Province Announces Stage 2 of Reopening – Certain Services in Eastern Ontario (Including Ottawa, Kingston, Leeds, etc.) Can Resume and Restrictions on Social Gatherings Are Eased

The Ontario government has recently announced Stage 2 of Phase 1 of its plan for reopening the province.

Under Stage 2, the Province will authorize certain business to reopen and will ease restrictions on social gatherings in some regions across Ontario. The following services will be allowed to resume as of Friday, June 12, 2020:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

The government is adopting a region-based approach to reopening under Stage 2 (based on public health unit regions). This means, for example, that the above businesses/services in the Ottawa and Kingston regions (and elsewhere in Eastern Ontario) will be allowed to reopen, but the authorization does not yet extend to other regions such as the Greater Toronto Area. For the complete list of regions allowed to move into Stage 2 as of June 12, 2020, please click here.

We have received many questions from our readers on how the changes under Stage 2 may affect condominiums. We offer the following observations:

  1. Under Stage 2, all indoor and outdoor swimming pools without access to features such as slides and climbing structures will be allowed to reopen. The government’s Framework explicitly mentions pools located in “condo-parks”. While the term has not been clearly defined, we understand this to encompass all swimming pools (outdoor and indoor) within the condominium complex (as long as they do not have the above-noted features). In our view, this does not mean that condominiums are obligated to open their pools as of June 12th.  It will be up to each Board of Directors to decide – based upon safety considerations – whether or not it makes sense to open their particular pool(s).
  1. While the above-mentioned list includes “outdoor only recreational facilities, this category only encompasses facilities that operate “low contact attraction and activities” (e.g. paintball, mini-golf, archery ranges and go-cart tracks). The government’s Framework specifies that play structures and outdoor fitness equipment are to remain closed. Moreover, recreational activities or areas that do not allow for two-metre physical distancing between users will also not be authorized.
  1. Under Stage 2, the restrictions on social gatherings have been eased – with a maximum of 10 people now being allowed to gather at one time (from previously 5 people). This could have an impact on meetings, particularly in smaller condominium. However, our recommendation to Boards would be to continue proceeding with virtual meetings for the time being. Further, where an in-person meeting (of 10 people or less) is called, physical distancing protocols will have to be followed (as between attendees from different households).

Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments in condominium law!