COVID-19 restrictions reinstated or implemented across the country

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

27 novembre 2020 | Lisa Goodfellow, Jenifer C. Gentle

With the increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, many areas of Canada this week have reinstated or implemented restrictions with the goal of controlling the spread of the disease.  Some of the key restrictions are set out below.


Provincial restrictions

  • With limited exceptions, a person who resides in a private residence must not permit a person who does not normally reside in that residence to enter or remain in the residence (for details, see CMOH order 38-2020);
  • Private social gatherings at indoor public places are prohibited;
  • Private social gatherings at an outdoor private or public space are limited to a maximum of 10 people;
  • Funeral services and wedding ceremonies are limited to 10 people and receptions are not permitted;
  • On November 30, 2020, children in Grades 7-12 will move to at-home learning until January 11, 2021; and
  • Students in early childhood services and Grades K-6 will remain learning in-person until December 18.  They will move to at-home learning after the winter break until January 11, 2021.

Regions under enhanced status

Areas under enhanced status face additional restrictions:

  • Places of worship are limited to a maximum of one-third of normal attendance, and physical distancing and masking are required;
  • Beginning on November 27, for at least three weeks, business and service restrictions will fall under three categories: closed for in-person business, open with restrictions, and open by appointment only. For specifics regarding which businesses and services fall within each category, as well as the specific applicable restrictions, visit the Alberta Government’s website; and
  • A mandatory mask requirement for indoor workplaces is now in place for Edmonton, Calgary and surrounding areas until further notice.  This includes any location where employees are present, and applies to visitors, delivery personnel, employees and contractors.

For a complete list of restrictions, see the Alberta Government’s website.

British Columbia

Effective as of November 19, until at least December 7, 2020 at midnight:

  • All in-person events and community-based gatherings are suspended, with the exception of support group meetings and business meetings.  For a complete definition of “in-person events and community-based gatherings,” see the Public Health Officer’s Order – Gatherings and Events;
  • Weddings, funerals and baptisms can have a maximum of 10 people, but receptions are not allowed;
  • Employers must make every effort to provide work-from-home options;
  • Employers must follow their COVID-19 Safety Plan, which must include a daily health check;
  • Workplaces must ensure that all workers and customers maintain appropriate physical distance;
  • Restaurants, pubs and bars can continue to operate if they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place, including a maximum of six people per table and no moving between tables.  Masks must be worn by patrons except when they are at their table.  Events are no longer allowed;
  • High-risk indoor group physical activities must be suspended, including spin classes, hot yoga and high-intensity interval training;
  • Other types of indoor group physical activities must be suspended temporarily while new guidance is being developed, including gymnastics, dance studios, martial arts, yoga, Pilates, cheerleading, and strength and conditioning;
  • Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed;
  • Sports games, competitions and practices can continue with no spectators and no travel for teams outside of their community.  There are exemptions for high-performance athletes, professional athletes and professional performers;
  • Masks are mandatory for everyone in many indoor public settings and all retail stores.  There are exemptions for children under the age of 12 and those with relevant health conditions;
  • No official order has been issued (although one is expected shortly) but masks are strongly recommended for shared indoor workplace spaces, including elevators, kitchens, hallways and break rooms; and
  • Non-essential travel should be avoided, including travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province.  Essential travel includes regular travel for work within your region.

For a complete list of restrictions, see the British Columbia Government’s website.


The following health measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday November 27 until at least December 17, 2020:

