol concentration of 70%) 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 in the event that they must isolate due to having symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19, or being a contact of COVID-19
Failure to comply with this order 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.
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 readily 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
The socializing of persons in food premises has been associated with significant spread of COVID-19 in Niagara 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 premises in Niagara and across Ontario have in some circumstances continued to work while COVID-19 symptomatic and infectious, putting others at risk in the workplace
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