COVID-19 Information Centre

This page is the primary resource for everyone at Loyalist College for information about our response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. We will continue to follow the advice of our public health authorities and the Government of Ontario as the situation evolves. Please check back to this page often for updates.

Updated: April 8, 2021


Thinking about coming to campus? 

Click the circle to learn everything you need to know about accessing campus, including:

  • Prior to Arrival Information
  • On-Campus Processes & Procedures
  • Mandatory Face Masks
  • Travelling to Campus
  • Social Distancing Maps: Kente & Pioneer Buildings
  • Parking

 


Key Updates


Message from the President

DATE: April 8, 2021

SUBJECT: What the Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order means for our Loyalist College Community

Dear College Community, 

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge at an alarming rate, the Ontario Government announced yesterday they are enacting a third Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home order, effective today, which will be in place for at least four weeks.  

What this means is admission to campus will only be granted to individuals from the College’s region, and adjacent regions from Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit to Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Access to Loyalist College facilities will be limited to the small number of students and employees who were previously approved to attend in-person classes and labs, and are not at risk of having COVID-19. Students, faculty and staff living in any other region are strictly prohibited.

Given the rapid rise in transmission, and increasing risks posed by new COVID-19 variants, we are asking students and employees who are in the region to please stay home unless it is absolutely essential for you to be on campus.

In compliance with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities guidelines, everyone on campus must abide by Loyalist College’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policy:  

  • A mask must be properly worn in all public areas at all times, with the addition of a visor or goggles when two meters or less from another person for anything more than a brief period.  

Infractions:  

  • Given the current rate of infection in the local health unit, effective immediately, an individual found to be out of compliance with Loyalist College’s PPE policy will be asked to immediately leave the property, with no possibility of return for 24 hours. Access to campus will be reinstated after that period, when the individual has also agreed to adhere to Loyalist College PPE protocols. Any subsequent infraction will result in disciplinary action. 

PPE Policy Enforcement:  

  • A reminder that responsibility for enforcing PPE usage lies with Security and managers (for employees). If you have concerns that an individual is not wearing PPE, please speak with Security or your manager rather than confronting the person. While it is rare, an individual may have a valid medical exemption. 

In the case of a medical requirement for a mask exemption: 

  • Students must speak with AccessAbility Services to obtain a personal non-transferable pass prior to attending class or a lab. You are still required to wear a face shield. 
  • Employees must speak with Occupational Health and Safety prior to working on campus in order to obtain a personal, non-transferable pass. You are still required to wear a face shield. 

College Operations:

  • Bistro and food services will be closed for indoor dining, and only open for takeout
  • Loyalist College Bookstore will move online and be closed to retail traffic. 
  • The Fitness Centre and Library remain closed. 

Student Residents: 

  • Residences remain open and any changes related to the Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home measures will be communicated directly with you. All students and staff in Residences must follow Public Health guidelines, including wearing masks or face coverings in all common areas. For questions regarding Residence, please contact residence@loyalistcollege.com

For general information, please visit: 

Since our College campus became a Hastings Prince Edward Public Regional Immunization Centre at the beginning of March, over 36,000 vaccines have been administered and over 3,000 individuals in our community have been fully vaccinated. While we are making steady progress towards post-COVID recovery, the virus and its new variants are a growing concern in our region and across the province.  

Thank you in advance for remaining diligent in following Public Health guidelines, and ensuring we protect ourselves and our community. For those who are finding it difficult to cope with the uncertainty of the situation, we have mental wellness supports for students as well as for employees and their families readily available. 

Please take care, and be safe! 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan 
President & CEO
Loyalist College 


SUBJECT: Impacts of province-wide emergency brake shutdown for Loyalist College

DATE: April 2, 2021

Dear College Community,

In response to the concerning surge in COVID-19 cases, and in order to protect our health care system, as well as the safety of our communities, the Ontario Government has announced a province-wide emergency brake shutdown, effective Saturday, April 3 at 12:01 am for at least four weeks.

