Province Moving Back Into Step 3 – How Will Condos Be Affected?
As discussed in our recent blogs (here and here) and in light of the increasing COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, on January 5, 2022 Ontario moved back into Step 2 of its “Roadmap to Reopen”.
On January 20, 2022, Ontario announced that it would be slowly easing its restrictions and moving back into Step 3, on January 31, 2022. It plans to follow a cautious and phased approach to lifting the health measures with 21 days between each step – we are therefore expected to stay in this stage until February 21.
WHAT RESTRICTIONS ARE RELEVANT?
- Increased social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors
- Increased organized public event limits to 25 people indoors
There are a couple exceptions for members of a single household or members of a single household and someone who lives alone.
Sports and fitness
- Facilities used for indoor or outdoor recreational fitness activities can operate at 50% capacity (this is determined by taking 50% of the maximum occupant load of the facility as calculated in accordance with Ontario’s Fire Code), or less for participants to maintain a two-meter distance.
- A sign must be posted in a visible, conspicuous location that states the capacity limits.
- Condos must actively screen individuals who enter the facility in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health before they enter the facility.
- We read this to mean that self-screening is not permitted.
- Please refer to our earlier blog on screening for helpful tips on active screening.
- Record keeping of the name and contact information of those who enter the facility is no longer required.
- Indoor and outdoor spectators are required to wear a mask or face covering. All users who are not actively exercising should be wearing a mask (unless they fall within another mask exception listed in the Regulation).
Indoor and outdoor recreational amenities
- Recreational amenities may open if they are operating at 50% capacity or less for participants to maintain a two-meter distance.
- The rules applicable to Sports and Fitness (see above) must also be respected.
Washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers
- These are permitted to open but must be disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
- Proof of vaccination requirements continue to apply in existing settings.
The Regulation states that certain businesses and organizations are required to obtain from each “patron” proof of vaccination before entering certain areas. We’ve previously blogged (here and here) about our thoughts on the mandatory vaccine requirements applicability to condominiums. We continue to remain of the view that condominiums are not obligated to enforce proof of vaccination policies.
That said, condominiums may opt to pass a Rule establishing vaccination policies for residents using certain amenities. We can certainly assist in that regard.
- Condominiums must comply with screening requirements by posting signs at all entrances to the premises of the business or organization, in a visible, conspicuous location. These signs should inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises.
- Condominiums must continue to actively screen workers.
- Individuals are still required to wear a mask or face covering the nose, mouth and chin are still required in all interior common areas, subject to the usual exceptions (which can be viewed by consulting the Regulation), unless a two-meter distance can be maintained.
Since two-meter distancing may in many cases be difficult to guarantee, condominiums may adopt a mask Rule applicable in interior common elements despite distancing. You can read more about our thoughts on masking requirements in our previous blog post.
As we’ve continuously mentioned, while condominiums cannot implement measures that are contrary to provincial guidelines, they may adopt measures that are more restrictive.
Stay safe and stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on reopening Ontario!