COVID-19 public health measures and advice

Find out about the latest public health measures, advice and restrictions in your area as we continue to respond to covid 19. Stay home, stay safe, save lives.

Declaration of emergency and provincewide stay-at-home order

As covid 19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, a declaration of emergency and provincewide stay-at-home order are in effect as of Thursday, April 8, at 12:01 a.m.

This will help:

  • save lives
  • prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed
  • protect in-person learning and keep children in schools
  • allow for more time to vaccinate Ontarians
  • stop the spread of covid 19 in communities

This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts.

What this means

The covid 19 Response Framework (colour-coded zones) is paused.

We must all follow temporary restrictions and public health and workplace safety measures.

The impacts of these measures will be evaluated after 28 days to determine if it is safe to lift the restrictions or if they need to be extended.

Stay at home

As of April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., a stay-at-home order is in effect for all of Ontario.

This means you must stay at home. You should only go out for necessities, such as:

  • the grocery store or pharmacy
  • health care services (including going to medical appointments or getting vaccinated)
  • outdoor exercise or walking pets in your community
  • work that cannot be done remotely
  • child care or school

Businesses must ensure that all employees work from home if they can.

Do not travel outside your region or the province unless absolutely necessary.

Read the full list of reasons you can go out in the regulation (PDF).


You are not allowed to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with.

Limit close contact to only members of your household (the people you live with). If you live alone, you can have close contact with only one other household.

You must stay at least two metres apart from everyone else and wear a mask or face covering during permitted events or social gatherings.

You should not travel outside your region or the province unless absolutely necessary.

Gathering limits

All events and social gatherings:

  • Indoors: not allowed, except with members of your household (or one other household if you live alone)
  • Outside: 5 people

Religious, wedding and funeral services:

  • Indoors: 15% capacity of the room
  • Outside: the number of people that can keep two metres physical distance from each other
  • Receptions are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors

Stop the spread

You should always:

  • stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild
  • stay two metres apart from people you don’t live with
  • wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces or any time physical distancing is not possible
  • wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • get tested if you think you have symptoms or have been exposed to covid 19

You can also download the COVID Alert mobile app to protect yourself and your community.

What is open and closed

Below are some of the key public health and safety measures at this time.

For more information, read the:

All publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the April break on April 19, 2021. Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15, 2021.

Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.


With the exceptions below, most non-essential retailers may open:

  • for curbside pickup and delivery only, by appointment
  • between 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for sales, with delivery allowed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies

The following stores can open for in-person shopping at a maximum capacity of 50%:

  • supermarkets
  • grocery stores
  • convenience stores
  • pharmacies
  • farmers markets
  • other businesses that primarily sell food to the public

Discount and big box stores

Discount and big box stores can only open for in-person shopping for:

  • grocery items
  • pet care supplies
  • household cleaning supplies
  • pharmaceutical items
  • health care items
  • personal care items

Shopping malls

Shopping malls are only open:

  • for access to grocery stores, pharmacies, health care services (such as a dentist’s office) and government and court services
  • for picking up purchases from a designated pickup area, by appointment only
  • between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for access to stores or services
  • between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. for curbside pickup

Malls may have:

  • only one single designated location for pick-up inside
  • any number of designated pick-up locations outside

Garden centres, plant nurseries and greenhouses

Outdoor garden centres, plant nurseries and indoor greenhouses may open for in-person shopping:

  • at a maximum capacity of 25%
  • between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. only
  • curbside pickup is allowed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Cannabis stores


  • for curbside pickup only, by appointment, between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • to provide delivery between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m

Stores that sell liquor, beer, wine and spirits

Stores that sell liquor, including beer, wine and spirits may open for in-person shopping:

  • at a maximum capacity of 25%
  • between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. with delivery allowed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Other retail

In-store shopping is allowed by appointment only for:

  • safety supply stores
  • businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies
  • rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rentals
  • optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public
  • sales of motor vehicles, boats and other watercrafts
  • repair, essential maintenance and rental services for vehicles and equipment
  • telecommunications providers or service, for cellphone sales, repairs or technical support only

These retailers may open for in-store shopping:

  • at a maximum capacity of 25%
  • between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for sales, with delivery allowed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

Services available:

  • Take-out
  • Drive-through
  • Delivery


  • All indoor and outdoor dining

Night clubs and strip clubs only permitted to open if they operate as a food or drink establishment, for takeout, drive-through and delivery only.

Sports and recreation

Outdoor recreational amenities may open, including:

  • parks
  • cycling tracks and bike tracks
  • golf courses and outdoor driving ranges


  • Indoor and outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities (limited exceptions, for example, child care, access to physical therapy for people with disabilities)
  • Personal fitness and sports trainers

Meeting and event spaces

Closed for meetings and events (limited exceptions, for example child care, mental health and addiction support services)

Personal care services


Cinemas, performing arts facilities, casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments


Contact us

If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.