What the Ontario Stay-At-Home Order means

One of the electric signs placed throughout Kingston by the City of Kingston to remind residents to stay home and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kingstonist file photo.

On Wednesday, Apr. 7, 2021, Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a province-wide Stay-At-Home Order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, to be effective as of Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

What does that mean?

For residents

The government of Ontario is asking residents to limit their travels to going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. “As Ontario’s health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-At-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives,” said the Ontario government.

For retail

The province says it is strengthening public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake. Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Limiting the majority of non-essential retailers to only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, and other restrictions;
  • Restricting access to shopping malls to limited specified purposes, including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall, along with other restrictions;
  • Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only;
  • Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.:
    • Safety supply stores;
    • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
    • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
    • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
    • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
    • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
    • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.
  • Permitting outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, to operate with a 25 per cent cap acity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For restaurants and bars

Restaurants and bars, already required to operate only via take-out, drive-through or delivery during the provincial “Emergency Brake” previously announced, are not affected further by this Stay-At-Home Order.

For schools

Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted.

Beginning next week, education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, will be eligible to register for vaccination. Vaccinations will commence during the April break starting with priority neighborhoods in Toronto and Peel, then rolling out to priority neighborhoods in other hot spot regions, including York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham. This will be followed by a rollout across the province as supply allows.

For workplaces

Health and safety inspectors and provincial offenses officers will increase inspections and enforcement at essential businesses in regional hot zones to continue protecting essential workers while on the job. According to the Ontario government, there have been 19,500 COVID-related workplace inspections and investigations across the province since the beginning of 2021. During those visits, over 450 COVID-19 related tickets have been issued and OHS inspectors have issued over 14,446 OHS orders and stopped unsafe work related to COVID-19 a total of 24 times.

For vaccinations

As part of Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, people living in regions with the highest rates of transmission will be prioritized to receive a vaccine, starting with the most at-risk in the Peel and Toronto public health regions. This initiative will be expanded to additional “hot spot” regions based on established patterns of transmission, severe illness, and mortality.

The Ontario government says that mobile teams are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18 or over. Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in highly impacted neighborhoods, including at faith-based locations and community centres in those hot spots, in collaboration with public health units and community organizations within those communities. The province will provide additional resources to support these mobile and pop-up clinics in the hardest-hit neighbourhoods.

The government will also extend booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to more age groups through its provincial booking system, for public health regions with highly impacted neighbourhoods, on Friday, April 9, 2021. Booking eligibility will be extended to include individuals aged 50 and over for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at mass immunization clinics in high-risk areas as identified by postal code, using the provincial booking system.

For COVID-19 testing

Rapid testing continues to be deployed in workplaces for asymptomatic staff in sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, construction and food processing. According to the Ontario government, approximately 5.4 million rapid antigen tests have been sent to over 1,150 workplaces, including 100 essential industry sites, under the Provincial Antigen Screening Program.

“As we continue to see COVID-19 variants of concern drive this third wave of COVID-19, it is evident stronger public health and workplace measures are needed to help interrupt the spread of the virus,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “By all of us staying at home, while still taking some time to enjoy the outdoors with the people we live with in our local neighbourhoods and maintaining two metres physical distance from others, we can reduce our mobility, minimize transmission, protect our loved ones and our communities, safeguard health system capacity, and save lives.”

For City of Kingston buildings and services

Both City Hall and the City building at 1211 John Counter Boulevard are closed as a result of the stay-at-home order. The City of Kingston is urging residents to stay as home as much as possible, and to choose online and phone options to connect with the City to avoid unnecessary trips.

Review the list, below, to see how popular City facilities and services are affected:

Garbage and recycling service changes
* Garbage and recycling collection and bag limits remain unchanged.
* Garbage bag tags available online, may be ordered online, or found at some local retailers.
* The Kingston Area Recycling Centre (KARC) will operate with reduced hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Saturdays).
* The Household Hazardous Waste Depot is closed. Service will resume after shutdown.
* The Leaf and Yard waste drop-off will continue to operate Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
* The administrative office at KARC will be closed and its counter services will be provided electronically.
* Replacement Blue and Grey Boxes and Green Bins will not be available during the shutdown.
* Giveaway Day on April 17 is cancelled.