While the emergency brake measures will not change the current state of learning and working at Loyalist College, we want to reinforce that if coming to campus is not essential, please stay home.

In compliance with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities guidelines, access to campus continues to be limited to:

  • Students in programs deemed to be providing an essential service to the community who have managed their risk adequately and have approval to come to campus/clinical to complete their studies. Any changes related to the new restrictions will be communicated directly to students by their school office.
  • Employees who are considered essential to campus operations and supporting students. Any changes to work schedules or locations because of the new restrictions will be communicated directly by their manager. 

Anyone who is on campus for any of the above essential reasons must wear a mask or face covering in all indoor and outdoor areas.

For the small number of students and employees planning to be on campus, please note the shutdown will impact some College operations, including:

  • Bistro seating, which will be closed, and food services may also need to close, pending further review;
  • Loyalist College Bookstore capacity. Please contact the store directly at bstore@loyalistcollege.com or 613-969-1913, ext. 2218; and
  • The Fitness Centre and Library, which will remain closed.

In-person teaching (each instructional space at the institution at one time) and in-person examinations cannot exceed 10 students, with limited exemptions, such as Social Service Worker, Nursing, Paramedic and Personal Support Worker. For program-specific questions, please contact your program coordinator or School. 

Student Residents:

  • Residences remain open and any changes related to the province-wide emergency brake measures will be communicated directly with student residents. All students and staff in Residences must follow Public Health guidelines. For questions regarding Residence, please contact residence@loyalistcollege.com.

International Students:

  • There have been no changes to the arrival of international students at Loyalist College, which is a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) with a government-approved COVID-19 readiness plan. 

For general information, please visit:

I know the fluidity of this situation is unsettling, and we’re all so ready to be back on campus – and that’s why it’s so important to continue adhering to Public Health guidelines – so we can all safely get through this pandemic. I want to remind students of the mental wellness supports readily available to you.

Please stay safe and ensure you take some time to rest and recharge this long weekend!

Sincerely,

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan
President and CEO
Loyalist College


SUBJECT: Supporting Students with Ancillary Fee Credit

DATE: March 30, 2021

Dear Students,

At Loyalist College, cultivating a caring, supportive learning environment is at the forefront of our planning. We know your academic and student life experience this year has been very different from what we all envisioned, and I don’t think any of us imagined we would still be manoeuvring through the COVID-19 pandemic over a year later. We want to recognize the remarkable perseverance and patience you have shown in the face of this pandemic, and the dedication to your studies throughout is truly commendable.

We understand the financial burden many of you carry has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and we want to help – whatever way we can. With this in mind, the College, in partnership with Student Government, has decided to provide an ancillary fee credit to students studying at the Belleville and Bancroft campuses and Port Hope satellite location.

The credit for full-time Belleville campus students will be approximately $200 per student. Returning students will receive a credit to their myFee account and graduating students will receive a cheque in the mail by summer. 

As individual ancillary fee schedules vary, the precise amount credited to each student’s account will be commensurate with the fee schedule students have paid. What this means is that:

  • Part-time domestic and international students, and Bancroft and Port Hope students will have their credit amounts prorated.
  • Full-time international students will receive an additional 5%, relative to their higher fees. Please ensure you have a Canadian address on file.

The credit does not apply to Continuing and Distance Education students or Toronto campus students.

With our students’ success and well-being top of mind, Loyalist College faculty and staff have worked diligently to ensure you remain safe while still receiving the quality academic experience for which Loyalist College is known. Some of the pivots we’ve made include, but are not limited to, investing in new, online Student Success Services, offering individual IT supports, creating a Student Remote Learning Kitand moving the Student Food Cupboard online with curbside pick-up. In addition, we’ve reconfigured College facilities to ensure physical distancing, increased security and screening measures, and enhanced PPE and critical cleaning products and processes.

