If you are struggling to make sense of the grey areas of Ontario’s new colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, you are not alone. With Toronto entering the “Grey Zone” and the Lockdown officially upon us, many local business owners remain unclear as to whether their business is deemed “essential” or “nonessential.”
The Government of Ontario recently updated its COVID-19 Response Framework and outlined which businesses, organizations, and services are permitted to operate in Lockdown, many of which may only do so under modified conditions.
For the full list of businesses permitted to remain open and special conditions, you may access the resource here.
To avoid hefty fines and possible jail time, nonessential businesses (i.e., businesses not explicitly identified as being permitted to operate in Lockdown) must close temporarily or continue in a way that follows the mandatory guidelines. To put it simply: if you can go virtual, do it. Nonessential businesses should not have anyone working out of their offices at this time.
Nonessential businesses choosing to remain open under the assumption that they will not get caught or be held accountable for noncompliance; should note that the Government of Ontario has recently deployed 200 provincial offence and by-law officers to visit businesses, without notice, to ensure compliance with public health and safety requirements. These businesses should also be aware that employees or customers who have concerns regarding noncompliance may file their own complaints directly with the City of Toronto.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting Lockdown has put many businesses in a difficult position. TSERGAS Human Capital helps clients stay in business and plan for recovery. For assistance in “navigating the grey” or to create your Safety Plan, contact [email protected].
HR Business Partner
Cierra is an experienced human resources professional with a comprehensive background in recruitment and onboarding, contract writing, compensation and benefits, health and safety, and policy development.