Renew Kingston Transit passes online
* Passengers using monthly passes may renew them online at http://www.CityofKingston.ca/Pay.
* Kingston Transit passes will not be available for purchase or renewal at City Hall, but are available at other sales outlets that provide essential services (see list of retailers at https://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/transit/fares.
* Appointments at City Hall for new monthly bus pass photo identification may be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays by calling 613-546-4291 ext. 1240 or by  emailing [email protected].
* Kingston Transit continues to operate at a reduced service level. Review the transit schedules online: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/transit/bus-schedules.

Pay parking tickets online
Payments for parking tickets or parking permit renewals can be made online at: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/pay .

City Hall and 1211 John Counter Blvd. closed to public
* City Hall and the Payment Centre, 216 Ontario St., will be closed as of April 8. Payments can be made through online banking, through your financial institution and using the drop boxes at City Hall or 1211 John Counter Boulevard.
* For taxation or other payments by mail, send a cheque to: City of Kingston – Taxation PO Box 640, Kingston, ON, K7L 4X1. For utility payments by mail, send a cheque to: Utilities Kingston – PO Box 790, Kingston, ON, K7L 4X7
* Marriage licences or Commissioner of Oaths are available by appointment in the case of emergency end of life situations by calling 613-546-4291 ext. 1270 or emailing [email protected].
* Planning, building, licensing and enforcement services will continue to be offered by staff electronically or by phone. Explore CityofKingston.ca for service-specific details or call Customer Experience at 613-546-0000.

Outdoor recreation amenities, parks and trails remain open
Outdoor recreation amenities including public trails and playgrounds remain open for safe enjoyment and exercise. Any person who enters or uses an outdoor recreation amenity must maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others (excluding members of the same household).

For South Frontenac buildings and services

Closure of Township Offices

Effective April 8, 2021, at 8:00 am, the Township will be closing its administrative offices in Sydenham at 4432 George Street, and at 2490 Keeley Rd., to the public for the duration of the current Provincial lockdown and stay at home order announced on April 7, 2021.

While these offices will be closed to the public, most municipal services will continue to be delivered and public communications via telephone and email will remain in place during regular business hours.

As a result of these closures and the broader COVID-19 outbreak, the following changes to service delivery will take effect immediately:

Building and Planning Services

  • Effective April 8th at 8:00 am, the Planning and Building department will no longer be receiving the public in person, but will continue to accept communications via email, phone, and online intake form on Township website. 
  • Planning staff will remain available to respond to inquiries and assist in the processing of applications via phone at 613-376-3027 ext. 2224 and email at [email protected]. Pre-consultation meetings will continue to be scheduled but will occur via telephone or Zoom video call. Residents are strongly encouraged to utilize the intake forms on the Township website for these inquires.
  • Building Services will continue to accept and issue building permits as the Provincial lockdown does not restrict any type of construction at this time. Residents are encouraged to contact Building Services via telephone at 613-376-3027 ext. 2226, via email at [email protected], or utilize our drop box located at 4432 George St., in Sydenham for correspondence, permit applications and related documents, or other building-related matters.
  • South Frontenac Building Inspectors will continue to conduct inspections using the following safety protocols and physical distancing recommendations:
  • Inspectors will not engage in interpersonal contact at sites.
  • Prior to attending sites, staff will inquire if there will be any persons on the site or related to the site that are exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 , that have been exposed to a probable case of the virus, or are in self-isolation.

Treasury Department

  • During the office closure, Treasury Department staff will remain available to respond to inquiries via email and phone by contacting 613-376-3027 ext. 2200 or by email at [email protected].
  • The deadline for payment of the Interim Tax bill is April 30, 2021. Residents are reminded that payments can be made electronically through online banking or at their financial institution, online via credit card or through Virtual Municipal Office accessed through the Township’s website, through the mail via cheque, or dropped off at our office at 4432 George St. in Sydenham using the drop box.

