COVID-19 Operational Restrictions

The pandemic has required government to utilize various emergency legislative and policy tools in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This includes measures such as declarations of an emergency, implementing stay-at-home orders, and instituting operational restrictions and requirements for commercial and recreational activities. Please see below for a list of measures impacting business operations currently in effect.

Hamilton is currently in: Step One Reopening

It is important to be familiar with what the current operational restrictions mean for your business.

The provincial government’s Roadmap to Reopen plan includes specific provisions and guidelines for businesses, organizations and services permitted to operate in addition to safe operation requirements.

Review the Roadmap to Reopen Steps to understand what restrictions are currently in place.

On May 20, the Ontario government released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators.

Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:

  • Step One: An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.
  • Step Two: Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.
  • Step Three: Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.

The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days, the following vaccination thresholds have been met, along with positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move to the next step:

  • Step 1: 60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose.
  • Step 2: 70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses.
  • Step 3: 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses.

Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of Step One.

The provincewide emergency brake restrictions remain in effect while the province assesses when it will be moving to Step One of the roadmap with the Stay at Home order expiring on June 2, 2021.

Click here for the full announcement.

In Ontario, a declaration of emergency made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (“EMCPA”), as well as any emergency orders adopted under the EMCPA, are periodically reviewed and renewed, as required. Recognizing that there will likely be a continued need to manage the public health risks and effects of COVID-19 well beyond the initially declared emergency, the Ontario government passed Bill 195, now known as the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.

The Reopening Ontario Act does not allow for the creation of new emergency orders under the Act. However, the continued orders may be amended by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, but only if the amendment requires persons to act in compliance with the advice, recommendations or instruction of a public health official and the amendment relates to one of the following subject matters:

  • Closing or regulating any place, whether public or private, including any business, office, school, hospital or other establishment or institution;
  • Providing for rules or practices related to workplaces or the management of workplaces, or authorizing the person responsible for a workplace to identify staffing priorities or to develop, modify or implement redeployment plans or rules or practices that relate to the workplace or the management of the workplace, including credentialing processes in a health care facility; or
  • Prohibiting or regulating gatherings and organized public events.

Click here for the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA), 2020, S.O. 2020, c. 17.

The City of Hamilton Public Health Services issued a Health Promotion and Protection Act Section 22 Class Order, to break the chain of transmission within local workplaces where COVID-19 or its variants are determined to be spreading.

The Order is now in effect.

The order will require:

  • Employers to notify Public Health Services if two or more cases of COVID-19 are identified within a 14-day period among those who attend the workplace by calling the Public Health Services COVID-19 Hotline at 905-974-9848, option 6, daily 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or after-hours at 905-546-2489.
  • Employers must also notify Public Health Services when five or more cases of COVID-19 are identified within a 14-day period among persons who attend the workplace.
  • The closure of certain workplaces, or parts of workplaces, where five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases are confirmed within a 14-day period and where cases could reasonable have been acquired through infection in the workplace.
  • A workplace closure to be in effect for a minimum period of 10 calendar days.
  • Workplaces subject to closure to post signage provided by Public Health Services at all entrances to the premises.
  • Workers at the closed workplace, or parts of workplaces, to self-isolate where exposures and potential transmission are considered widespread.

These measures may include the full or partial closures of workplaces. Certain workplaces may be exempt from the full closure requirement.

Click here for full details on the Section 22 Class Order including owner/operator requirements and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Businesses and workplaces that have questions regarding this announcement can email phscovid19@hamilton.ca

Face Coverings By-law (20-155), as amended;

Wearing a mask or face covering will be required in enclosed public spaces under City of Hamilton By-Law 20-155 and City of Hamilton By-law 20-202. The mask or face covering should cover your nose, mouth and chin, without gaping. Wearing a mask or face covering is an additional measure we can take to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and keep each other safe. This means that, with some exceptions, all persons, including customers and/or visitors entering an enclosed premise are required to wear a mask or face covering while in the enclosed space.

Click here to learn more about face coverings and masks.

Physical Distancing By-law (20-164), as amended;

Every person shall maintain a distance of at least two (2) metres from every other person who is not a member of the same household when in a Public Space under the City of Hamilton By-law 20-164.

Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health has recommended physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining a distance of at least two (2) metres from other individuals who are not members of the same household or who are not members of the same social circle.

Sector-Specific Guidance

On June 11, Ontario entered Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen. See below a list of sector-specific guidelines for common settings and how they impact your workplace. 

For additional sector-specific information, visit the City of Hamilton’s COVID restrictions page or the Government of Ontario’s sector-specific guidelines.

Learn more about local COVID-19 restrictions and general regulations at hamilton.ca/publicplaces.

  • May be open for outdoor dining, take-out, drive-through, and delivery services only.
  • Outdoor capacity limits must be posted and are based on physical distancing requirements.
  • Tables must be at least 2 metres apart from one another or separated by a barrier.
  • Maximum of 4 people per table outdoors unless everyone seated at the able is:
    • A member of the same household
    • A member of up to one other household who lives alone, or
    • A caregiver for any member of either household
  • If the outdoor dining area is covered, at least two full sides of the dining area must be open to the outdoors.
  • If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof and the roof is retracted, at least one full side of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors.
  • Dine-in patrons must be seated at all times, with limited exceptions (e.g. using the washroom, paying)
  • Buffets are not permitted.
  • Actively screen anyone who works in the establishment as well as dine-in customers.
  • Ensure employees wear appropriate face coverings or personal protective equipment.
    • Servers, required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask/face covering are required to wear a medical/surgical mask and eye protection.
    • Servers required to come within 2 metres of another person who is wearing a mask/face covering are highly recommended to wear a medical/surgical mask and eye protection.
  • The volume of music must be limited to permit a normal conversation.
  • No dancing, singing or live music at the establishment.
  • Contact information must be collected and stored securely for 30 calendar days from every patron in the outdoor dining area (unless temporarily entering the area to place, pick up or pay for a take-out order).
  • A written safety plan must be readily available and visibly posted.
  • Post at entrances and in a visible location to the public:

