Ontario’s new tiered approach to COVID-19 restrictions is a step in the right direction

Published November 3, 2020

Restaurants Canada welcomes the province’s move to reopen indoor dining in Ottawa, Peel and York Region on Nov. 7, and in Toronto on Nov. 14.

Ontario has unveiled a new colour-coded COVID-19 response framework intended to provide municipalities and public health units with clear criteria for when to ease or tighten restrictions.

This follows an open letter that Restaurants Canada sent to Premier Doug Ford, along with a coalition of 45 leaders from the province’s foodservice sector, calling for data transparency and industry consultation.

According to the criteria of the new tiered framework, indoor dining will be permitted in the jurisdictions where shut downs were imposed in October under modified Stage 2 restrictions.

Restaurants Canada welcomes this move to ease restrictions based on recently released transmission data and looks forward to engaging in further consultation around the new COVID-19 response framework to address industry concerns.

Upcoming changes to regions under modified Stage 2 restrictions

At the province’s daily press conference on Nov. 3, Premier Ford said that as of 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 7, Ottawa, Peel and York Region will move out of their current modified Stage 2 restrictions, which means indoor dining will once again be permitted in these regions.

The same will happen in Toronto a week later, on Nov. 14.

Support for businesses affected by COVID-19 public health measures

The Ontario government is also making $300 million available to businesses required to close or significantly restrict services in areas subject to modified Stage 2 public health restrictions (Ottawa, Peel, Toronto, and York Region) or, going forward, in areas categorized as under Control or Lockdown measures.

Rebates will cover the period of time that businesses are required to temporarily close or significantly restrict services as a result of being located in areas subject to the targeted modified Stage 2 public health restrictions or, going forward, in areas categorized as Control or Lockdown. The property tax rebates will be net of any federal support in respect of property taxes provided through the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), so that the rebate will cover costs beyond those covered by CERS.

Beginning Nov. 16, 2020, eligible businesses will be able to apply for temporary property tax and energy cost rebates directly from the province through a single, online application portal. The province has committed to make rebate payments available within a few weeks of finalizing and submitting a completed application. Eligible businesses include restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas.

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada, at jrilett@restaurantscanada.org or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4241.

Marlee Wasser

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