  • Restaurants and licensed establishments must limit seating to four per table.  With impermeable barriers, tables must be placed two metres apart and without barriers, tables must be placed three metres apart.  Guest and reservation information must be retained and the curfew on liquor service remains in effect;
  • Performance and gaming venues that are currently supporting a capacity of 150 people will be restricted to a capacity of 30 people;
  • Indoor public event gatherings, such as public banquets, conferences, wedding and funeral receptions, will be limited to 30 people.  Food and beverages are not allowed;
  • The maximum allowable gathering size for private gatherings in the home remains at five;
  • All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, although athletes and dancers 18 years of age and under may continue practicing, conditioning and skills training in groups of eight or fewer, provided they use masks and maintain at least three metres of physical distancing between participants.
  • Fitness activities and group fitness classes in groups of eight or fewer continue to be permitted for all ages, provided they use masks and maintain at least three metres of physical distancing between participants;
  • All places of worship must reduce capacity to 30 people, including wedding, funeral and baptismal services.  Food and beverages are not allowed;
  • Except for children ages 0-2 and children ages 3-12 who are unable to, mandatory masking is required for:
    • All students, employees and visitors in all schools and day cares (except while consuming food or beverage or engaging in aquatic fitness activities);
    • All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas that the public does not have access to; and
    • All residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal correctional facilities;
  • Retail businesses must enhance the expectation of mask use and mitigation measures (reduced traffic, directional flow signage, hand sanitizer, etc.) through signage and staff training.  Mandatory masking posters are available at;
  • Large retail locations (retailers with more than 20,000 square feet) are required to limit customer access to 50% of fire-code capacity or four square metres of space per person, whichever is less; and
  • Each sector must continue to follow the guidance under the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan.

For more details, see the Government of Saskatchewan’s new release.


Updated public health orders came into effect on November 20 to further limit residential gatherings and retail operations, including:

  • With limited exceptions, a person who resides in a private residence must not permit a person who does not normally reside there to enter or remain in the residence;
  • Gatherings of more than five people at any indoor or outdoor public place are not allowed, with the exception of a health-care facility or critical business that complies with health protection measures (social services and school facilities are included in the exemption);
  • a retail business may only sell essential items in person and must follow capacity limits (25% of the usual capacity or 250 people, whichever is lower) and must implement physical distancing measures (for a list of essential and non-essential items, see the Manitoba Government’s Background Information).  These restrictions do not apply to businesses listed in Schedule A of this Order Under the Public Health Act.


Effective November 23 at 12:01 a.m., the Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health regions were moved into the lockdown phase, which includes:

  • A prohibition against indoor organized public events or social gatherings, except with members of the same household;
  • A maximum limit of 10 people for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings;
  • Wedding services, funeral services and religious services, rites or ceremonies can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors, if physical distancing can be maintained;
  • Retail is only permitted to be open for curbside pick-up or delivery, with certain exceptions, such as supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, discount and big box retailers selling groceries, beer, wine and liquor stores, safety supply stores, and convenience stores, all of which must operate at 50% capacity;
  • Restaurants, bars, food and drink establishments can only provide takeout, drive-through and delivery. Indoor and outdoor dining services are prohibited;
  • Personal care services are closed;
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments are closed;
  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities, including pools, are closed with limited exceptions; and
  • Schools, before and after-school programs, and child care will remain open.

Effective November 23, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the following regions were moved to these levels:

  • Red-Control:
    • Durham Region Health Department;
    • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services; and
    • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (will move to red level on November 30 at 12:01 a.m.).
  • Orange-Restrict:
    • Huron Perth Public Health;
    • Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit;
    • Southwestern Public Health; and
    • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (will move to orange level on November 30 at 12:01 a.m.);
  • Yellow-Protect:
    • Chatham-Kent Public Health;
    • Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
    • Grey Bruce Health Unit;
    • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health;
    • Peterborough Public Health;
    • Thunder Bay District Health Unit;
    • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (will move to yellow level on November 30 at 12:01 a.m.);
    • Lambton Public Health (will move to yellow level on November 30 at 12:01 a.m.); and
    • Northwestern Health Unit (will move to yellow level on November 30 at 12:01 a.m.).

Public health regions will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, after which the government will assess whether the region should be moved to a different level.

For a description of the restrictions required at each level, visit the Ontario Government’s website.


