Posted on January 13th, 2021 by Michelle DeLuca in General Business, Human Resources Advisory

Stay-at-home Order: What Businesses Need to Know

illustration of a house with the words stay home inside and virus particles floating around the outside
Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the Provincial Government is implementing a stay-at-home order requiring Ontarians to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes which include going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care, exercise, or essential work. 
In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home. These new public health measures are aimed at helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 by reducing mobility. 
In addition to further restrictions related to public and social gatherings, the following public health measures will also be enacted as they relate to businesses:
  • Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
  • 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.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey. (Source:
Anyone who chooses not to abide by these orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, (ROA) and Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, (EMCPA).  
Additionally, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and the Province of Ontario have enacted the “Stay Safe All Day” campaign. These efforts direct attention to workplace safety and compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols and best practices. This campaign focuses mainly on the following businesses/industries:
  • Businesses with reported COVID-19 outbreaks;
  • Manufacturing and distribution centres;
  • Warehouses
  • Food processing;
  • Construction projects/sites; and
  • Publicly accessible workplaces (i.e. grocery stores).
These new measures have likely raised some questions for you, and our Human Resources Advisory team can assist you in:
  • Developing or updating workplace policies (i.e., work from home policy)
  • Making accommodations for employees who must stay home to care for a child involved in online learning or because they are in a high risk group related to COVID-19
  • Making sure you have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place and ensuring you are compliant in meeting your obligations in order to reduce risk and avoid fines/penalties
  • Proactively preparing your workplace for a potential Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspection related to the “Stay Safe All Day” campaign and/or routine COVID-19 visits 
Please reach out to with your questions or to schedule a call to address any questions that you have.
More articles related to COVID-19: Business Resource Centre

About the Author

Michelle DeLucaSenior Human Resources Consultant |

Michelle has 15 years experience working in Human Resources in the areas of recruitment and talent development and is working towards her Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.
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