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


Additional Resources

  • Ensure that the number of workers permitted on a construction site is based on the ability to physically distance at least 2 metres from others (try to limit to the fewest number of people required to complete the task safely).
  • Make sure the correct type of face covering/PPE is worn for the job being performed.
  • Continue having construction workers who wear PPE for protection against workplace hazards aside from COVID-19 to use that PPE as required (e.g. respirators for wood dust or silica, gloves for handling chemicals or protecting from cuts).
  • Medical masks and eye protection (e.g. face shield or goggles) are recommended indoors AND outdoors any time that 2 metres of physical distance cannot be maintained.
  • Ensure workers have access to soap and water (or hand cleanser to remove grease, grime and oil and hand sanitizer if water is not available).
  • A written safety plan must be readily available and visibly posted.


Additional Resources

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Indoor facilities are closed.
  • Outdoor team sports are limited to training only is permitted (no scrimmages or games).
  • No contact permitted for team or individual sports.
  • A maximum of 10 patrons are permitted for outdoor fitness, personal training and sports training.
  • Sports clubs should review the sport return guidelines and follow the advice from the Provincial Sport Organizations.
  • Participants must maintain a minimum of 3 metres distance from all other individuals.
  • Names and contact information must be collected from all patrons and stored securely for at least 30 calendar days.
  • Active screening of patrons is required.
  • Hamilton Public Health Services strongly recommends assigned spaces for organized fitness classes (e.g. by marking circles on the ground to designate where each person should exercise).
  • A written safety plan must be readily available.
  • Permits are required for use of public property. Please visit this page for information on how to book a recreation facility.
  • Maximum 15% capacity for non-essential retail.
  • Maximum 25% capacity for essential retail.
  • Retail stores in malls are closed unless the stores are deemed essential (e.g. pharmacy, supermarket) or have a street facing entrance.
  • Malls can designate a single location inside the mall and multiple locations outside the mall to pick up orders. Appointments are required for indoor pick-up.
  • Stores must post at all entrances
  • Face coverings or masks must be worn indoors and physical distancing (of at least 2 metres) must be maintained indoors and outdoors while in line ups or congregating outside of an establishment.
  • Limit the volume of music (no louder than the volume of a normal conversation).
  • Passive screening for patrons at all retail except malls
  • Malls must actively screen patrons prior to entering
  • Active screening for staff at all retail
  • A written safety plan must be readily available and visibly posted






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • The number of persons permitted is up to a maximum of 15% of room capacity indoors (this includes, priests, ministers, alter-servers, etc.)
  • Outdoor limits are based on the ability to maintain a physical distance of 2 metres between individuals
  • The maximum number of people at a reception for weddings, funerals or other is 10 people outdoors, while indoors is limited to household members only.
  • Face coverings or masks must be worn indoors
  • Face coverings or masks are required outdoors when 2 metres of distance cannot be maintained from others
  • Actively screen every person who works at the organization before they enter the premises
  • Post at entrances and in a visible location to the public:
  • Hamilton Public Health strongly encourages keeping a detailed attendance record for contact tracing (name, date, time/event and email or phone number). Record and store contact information securely for 30 calendar days for all members of the public visiting the facility, including members of the congregation, visitors, and contractors.
  • Social gatherings before or after in-person services limited to 10 people outdoors with physical distancing
  • Hamilton Public Health Services strongly recommends adapting or suspending activities that increase the risk of disease transmission such as singing, choirs and playing wind or brass instruments.
  • If singing or playing brass/wind instruments, ensure that there is at least 3 metres of distance between the performer and all other individuals. Consider use of a plexiglass barrier where available as an additional layer of protection.
  • For rites requiring close contact (e.g. baptism, circumcision), wear a medical mask and eye protection (i.e. face shield or goggles). Do not share personal protective equipment.
  • A written safety plan must be readily available and visibly posted
  • Instructional space for the in-person teaching and instruction must be outdoors.
  • Outdoor instruction is limited to a 10-student maximum
  • All students must maintain at least 2 metres distance from all other students except when necessary to provide effective instruction.
  • All students and employees must be actively screened prior to entering the premises
  • A written safety plan must be readily available and visibly posted
  • If the teaching or instruction involves singing or the playing of wind or brass instruments, then every person who is singing or playing must be separated from every other person by plexiglass (a non-permeable barrier) OR must be at least 3 metres away from every other person in the instructional space.
  • Names and contact information must be collected from all attendees and stored securely for at least 30 calendar days.


  • Indoor pools, indoor whirlpools, communal steam rooms, saunas and water parks are closed.
  • Outdoor pools and recreational water facilities are permitted to operate (e.g. in condos, recreation centres, hotels, motels, campgrounds, marinas and resorts).
  • Use of sensory deprivation pods may only be permitted for therapeutic purposes only and must be prescribed by, or administered by, a regulated health professional.
  • Clubhouses may only open only for pools and other water amenities, washrooms, equipment storage or first aid.
  • Actively screen employees and customers.
  • Face coverings are required at all times while in an establishment, (e.g. change rooms and washrooms), but may be removed outdoors provided you can keep 2 metres from others; no masks are required in the pool.
  • Ensure team sports (e.g., water polo, etc.) are not played. (Training is permitted as long as it does not include games or scrimmages).
  • A written safety plan must be readily available.