Effective November 23, from 12:01 a.m., the health region of Nord-du-Québec has been raised to the maximum alert level 4 (red), including the Chapais and Chibougamau sectors as well as the surroundings located on the territory of the Eeyou Istchee – Baie-James Regional Government.  Level 4 (red) restrictions include:

  • No visitors from another address are allowed at one’s home (indoors or outdoors);
  • Private indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited;
  • Travel to a green, yellow or orange zone and outside Québec (except essential travel, students, workers, shared custody and freight transport) is not recommended;
  • Businesses, stores and boutiques can remain open, but only one person per household is recommended to enter;
  • Restaurants must close dining rooms, but delivery, take-out and in-car orders are allowed;
  • Bars, breweries, taverns and casinos must close (microbreweries and distilleries are closed only for on-site eating or drinking);
  • Activities organized in a public place are prohibited, except for places of worship and funerals, up to a maximum of 25 people, but no food or alcohol can be served;
  • Performance venues, cinemas, theatres and museums must close;
  • Personal and esthetic care services can remain open, but saunas and spas must close, except for personal care; and
  • Private professional and health services may open only for services requiring in-person attendance.

Measures concerning schools and sports came into effect on November 25:

  • For preschools and elementary schools, only one stable class group is permitted at all times, with no physical distancing requirement.  Students from different class groups must stay two metres apart.  Extracurricular activities, field trips and interscholastic activities are suspended;
  • For secondary schools, students in Secondary III, IV and V attend school every second day.  Students must eat lunch with their stable class group.  All students must wear a face covering at all times in common areas and on the school grounds.  Extracurricular activities, field trips and interscholastic activities are suspended;
  • No organized sports, physical or recreational activities are permitted; and
  • Activities that are carried out individually or in pairs and individual training are allowed, provided that the health guidelines are followed.

For a map showing which regions are at various alert levels, visit the Quebec Government’s Alert Levels Map.  For a description of the measures required at each alert level, visit the Quebec Government’s website.


Le 23 novembre à 0 h 1 min, la région sociosanitaire du Nord-du-Québec a été portée au palier 4 – alerte maximale (zone rouge), soit le secteur de Chapais et de Chibougamau ainsi que les environs situés sur le territoire du Gouvernement régional Eeyou Istchee Baie-James. Les restrictions applicables au palier d’alerte 4 (zone rouge) sont les suivantes :

  • Interdiction de visiteurs d’une autre adresse à domicile (à l’intérieur ou à l’extérieur);
  • Interdiction de rassemblements privés à l’intérieur ou à l’extérieur;
  • Déplacements non recommandés vers une zone verte, jaune ou orange et à l’extérieur du Québec (sauf déplacements essentiels, étudiants, travailleurs, garde partagée, transport de marchandises);
  • Les entreprises, commerces et boutiques peuvent demeurer ouverts, mais il est recommandé qu’une seule personne par ménage s’y rende à la fois;
  • Les restaurants doivent fermer leurs salles à manger, mais les services de livraison, de mets pour emporter et de commandes à l’auto sont permis;
  • Les bars, brasseries, tavernes et casinos doivent fermer (microbrasseries et distilleries fermées uniquement pour leurs services de consommation sur place de nourriture ou de boisson);
  • Les activités organisées dans un endroit public sont interdites, sauf pour les lieux de culte et les funérailles (maximum de 25 personnes), et aucune nourriture et aucun alcool ne peuvent être servis;
  • Les salles de spectacle, cinémas, théâtres et musées sont fermés;
  • Les entreprises de soins personnels et esthétiques peuvent demeurer ouvertes, mais les saunas et spas doivent fermer, sauf pour dispenser des soins personnels;
  • Les services professionnels et de santé en cabinet privé peuvent demeurer ouverts seulement pour les services nécessitant une présence en personne.

Les mesures concernant les écoles et le sport sont entrées en vigueur le 25 novembre :

  • Dans les écoles préscolaires et primaires, un seul groupe-classe stable est autorisé, en tout temps, sans mesure de distanciation. Une distance de 2 mètres doit être maintenue entre les élèves de groupes-classes stables différents. Les activités parascolaires, les sorties scolaires et les activités interscolaires sont suspendues;
  • Dans les écoles secondaires, il y a présence en classe un jour sur deux pour les élèves de 3e, 4e et 5e secondaire. Les élèves prennent leur repas du midi avec leur groupe-classe stable. Tous les élèves doivent porter un couvre-visage en tout temps dans les aires communes et sur le terrain de l’école. Les activités parascolaires, les sorties scolaires et les activités interscolaires sont suspendues;
  • Aucune activité physique, sportive ou de loisir organisée n’est permise;
  • Les activités réalisées en pratique libre, individuellement ou en dyade sont autorisées dans le respect des consignes sanitaires.

