11/3/2020 2:30:20 PM
The premier announced that Ontario's stay-at-home order would be going into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, January 14. The stay-at-home order will remain in effect for at least 28 days. Unless an outing is considered essential, Ontario residents must stay home at all hours.
What is considered essential?
- The province has defined essential trips as accessing goods and services necessary for a person's health, safety, and wellbeing.
- Ontario's statement says it "cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province" due to people's unique circumstances.
- Businesses across the province must ensure that any employee who can work from home does work from home.
- Accessing "food, health-care services, including medication, exercise or work, and where someone's job cannot be done at home" are defined as essential trips.
- The government says non-essential construction, including below-grade projects, will be limited, exempting surveying.
If you are a business owner and have additional questions and concerns, please call the "Stop the Spread Business Information Line" available at 1-888-444-3659.
Is there a limit on the number of times someone can leave their home in a day?
- No, but all trips should be considered essential.
Is there a time limit for how long people can leave their homes?
- No, but the government said people should spend as little time as possible leaving their homes.
Why are outdoor gatherings of five people still allowed?
- The province recognizes that "some people live alone and may require the company or support of others for their mental and physical wellbeing," which is why these gatherings are still allowed.
- People living alone are also permitted to maintain close contact with one other household.
- However, Premier Ford said that "enforcement and inspections will increase" to prevent gatherings that exceed the limit.
- When physical distancing cannot be maintained, the province now recommends wearing face coverings outside.
- The outdoor gathering limits are consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in spring 2020 and allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
Is exercise considered essential, and what activities are allowed?
According to the province, exercise is permitted and varies from person to person.
- "Some may wish to go for a walk around the block, while others may wish to go to a local basketball court with their household to shoot some hoops," their statement says.
- Outdoor recreational skating is permitted, no hockey. If physical distancing is not maintained, wearing a face-covering is recommended.
How will the government know who is out for legitimate reasons and who isn't?
- The province said that residents would 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.
What about curbside pickup, is this allowed?
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m.
- The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery
Are daycares permitted to remain open?
- Childcare centres for non-school aged children will remain open.
- Emergency childcare for school-aged children will end in approved Public Health Unit regions on January 22, 2021, as these elementary schools return to in-person learning.
- Where in-person elementary school learning is suspended, emergency childcare will continue for eligible families in regions subject to school closures
Is a housekeeper still allowed in my home?
- Domestic services like housekeeping, cooking, indoor and outdoor cleaning and maintenance services are allowed to support children, seniors and vulnerable persons.
What about real estate showings?
- Real estate showings, including pre-sale construction, are only available by appointment.
- Open houses are prohibited.
Are restaurants still open for takeout and delivery?
- Restaurants and bars aren't affected by the new rules and can remain open for takeout, drive-thru, and delivery only.
Can I get my car serviced or buy a new vehicle?
- According to the government, 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.
Can I go to my cottage or secondary residence?
- Trips to the cottage or a secondary residence must be avoided unless it is essential for emergency maintenance because the government asks residents to stay home.
Are places of worship allowed to operate?
- The government says that religious services, rites or ceremonies, and wedding and funeral services are permitted so long as face coverings are worn and physical distancing can be maintained.
- Capacity must be capped at ten people both indoors and outdoors, regardless of the venue's size.
- Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are also permitted, subject to certain conditions.
- Virtual services are also permitted.
If you have questions about COVID-19, please contact Southwestern Public Health Call Centre at 1-800-922-0096 ext. 9.
Call Centre Hours:
Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday - Sunday 8:30am - 4:30pm
You can find a sector-specific breakdown of the province's new public health measures here.
Municipal Office/ Council Meetings
- The Municipal Office will be closed except by appointment only.
- Following Provincial guidelines, staff who can work from home will.
- Should a resident require an in-person appointment with a staff member, please call 519-485-0477.
- You can reach a staff member from their regular phone extensions during business hours.
- You can also arrange a meeting with a staff member virtually via zoom. Let us know, and we are more than happy to accommodate!
- The office continues to encourage electronic and online payments. You can drop off any payments at the office dropbox. The dropbox is located to the right of the Municipal Office doors, and we can mail you a receipt.
Business hours remain Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Council meetings are held virtually throughout the stay-at-home order. Please visit the SWOX website for details on upcoming Council meetings.
- Cancelled at this time are community hall rentals.
- All committee, community hall meetings etc., may be held virtually via Zoom during the provincial order.
- The office staff can assist with setting up your meetings, let us know if you require any assistance.
1. Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not permitted except with household members.
2. Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with): Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes. Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation
3. Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people outside your household
4. Maintain two metres of physical distancing from everyone outside of your household (with who you do not live)
5. If you cannot maintain physical distancing outside, a face-covering must be worn.
6. Face-coverings must be worn indoors
Only go out for essential reasons, such as:
- Healthcare services;
- Exercise and physical activity;
- Child care.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) continues to enforce the provincial stay-at-home orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, and the Reopening Ontario Act, by focusing on non-compliance in businesses and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five (5) people.
COVID-19 fines are as follows:
- $750.00 for failing to comply with an order;
- $1000.000 for preventing others (including individuals, employees or other workers from following an order
- Maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for a corporation
- Failure to follow COVID-19 rules and regulations may result in prosecution or jail time.
- In the absence of a complaint or other grounds, officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking COVID-19 compliance with the order. Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work. Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe an individual is violating the provincial act.
- The OPP asks that 9-1-1 be used for emergency purposes ONLU. If you have questions about the Stay-At-Home order, or wish to learn more about COVID-19 support services call the hotline 2-1-1 for assistance.
COVID-19 Assessment Centres
SWPH information on COVID-19 Assessment Centres
All appointments must be made in advance.
1. Woodstock Hospital Assessment Centre;
2. Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital Assessment Centre;
3. Alexandra Hospital Ingersoll Assessment Centre;
Patients must call to book an appointment: 1-855-905-6148
Select pharmacies in Woodstock also offer testing by appointment only for individuals NOT showing symptoms. Please call the pharmacy to book an appointment for testing.
1. Woodstock Shoppers Drug Mart at Dundas and Vansittart: 519-537-3491
2. Huron Street Dispensary Pharmasave: 519-539-2888
To learn more about COVID-19 visit SWPH COVID-19 frequently asked questions.
The Government of Ontario’s News Release
COVID-19 E-News Sign Up
COVID-19 Self-Assessment Form
COVID-19 Assessment Centres: Oxford, Elgin, St. Thomas
COVID-19 Complaint Process and Advice