The Ontario Government has declared a State of Emergency, extended the Provincewide Shutdown, and put a Stay-at-Home Order in place. These are all anticipated to be in place until at least February 11, 2021.
Details can be found on the Ministry of Ontario Enhancing Public Health and Workplace Safety Measures in the Provincewide Shutdown website.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are by no means immune to the effects of COVID-19 here in the north. Public health measures are most effective when implemented early and are less effective when rates and numbers are already elevated.
COVID-19 illness and death are at the highest levels since the start of the pandemic and the modelling projections for Ontario as a whole don’t show improvement unless action is taken. New cases continue to be announced daily in the TBDHU region and there are still ongoing outbreaks. There has also been an increase in COVID-19 case numbers in other Northern Health Units which have the most similarity with TBDHU in the province.
The purpose of the shutdown is to limit the potential of community transmission as much as possible. We want to maintain a low rate of community spread of COVID-19 as this protects communities. It aims to avoid the possibility of opening for a short time and then having to shut businesses down again for a longer period of time. It makes it more likely that schools can stay open and ensures the ability of the health care system to manage.
The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. That said, broad categories have been provided that people should consider before leaving their home: food, health-care services including medication, exercise or work where someone’s job cannot be done at home.
The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. Legally defining what is essential risks cutting people off from goods that may legitimately be necessary for their health, well-being and safety.
Not every person in Ontario has easy access to online shopping or same day delivery, particularly those who live in rural and remote areas. It is important for people to still be able to access necessary goods.
The outdoor gathering limit of five is in recognition of the fact that some people live alone and may require the company or support of others for their mental and physical well-being. Anyone gathering outside is expected to adhere to physical distancing measures and are strongly urged to wear a mask.
Yes, those who live alone, as well as single parents, can have exclusive close contact with one other household. This is to support their mental health and well-being, as well as to ensure those requiring support continue to have access to essential caregivers.
The Stay-at-Home Order does not define what work or jobs are essential. Rather, it mandates that anyone who can work from home must now do so. For example, someone working in retail cannot do their job from home and would be permitted to go to work.
The Government of Ontario cannot review every job description to determine who can work from home. As such, employers are asked to use their best judgment and common sense to determine who can do so. If an employee believes they should be working from home, they can contact the Ministry of Labour to file a health and safety complaint.
Yes, exercise is considered an essential reason for leaving your home. What that means will be unique to each individual. Snowmobile, cross-country ski, dog sledding, snow-shoe, outdoor skating rinks/trails and tobogganing hills are permitted to open, subject to conditions. Ski hills are closed.
Ontarians should consult their local public health unit or municipality to find out what recreational amenities are open in their community. Remember to respect current gathering limits of no more than 5 people outdoors, only have close contact with those you live with, and wear a mask/face covering.
Domestic services, like housekeeping, cooking, indoor and outdoor cleaning and maintenance services are allowed but only to support children, seniors and vulnerable persons.
Real estate showings, including pre-sale construction, are only available by appointment. Open houses are prohibited.
Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services are available by appointment only. The same applies to the sale of all motor vehicles.
No. In-person driving instruction is not permitted, except for instruction for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.
Religious services, rites or ceremonies, as well as wedding and funeral services, are permitted so long as masks/face coverings are worn and physical distancing can be maintained. Capacity must be capped at 10 people both indoors and outdoors, regardless of the size of the venue.
Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are also permitted, subject to certain conditions. Virtual services are also permitted.
Dentists may continue to see patients for emergency and non-emergency appointments. Members of the public are only also permitted to enter a shopping mall that houses a dental office or pharmacy.
Registered massage therapists are regulated health professionals in Ontario and remain open, with reduced capacity, during the Stay-at-Home Order.
Right now, people are required to stay home and only leave for essential purposes. The Stay-at-Home Order states that traveling to a secondary residence is allowed if the individual intends to be at that residence for less than 24 hours and is there for one of the purposes set out in the order, such as emergency maintenance, or if the individual intends to stay at the residence for at least 14 days.
In the spirit of the stay-at-home order, travel within Ontario is not recommended.
If a person wishes to access a trailer at a seasonal campground, certain conditions must be met in order to be permitted to go. For example, they must be permitted to be there by the terms of a full season contract; have water, electricity, sewage disposal, etc. Such individuals are encouraged to call TBDHU at (807) 625-5900 or Toll-Free at 1-888-294-6630 and speak to a Public Health Inspector to discuss the conditions.
Ice fishing could be considered essential as it may be an important activity for mental health and potentially for accessing food.
If people are going to a private ice shack, they should only go with those in their household. People out fishing should not gather in groups of more than 5 people outdoors and should maintain physical distancing from those outside their household.
Ice shack rentals are permitted only to those living in the same household and not for overnight stays.
No. That said, Ontarians are asked to use their best judgement when leaving their home for essential reasons. They should limit the number of stores they go to and spend as little time outside of their home as possible.
Residents will have a duty to identify themselves when a police officer has "reasonable and probable grounds" that there has been a breach of the orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
While travel within the province is not recommended at this time, courier, postal, shipping, moving and delivery services remain open.
No. The province says that pre-arranged bookings for short-term rentals at hotels, motels, lodges, cabins, cottages, resorts are prohibited, with exceptions for housing requirements.