COVID-19 Response Framework and Support for Businesses

Published on November 03, 2020

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, the government is releasing the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.

The framework takes a gradual approach that includes introducing preventative measures earlier to help avoid broader closures and allow for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally. It categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green - Prevent, Yellow - Protect, Orange - Restrict, Red - Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort. Each level outlines the types of public health and workplace safety measures for businesses and organizations at each level. These include targeted measures for specific sectors, institutions and other settings.

Public health units’ status and what to expect:

Each public health unit will be classified according to current framework indicators. These will be confirmed by the province on Friday, November 6, 2020 and become effective on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Final decisions on moving public health unit regions into the framework will be made by the government based on updated data and in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health and other health experts, and will be reviewed weekly.

Going forward, the government will continually assess the impact of public health measures applied to public health unit regions for 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods.

Data/Information website updates:

Enhancements are also being made to ontario.ca/coronavirus to include information about the spread of the virus, and public health and health system capacity. This includes local cases by public health unit regions, the total number of cases, resolved cases, deaths, and tests completed and how many are positive. This information will help to better support businesses, organizations and local communities’ access key information to prepare in advance for any changes in their region.

New supports for small businesses:

Our government is 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). The funding, being provided through the government’s Main Street Recovery Plan, will help cover fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.

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