I believe we offer the most extensive and personalized services in the system; however, we recognize the scope of services delivered this year look different than what we all expected pre-pandemic.

We hope this credit is helpful and speaks to our commitment to supporting your success. We care about you, and will continue to do everything we can to empower you on your personal journey to a rewarding career destination.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan,
President and CEO
Loyalist College


SUBJECT: Loyalist College Planning for a Safe Return to In-Person Learning for Fall 2021

DATE: March 10, 2021

Dear College Community,

This Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the date we suspended normal College operations in 2020. It has been an exceptionally challenging year for everyone, especially students, many of whom have had to adapt to new ways of learning, being apart from friends and family, and precarious employment.

We are, however, very encouraged that our region is moving towards COVID-19 pandemic recovery. Since Loyalist College opened its doors as a Hastings Prince Edward (HPE) Public Health immunization clinic last Monday, vaccine administration has quickly ramped up.  As of today, almost 10,000 vaccines have been administered in the HPE community, at a few different locations. Almost 800 individuals have been fully immunized against COVID-19, meaning they’ve received both doses of the vaccine.

Coupled with this, COVID-19 case numbers have remained low in our Hastings Prince Edward region throughout the pandemic and since returning to the ‘Green – Prevent’ zone on February 10. Given this progress, and with community health and safety top of mind, I wanted to let you know Loyalist College is planning for a safe return to campus and in-person learning for the Fall 2021 semester. We know students are eager to return to campus, and I personally cannot wait to safely reconnect with you all in person!

We will be prepared to shift once again to multiple forms of delivery upon the advice of HPE Public Health.  At this point, we are very encouraged and optimistic, and are planning for a safe return to campus.  We also know that some students preferred the flexibility of remote delivery and our students should see some of those continued offerings that allow them, wherever they are, to advance their careers through programs at Loyalist College.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will be working very closely with the Government of Ontario and our HPE Public Health partners to ensure we adhere to the necessary measures to protect our College community while providing students with a range of learning options.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our College faculty, staff and students who have been supporting frontline efforts. We so appreciate the hard work and long hours you’ve committed to supporting this crucial vaccination phase. Years from now, you will be able to tell the remarkable story of how you played a pivotal role in protecting our community at this most critical time.

I was so pleased to join our amazing volunteers, staff, and health care partners in sharing welcoming remarks at the official launch of the HPE Public Health Immunization Centre last Monday. At this time, vaccines are currently being offered to Phase 1 priority populations, which includes residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes, and health care workers who have been identified as having highest or very high risk. Pilot projects have begun to offer vaccinations to individuals 80 years and over, and appointment booking using the provincial booking system will open for all individuals 80+ beginning on March 15.

While we are beginning to feel cautiously optimistic, we recognize the future still holds many uncertainties. For students who are experiencing stress and anxiety, I want to remind you of the mental wellness supports available. Our caring faculty and staff are always here for you if you need someone with whom to talk.

For more information:

As has been my promise throughout the pandemic, I will provide you with updates as soon as they become available.

Please take care,

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan
President & CEO
Loyalist College


SUBJECT: Loyalist College to Become Immunization Centre

DATE: February 23, 2021

Dear College Community,

I am delighted to share some good news with you today – we have confirmed that our Loyalist College campus will become a regional immunization centre. Our incredible team of faculty and staff are actively working with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) to get our immunization centre up and running on Monday, March 1.

This is a wonderful moment for our College, and will allow our faculty, staff and students to shine while being actively engaged in efforts to protect our community. It has been quite remarkable to see how Team Loyalist continues to support frontline efforts in so many ways and I couldn’t be more proud of this team.

For now, this will be one of the smaller clinics aimed at immunizing specific priority populations listed in Phase One of HPEPH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out Plan. The clinics in the next month will be for staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes as well as high-risk health care workers. From there we will then immunize other populations listed in Phase One, such as individuals 80 years and over. Once the provincial criteria expands and vaccine availability increases, we hope to conduct larger clinics.

