Right now in Ontario, life looks very different from what we’re all used to. With new limitations being enacted by different levels of government on an almost daily basis, it can be hard to determine what we can and can’t do.
Social distancing rules have forced many of us to change what we do and how we do it. Working from home, driveway visits and Facetime calls to check in on friends and family have become our new routine until we can slowly return to our “normal lives”. Updated rules around what is a mandatory behavioural adjustment and what is merely a suggestion have become increasingly difficult to determine. With new limitations and changes to existing limitations being made every day, it has become hard for many of us to understand what we can and cannot do.
When navigating the “new normal”, keep these tips in mind:
The number of people you can be with
Under the current guidelines, people may not gather (either inside or outside) in groups of more than 5 unless they live int he same home. That means that gatherings of 6 people or more are unlawful even when they occur on private property or inside a home. An exception has been made for groups of more than 5 who reside together in the same home, for funerals (which are currently limited to 10 people) and for essential workers who are permitted to be in groups of more than 5 while they carry out their duties.
Your distance from others
By now we are all aware of the rule that we maintain 6 feet between ourselves and others (who we do not live with) we may meet while we are out and about. This rule is to be maintained even in vast areas like public parks but does not apply to incidental periods of time – so keep your distance from others while you’re standing in line, for example, but you don’t need to be overly concerned about it while you’re walking down the sidewalk because the amount of time you’ll actually be next to that person is so small.
According to Premiere Doug Ford’s Emergency Measures, all outdoor recreational amenities were closed in March. Just this past week we have seen the slow and careful re-opening of some stores, parks and trails but facilities such as public bathrooms remain closed. At this time, many non-essential services and businesses remain closed to the public as do many public spaces. As the warmer weather begins, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind but the following amenities are still closed and considered out of bounds until Covid restrictions can be relaxed: playgrounds, outdoor sports facilities, community gardens, picnic sites, shelters in parks and at beaches, outdoor amenities intended for use by more than one family (even if they’re on private property).
As inconvenient as it may seem, these restrictions have been put in place for the greater good and in order to help us slow the spread of Coronavirus and eventually lift the state of emergency in our province. Please do your part to keep yourself – and others – safe and healthy. And when you’re tempted to ignore a rule because you think no one will notice, remember: individuals who are caught in public areas, using closed facilities or not enforcing social distancing can be ticketed for failure to comply with an emergency order.