Pour connaître les paliers d’alerte en vigueur dans les différentes régions, consultez la carte des paliers d’alerte du gouvernement du Québec. Pour obtenir une description des mesures imposées à chaque palier d’alerte, visitez le site Web du gouvernement du Québec.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Effective 12:01 a.m. on November 25, the following changes are effective:

  • People arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador from within the Atlantic Bubble are required to self-isolate for 14 days, except in extenuating circumstances; and
  • Rotational workers who work in Canada and return from a site without an outbreak are now required to wait until day seven of their 14 day self-isolation period to arrange for COVID-19 testing.  Additional changes for rotational workers can be found in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s news release.

New Brunswick

  • New Brunswickers must now self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Effective midnight November 26, people travelling into New Brunswick, including all of the Atlantic provinces, are required to self-isolate for 14 days unless exempt;
  • Registration for travel into New Brunswick, including New Brunswickers returning home from travel, is also now mandatory.  Travellers must register at; and
  • Effective midnight November 26, licensed premises in areas in the Orange level of recovery must ensure all patrons are seated at all times, except to enter and exit the premises and to go to and from washrooms.

For details on which regions are at the different health alert levels, as well as the required measures for each level, visit the New Brunswick Government’s website.

Nova Scotia

New restrictions will come into force at 12:01 a.m. on November 26, and continue for two weeks until December 9, with a possibility of extension:

  • Nova Scotians are being asked to avoid non-essential travel in and out of western and central Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and to other Atlantic provinces; and
  • In western and central HRM:
    • the gathering limit in public is five (or up to the number of members of an immediate family in a household);
    • mandatory masking now applies to common areas of multi-unit residential buildings;
    • restaurants and licenced establishments are closed for in-person dining but may provide take-out or delivery;
    • retail stores must restrict shoppers and staff to 25% or less of allowable capacity;
    • wineries, distilleries and breweries cannot hold tastings or in-person dining and must follow retail rules in their stores (delivery and curbside pickup allowed);
    • organized sports, recreational, athletic, arts and cultural activities, faith-based activities are paused;
    • profit and non-profit fitness and recreational facilities are closed;
    • libraries and museums are closed, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia;
    • the casino and First Nations gaming establishments are closed;
    • schools, after-school programs and childcare will remain open; and
    • personal services businesses such as hairstylists, estheticians and nail salons can remain open, except for procedures that cannot be done while a patron is masked.

For more information on the new restrictions, see the Nova Scotia Government’s news release.

Prince Edward Island

  • Effective November 24 at 12:01 a.m., Prince Edward Island’s participation in the Atlantic Bubble will be suspended for two weeks.  Islanders who travel outside of PEI will be required to self-isolate for 14-days upon their return, with limited exceptions.  Non-Islanders who need to travel to Prince Edward Island, including residents of Atlantic Canada, will have to apply for pre-travel approval in advance. For more information on the new restrictions and limited exceptions, see the PEI Government’s news release.
  • Starting November 30, for at least two weeks, non-medical masks will be required for staff and students in grades 10-12 at all times indoors with limited exemptions.  Visitors to schools are also required to wear masks at all times while indoors.  For details, see the PEI Government’s news release.


  • As of December 1, it will be mandatory for all Yukoners over the age of 2 to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces, with limited exceptions; and
  • As of November 20, new self-isolation requirements are in effect.  Every person entering the Yukon must self-isolate for 14-days in Whitehorse, with limited exceptions.  Yukon residents and family members can isolate where the Yukon resident lives.  For more information on self-isolation requirements, visit the Yukon Government’s website.


Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure that we provide our clients with appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For articles, information updates and firm developments, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

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