The clinic will be run out of the gym and dining hall facility but will not impact the bistro or food services pathway. 

Effective Monday, March 1, we ask that essential faculty, staff and students who have approval to be on campus please refrain from using P5 and P6 parking lots so that we can support those individuals who need access to the clinic. In addition, parking will be deemed general, with no designated staff and student parking.

At this time, HPEPH will be reaching out directly to identified populations who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Hastings Prince Edward Public Health and all faculty and staff involved in responding to this need and making it happen so quickly and seamlessly.

For more information:

In the meantime, we know the COVID-19 situation continues to be challenging so I want to remind you of the mental wellness student supports that are available.

Please take care,

Ann Marie Vaughan
President and CEO
Loyalist College


SUBJECT: Update on protocols for travelling in and out of Grey (Lockdown) and Red (Control) zones

DATE: February 18, 2021

Dear College Community, 

I hope you had a restful, safe long weekend.

Now that the Province has returned to the colour coded regional COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe, I wanted to provide an update on campus safety procedures.

The health and safety of our College campus and surrounding communities is paramount and we want to maintain the lower level of risk we have achieved in our ‘Green – Prevent’ zone.

Since there are many students, faculty and staff travelling to and from campus from other regions, we have reinstated College protocols regarding travel in and out of ‘Grey – Lockdown’ and/or ‘Red – Control’ zones, effective immediately.

What this means is that any individual who has travelled to any Grey/Red zones in the past 14 days will be denied entry on campus so that we can further minimize unnecessary risk to the College community 

There are however a few exceptions that are permissible, including:

  1. Students Living off Campus or in Residence who:
  • Prior to departure to a Grey/Red zone, seek and receive approval from the Health Centre to facilitate essential activities like family funerals, non-elective medical appointments, or family illness with risk of imminent decline in the family member. If you live in Residence, you should also seek approval from the Residence Manager.

Students in essential programs who are living in a Grey or Red zone may wish to explore the option of staying in Residence or other local accommodations.

  1. Students Living in Residence must either:
  • Isolate in Residence for 5-7 days. Access to the Pioneer and Kente buildings is not permitted. Residents must schedule a COVID test, receive a negative result dated between day 5-7 and be cleared for class, while continuing to self-monitor for symptoms for the remaining 7 days. 

OR 

  • Present to both the Residence Manager and Loyalist Health Centre a negative COVID test dated no earlier than 3 days prior to arrival and be symptom-free while continuing to self-monitor for symptoms for the remaining 7 days. 

OR 

  • Isolate in Residence for 14 days. 

For questions regarding Residence, please contact residence@loyalistcollege.com.

  1. Employees who:
  • Are considered essential to campus operations and supporting students. Any changes to work schedules or locations will be communicated directly by the manager.

Limited food services are open.

While we are fortunate to have a low number of COVID-19 cases in our communities, we must still operate with caution, recognizing the continued risk posed by COVID-19 and its new variants. In order to prevent further transmission and protect our regional health care system, the Government of Ontario recommends following these public health measures.

For more information:

Please know we are here for you and there are mental wellness student supports in place. Our caring faculty and staff are also available if you need someone to talk to. 

Please take care,

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan 
President and CEO
Loyalist College


SUBJECT: Updates on Spring/Summer Program Delivery and Implications of Ontario Returning to Colour-Coded Regional Response Framework

DATE: February 10, 2021

Dear College Community, 

I hope this finds you safe and well. 

It is comforting to know that the low number of COVID-19 cases in our communities means Hastings Prince Edward is one of the first regions in Ontario to have reopened, as of today. 