Public Works Department

  • Effective April 8th, 2021, all Public Service Offices & Garages will be closed to the public. Administrative Staff will be available to respond to inquiries via phone and email. Roads and outdoor staff will continue to maintain Township roads, bridges and other structures.
  • The Loughborough and Portland Waste Sites, as well as the Hazardous Waste facility will remain open during this time; however, we encourage residents to limit visits to necessary trips only. Northern Waste Sites including Bradshaw, Salem, and Greenbay, will reopen on May 1, 2021. Curbside Garbage & Recycling pick up will continue as scheduled.
  • As announced on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, all indoor Recreational facilities have been closed to the public until further notice. Questions about bookings can be directed to 613-376-3027 ext. 4331, or via email to [email protected].
  • Municipal parks and outdoor recreational facilities will remain open at this time, but all users must adhere to Public Health measures, including physical distancing of at least 2 meters, and no groups of more than 5 people. Team sports are not permitted during this time, and net court sports will only be available for singles play. For more information on the use of outdoor recreational amenities, please contact Tim Laprade, Recreation Supervisor, at 613-376-3027 ext. 2231 or via email at [email protected].

For Loyalist Township buildings and services

As a result of the stay-at-home order, municipal services through Loyalist Township have been impacted as follows:

Municipal Buildings Closing to Public Access:

  • To adhere to and support the provincial Stay-at-Home order, Township offices including the Administration Office in Odessa, Township Fire Stations, the W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre and the Leisure & Activity Centre, will be closed effective Friday, April 9 and many staff will be working remotely until the stay-at-home order is over. Loyalist Township continues to provide essential services, with staff available to assist residents by email or telephone. If calling a municipal office, please leave a phone message and your call will be returned.
  • The Township office at 18 Manitou Crescent West in Amherstview will continue to be open by appointment only.In accordance with established public health requirements, appointments with Township staff will require completion of a COVID-19 screening. Appointments should be limited to essential purposes only.


  • Tax and utility payments can be made through online banking, through your financial institution or by using payment drop boxes located at the Administration Building (263 Main St., Odessa), the Manitou Office from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (18 Manitou Cres. W, Amherstview), W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre (322 Amherst Dr.) or at the Bath Fire Hall (241 Church St, Bath).

Curbside Pick Up Service:

  • Please watch for an announcement next week related to municipal curbside pick up service.

Essential services continue:

  • The #10 bus serving Amherstview to Kingston, and the Amherst Island Ferry are running.  Trips should be limited to essential purposes. Fares for both transit and ferry service remain in effect.
  • Public Works crews will be collecting brush throughout mainland Loyalist Township as scheduled, beginning on Monday, April 12.
  • The Giveaway Day scheduled for Saturday, April 17 has been cancelled.
  • Waste collection continues normally, and Township landfills remain open.
  • The Household Hazardous Waste Depot at 196 Lappan’s Lane in Kingston is closed. Service will resume after the shutdown.
  • Staff are responding to complaints and reports – click here to report a non-urgent issue. For after-hours emergencies involving roads, water/sewer service, or a Township facility call 613-507-3069
  • First responders will continue to respond to 911 calls. Please wear a mask and keep your distance until COVID-19 screening is complete.
  • Outdoor recreation amenities and parks remain open. Remember to keep your distance and wear a mask if you cannot maintain a two-metre distance while outdoors. If local parks are busy you may want to leave and return later to avoid any unnecessary contact with people outside of your household. Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Loyalist Township has virtual program options for the spring to keep you busy while you’re staying safe at home. Visit their recreation page to view their virtual program guide and for information on registration.
  • The discounted rate for dog tags has been extended until further notice.

Contact Loyalist:

Township staff remain available to assist you via phone, 613, 386-7351, or via email. Visit their staff directory for contact information.

2 thoughts on “What the Ontario Stay-At-Home Order means

  • As a recognition for those who have signed up to the Kingstonist, it would be nice if we didn’t get the same treatment as those who haven’t. I’m thinking of the popup which gray’s the news item that we have to close and the appeal for us to join (since we already have). I’m hoping this doesn’t present too big of a technical problem but it does make us wonder if we really are signed up when we get this treatment. I’m certainly not being offensive in this comment – I am very glad that you have taken on this task on our behalf. Articles are well-written and researched. Thank you. Paul Van Nest

    • Hi Paul, hope you’re well and thanks for the comment!
      We’ve made it so that subscribers get no ads at all, including those pop-ups – if you’re already a subscriber, all you have to do is sign in ( https://www.kingstonist.com/account/ ) and the website will recognize you and those will no longer show up for you!
      We’ve also recently made the sign-in a persistent sign-in, meaning that you only have to sign in once and the website will remember your info for future visits so that you don’t have to sign in again. Hope this helps and thanks for your support!

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