What's open and closed during Ontario's April shutdown

Apr 1 2021, 1:12 pm

The Government of Ontario has activated its “emergency brake” system, placing the entire province into a shutdown.

The measures will come into effect at 12:01 am on April 3, and will remain in place for at least four weeks.

The emergency brake allows Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, in consultation with a local medical officer of health, to advise that a region be immediately shut down.

The system is activated if a public health region experiences a rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission or if its health system is at risk of becoming overwhelmed.

Ontario has consistently reported over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the last eight days.

While the province is in a shutdown, here is what’s open and closed in Ontario.

Animal services

Veterinary services are allowed to operate.

Businesses that provide services for the health and welfare of animals are permitted, including boarding kennels, shelters, groomers, pet sitters and walkers, and trainers.


Amusement parks, water parks, museums, cultural amenities, horse racing, zoos, and aquariums are closed.

Concert venues, theatres, and cinemas are closed, including drive-through and drive-in events.

Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments are closed.


Campsites can only be accessed by trailers and RVs that are being used as housing for those in need, and by people completing a full-season contract.

Only campsites with electricity, water services, and facilities for sewage disposal can operate.

Showers and washrooms are allowed to be open, but all other shared and recreational facilities must be closed.


People should only go out for necessities, such as work that can’t be done remotely, for school, to get groceries or go to a pharmacy, to help vulnerable people, or for exercise and physical activity.

Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not allowed except with members of the same household. Outdoor events are limited to five people.

People who live alone may have contact with one other household.

Household services

Landscaping, security, and maintenance services are allowed to operate.

Domestic services, such as housekeeping, cooking, and cleaning services, are permitted, as are laundromats and dry-cleaners.

In-person shopping

In-person shopping is allowed with some restrictions in place.

Supermarkets, stores that primarily sell groceries, indoor farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and pharmacies must operate at 50% capacity.

Other retail stores, such as big-box retailers and liquor and cannabis stores, must operate at 25% capacity.

Shopping malls are allowed to be open with 25% capacity of each store.


Only curbside pick-up and delivery are permitted.

Patrons can only enter libraries to drop off or pick up items, or to access computers, photocopiers, and similar services.

Media industries

Sound recording, production, publishing, and distribution businesses can operate.

Commercial film and television production, including all supporting activities such as hair, makeup, and wardrobe, are allowed with some restrictions, including no studio audiences.

Post-production services are permitted as well, as is industrial and commercial photography.

Meeting and event spaces

Meeting and event spaces are closed with a few exceptions, such as for day camps and childcare centres.

Court, government, and social services are allowed to operate.

Mental health and addictions support services, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are permitted with a maximum of 10 people.

Personal care services

All personal care services must remain closed.

Real estate services

Real estate agencies are permitted to operate, although open houses are not allowed.

Rental accommodations

Hotels, motels, lodges, cabins, cottages, resorts, and student residences can be open, although their recreational facilities, fitness centres, and indoor pools cannot be.

Short-term rentals are prohibited, unless they are being used to provide housing to those in need.

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

Indoor and outdoor dining are both prohibited, although takeout, drive-through, and delivery are allowed.

Nightclubs and strip clubs are only permitted to operate as food and drink establishments.

Schools and post-secondary institutions

Schools can remain open for in-person learning. Day camps are also permitted.

Virtual learning is required for post-secondary institutions, although in-person instruction is permitted for programs where it is required, such as for clinical training and trades.

Sports and recreational fitness facilities

Indoor and outdoor sports and recreational facilities are closed, except for use by high-performance athletes, or for physical therapy by someone with a disability.

Some outdoor recreational amenities are permitted, including baseball diamonds and battling cages, sports fields and courts, skate parks, shooting ranges, ice rinks, and playgrounds.

As well, portions of parks or recreational areas that contain outdoor fitness equipment are allowed to be open.

Vehicle services

Rental and leasing services, repair services, gas stations, and car washes are permitted to operate.

Weddings, funerals, and other religious services

Religious, wedding, and funeral services are allowed indoors with 15% capacity of the room they are being held in.

They are permitted outdoors with an unlimited number of people, as long as physical distancing can be maintained. Drive-in services are allowed as well.

Receptions are not allowed to be held.

To date, Ontario has seen 352,460 COVID-19 cases and 7,389 virus-related deaths.

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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