That said, for the next several months, as vaccines roll out, we will need to remain vigilant in following safety protocols. With health and wellness top of mind, I wanted to let you know that our Spring/Summer 2021 program delivery will look very similar to our Winter 2021 program deliveryMany programs will be blended delivery, combining remote and small in-class applied learning, while others will be all remote. We will share with you the Spring/Summer program delivery schedule in the coming weeks. If you have any program-specific questions before then, please contact your program coordinator or School.

On Monday, the Government of Ontario announced that they let the State of Emergency expire on February 9, and the province has now moved to a revised and strengthened regional COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe. As mentioned above, our Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region has moved into the “Green – Prevent” zone.

However, Loyalist College will continue to follow the broader “Grey” zone Stay-at-Home order until the province moves out of Shutdown because so many of our students and employees travel to and from other regions.

In order to ensure we protect campus health and safety, we are advising faculty, staff and students to continue to stay home as much as possible.

Please come to campus only if it is essential. In compliance with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities guidelines, access to campus is limited to:

  • Students in programs deemed to be providing an essential service to the community who have managed their risk adequately and have approval to come to campus/clinical to complete their studies.
  • Employees who are considered essential to campus operations and supporting students. Any changes to work schedules or locations because of the new restrictions will be communicated directly by the manager. 
  • In-person teaching (each instructional space at the institution at one time) and in-person examinations cannot exceed 10 students, with limited exemptions, such as Social Service Worker, Nursing, Paramedic and Personal Support Worker.

In the coming days, we will provide an update on when some campus services, such as Food Services and the Bookstore, will reopen.

While we have moved into the “Green” zone, we must still operate with an abundance of caution, recognizing the continued risks posed by COVID-19 and its new variants. In order to prevent further transmission and protect our regional health care system, the Government of Ontario recommends the following public health measures:

  • Stay home as much as possible, especially if you have any symptoms;
  • Wear a mask where physical distancing is not possible, both indoors and outdoors;
  • Avoid travel except for essential reasons;
  • Limit close contact to your household and avoid social gatherings;
  • Wash your hands and surfaces thoroughly and regularly; and
  • Cover your cough and/or sneezes.

Should our region experience a rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if the health care system risks becoming overwhelmed again, Ontario has introduced a new‘emergency brake’ for immediate action. For the full update, please read the Government of Ontario’s news release

For general information, please visit:

Coping with the challenges of this ongoing global health crisis can be difficult, particularly during these cold, dark winter months. I want to remind you of the mental wellness student supports available, and encourage you to reach out to our caring faculty and staff members, or your peers, if you need someone to talk to. We are all here for you – and each other. 

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with updates as they become available. 

Stay safe,

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan 
President and CEO
Loyalist College


 

ADDITIONAL COMMUNICATIONS


Keeping Our Community Safe

 

Creating and ensuring a safe working and learning environment is of the utmost importance to Loyalist College. Our Pandemic Committee has been working closely with our Public Health partners as well as our own Student Health Centre medical personnel, faculty with expertise in infectious disease, and occupational health and safety professionals, to protect our students, employees and partners.

 

Loyalist has taken very strict preventative safety measures, including:

  • Reconfiguring our facilities to ensure physical distancing;
  • Increasing security and introducing an app to track the arrival and exit of all individuals at limited entry and exit points;
  • Providing complimentary face masks to those on campus and requiring face masks to be worn;
  • Increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations located throughout campus and disinfectant wipes in classrooms and labs;
  • Posting hand washing guidelines in washrooms;
  • Stocking PPE and critical cleaning products such as wipes, replacement hand sanitizer solution, masks, gloves, and soap;
  • Redesigning our Student Success services online to easily connect students with mentors, resources and informational sessions;
  • Having employees work from home where possible to meet business needs remotely;
  • Closing public gathering spaces;
  • Offering student residents single occupancy rooms only within units of students in the same programs, where possible;
  • Providing detailed training documentation on the processes and protocols of returning to campus;
  • Introducing a COVID-19 testing facility on campus to support students and employees;
  • Establishing quarantine facilities to provide student accommodations in the event a student tests positive for COVID-19; and
  • Ensuring that any students who arrive from outside the country complete a 14-day off-campus quarantine period prior to being allowed on campus.

The health and safety of our College community, including our industry partners, is top priority and we will continue to go above and beyond to demonstrate our commitment and care.

Here are some additional resources:


Notice regarding tightened COVID-19 measures

February 25, 2020

Given the more contagious strains of COVID-19 that are now in evidence across the province, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has instituted new rules effective immediately. Please review and follow these carefully. You may find it useful to discuss these rules with those in your household.

  • Household members of individuals who are experiencing symptoms of the virus must isolate until the symptomatic individual receives negative test results or an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider.
    • If the symptomatic individual is not tested, they must isolate for 10 days from symptom onset. All household members must isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual.
    • If the symptomatic individual cannot isolate from the rest of the household, all household members must quarantine for 14 days from the end of the symptomatic individual’s isolation period.
  • Household members of high-risk contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, must avoid any non-essential outings or gatherings for the duration of the high-risk contact’s isolation period. (That is, a member of a household where one person has come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19)
    • This means only leaving home for essential reasons such as attending work or school or childcare, doing errands for food and medication, or attending essential medical appointments.

More information is available here, including additional directives that may apply to you if you have children in school:

Media Release: Enhanced Screening, Testing, and Isolation Requirements Aim to Prevent Unintentional Spread of COVID-19 – Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (hpepublichealth.ca)

Navigating the constantly changing world of rules, advisories and screening takes effort, adaptation and a lot of energy. It’s a tribute to the attention and care that all staff, faculty and students at Loyalist have for each other and the community at large, that the hard work of acting on these changing rules continues, in order to keep each other safe and well.


 

LOYALIST COLLEGE IS ONE OF FOUR ONTARIO COLLEGES WITH A GOVERNMENT-APPROVED COVID-19 READINESS PLAN
 
Belleville, Ontario, October 21, 2020 – Loyalist College announced today that the College’s COVID-19 readiness plan has been approved by the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and local public health partners. As one of four approved designated learning institutions (DLI) in the Ontario college system, Loyalist College, which has campuses in Belleville, Bancroft and Toronto, is ready to welcome international students who are currently outside the country. 

“Loyalist’s robust COVID-19 readiness plan protects our students’ and our College community’s health and safety, which is our number one priority,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College President and CEO. “We will be helping students with their quarantine plans and providing assistance with everything they need during this time – and throughout their journey at Ontario’s Destination College. Loyalist students travelling to Canada can rest assured knowing the caring supports are in place for them to begin their successful academic journey.” 

Loyalist’s COVID-19 readiness plan outlines how the College will manage the mandatory supervised 14-day quarantine period for international students, including arranging transportation to the quarantine location and helping them get the items they need for their quarantine, like food, medications and health insurance. The College’s detailed plan outlines how the College protects the health and safety of all students and the surrounding community, as it has done since the beginning of the pandemic.  

Government of Canada travel restriction changes will allow more international students who wish to travel to Canada for the purpose of continuing and/or pursuing their studies, to enter the country. Asymptomatic international students may travel to Canada if they meet the following requirements: 

  • They must be in possession of a valid study permit or letter of introduction 
  • They must be attending a designated learning institution (DLI) with a Government-approved COVID-19 readiness plan  

International students can apply to Loyalist’s more than 65 diploma, advanced diploma, post-graduate certificate and certificate programs, with January, May and/or September 2021 intakes. For more information, visit loyalistcollege.com/international


Face masks required to be worn in campus buildings

In alignment with a recent Hastings Prince Edward Public Health announcement on mandatory masking, all individuals must wear non-medical masks/face coverings inside Loyalist College buildings.

The College will provide students and staff with reusable cloth masks; we encourage you to bring these masks with you when coming to campus. If needed, a supply of disposable masks is available on-site, including at the main entrance.

There are some exceptions that apply. A mask is not required if you:

  • Are outdoors and maintain a two-metre distance from others;
  • Have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask/face covering safely;
  • Are behind a physical barrier, such as plexiglass; or
  • Are in an area not open to the public (e.g. in a private office) and your workspace permits a two-metre distance from others.

Masks are still required when you are:

  • Entering and leaving campus buildings;
  • Travelling to or through public areas such as hallways or washrooms; or
  • Are within two metres of another person without a physical barrier in place.

The health and well-being of our students and staff is always our top priority. Thank you for helping us keep our community safe.


News Releases & Updates

December 21, 2020
Ontario Announces Provincewide Shutdown to Stop Spread of COVID-19 and Save Lives
Government of Ontario

TORONTO — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown. Additional restrictions will be put into place and reinforce that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Provincewide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Naveed Mohammad, President and CEO, William Osler Health System.

“The number of daily cases continue to rise putting our hospitals and long-term care homes at risk,” said Premier Ford. “We need to stop the spread of this deadly virus. That’s why, on the advice of Dr. Williams and other health experts, we are taking the difficult but necessary decision to shutdown the province and ask people to stay home. Nothing is more important right now than the health and safety of all Ontarians.”

In response to these exceptional circumstances, the Provincewide Shutdown would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures similar to those in other jurisdictions. It would help stop the trend of high COVID-19 transmission in communities, preserve health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations and those who care for them, and save lives. Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
  • Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
  • Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take out, drive-through, and delivery only.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are advised to stay home as much as possible with trips outside the home limited to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

The current COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused when the Provincewide Shutdown comes into effect. The impacts of these time-limited measures will be evaluated throughout the 14 days in Northern Ontario and 28 days in Southern Ontario to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.The Chief Medical Officer of Health will assess and apply lessons learned thus far to the COVID-19 Response Framework to ensure appropriate and effective measures are in place to protect the health of Ontarians and enable economic recovery after the Provincewide Shutdown ends. This will include an assessment of how a revised approach for the safe reopening of retail may be operationalized, according to the latest available evidence.

“This was not an easy decision before the holidays, but we have reached a tipping point,” said Minister Elliott. “We continue to see sharp increases in hospitalizations and occupancy in intensive care units is reaching concerning levels. Urgent action must be taken to prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed. By implementing a Provincewide Shutdown, we can work to stop the virus in its tracks, safeguard hospital capacity, and save lives.”

The government is also providing $12.5 million to implement a High Priority Communities Strategy to contain the virus in high-risk communities. The strategy will take a tailored, community-based approach to fund community agencies in 15 priority communities in the York, Peel, Durham, Ottawa, and Toronto regions. The funding will also allow for the hiring of community ambassadors to make people aware of available services and assistance, for coordination of increased testing opportunities and for the arrangement of wraparound supports for those who are COVID-positive. Additional funding of $42 million will also be available to establish isolation centres. 

The province will work with our local municipal partners to establish new isolation centres to help those who may need to isolate following testing.

“We continue to see the number of cases in the province grow and the trends in public health indicators worsen. Additional measures are needed provincewide in order to interrupt this concerning growth,” said Dr. Williams. “We must work together to enable everyone to follow these new and time-limited restrictions and protect our health system and our communities.”

The government is working to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in workplaces by supporting essential businesses in doing whatever is necessary to keep workers safe. The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is leading a multi-ministry COVID-19 Safety Team. The team will partner with local authorities to carry out additional enforcement blitzes in sectors where they are needed most.

New School Protocols

While transmission in schools remains low, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the winter break on January 4, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government’s broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Schools located in the following Public Health Unit regions can resume in-person instruction on January 11, 2021 for both elementary and secondary students:

  • The District of Algoma Health Unit
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
  • Northwestern Health Unit
  • Porcupine Health Unit
  • Sudbury and District Health Unit
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
  • Timiskaming Health Unit

For schools in all other Public Health Unit regions, elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning. During this period, child care centres, authorized recreational and skill building programs and home-based child care services will remain open. From January 4-8, 2021, when elementary students move to remote learning, before and after school programs will be closed and emergency child care for health care and frontline workers will be provided. As part of the government’s efforts to protect the most vulnerable, boards will be required to make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning for whom remote learning is challenging.

“While our schools are not a source of rising community transmission, we can play an important part of the solution to save lives from COVID-19,” said Minister Lecce. “During this period, students will pivot to teacher-led online learning, with child care provided for our frontline workers. We are taking proactive and preventative action to protect schools following the holiday break to ensure kids can continue in-class learning — something we believe is so important — for the remainder of the year.”

The New Ontario Small Business Support Grant

The government recognizes that small businesses impacted by these necessary public health measures will require additional support so they can continue serving their communities and employing people in Ontario once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. That is why the government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to eligible small business owners to help navigate this challenging period.

“Ontario’s business owners have shown remarkable resolve and ingenuity throughout the pandemic. They know better than anyone what they need to come through this very difficult time, so they can continue to serve and employ people in their communities,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance. “The new Ontario Small Business Support Grant will provide significant financial support to eligible small business owners in addition to the other supports made available to our small business community.”

Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. For example, some businesses will need support paying employee wages or rent, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.

Eligible small businesses include those that:

  • Are required to close or significantly restrict services subject to the Provincewide Shutdown effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020;
  • Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with dollar for dollar funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown. The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. This time period was selected because it reflects the impact of the public health measures in spring 2020, and as such provides a representation of the possible impact of these latest measures on small businesses.

Essential businesses that are allowed to remain open will not be eligible for this grant. More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant is available here. Further details, including how to apply, will be announced in January 2021.

Businesses that are impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown will also be eligible for the property tax and energy cost rebates. In November, the government launched a program to provide rebates to offset fixed costs such as property tax and energy bills for businesses that are required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures. These Ontario Small Business Support Grant rebates will continue to be available for businesses impacted by the Provincewide Shutdown and earlier restrictions. Business can apply for the rebates here.


Quick Facts

  • Currently, hospitalizations for COVID-19 have increased by 74 percent over the last four weeks and are more than 15 times higher than they were at the beginning of September. Intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy for COVID-19 has more than doubled over the last four weeks and is 20 times higher than at the beginning of September.
  • Ontario currently has 915 COVID-19 patients requiring acute care, 265 patients in ICU, with 152 on a ventilator.
  • Based on the latest modelling data, cases across the province are continuing to grow and the number of people requiring an intensive care bed is projected to rise well above 300 people within the next 10 days.
  • Some jurisdictions around the world, including those in Canada have implemented similar time-limited measures to respond to a dramatic resurgence in cases. Based on their experiences, measures of four to six weeks are expected to interrupt transmission of COVID-19 in Ontario.
  • Municipalities and local medical officers of health may have additional restrictions or targeted requirements in their region.
  • If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert App. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find the nearest testing location.
  • The Ontario Small Business Support Grant is part of the Province’s more than $13.5 billion in support for people and jobs outlined in the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover. It is also in addition to $4.8 billion to address critical areas to support a strong long-term recovery that helps workers, employers and communities get back on their feet, while building the foundation for recovery and growth.
  • To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People, which has information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.
  • To stay safe you can download the COVID Alert App free from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
  • To date, as part of the province’s COVID-19 immunization program, over 3,000 frontline health care workers have been vaccinated.
  • Schools continue to be safe, and according to data reported by school boards, as of Friday, December 18: approximately 99.64 percent of students in Ontario have not reported a case of COVID-19; approximately 92 percent of schools across the province have had either no cases or one case reported within the last 14 days; and approximately 80 percent of schools do not have a case of COVID-19.

November 13, 2020
Do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health


Fact Sheets