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What the new state of emergency means for retailers

Workers who can work from home should be working from home, province says
Under the new state of emergency, most businesses can continue to offer curbside pickup. (File)

Under the state of emergency declared today, many retailers can remain open, with some exceptions.

Reduced hours of operation are in place for all non-essential retail stores — places like hardware and liquor stores — and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m., under rules released today. 

Food sellers, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants for takeout or delivery are allowed to be open.

When it comes to places of business other than retail, business owners and managers must ensure those who can work remotely are doing so. Businesses that require workers to be on-site to do their jobs can remain open.

Physical Distancing and Line Management

Businesses or places must not permit patrons to line up inside the businesses or place, or to line up or congregate outside of the business or place unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons and wearing a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless they are entitled to an exception set out in the regulation.


Businesses or organizations must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals. Workplaces must screen any workers or essential visitors entering the work environment. 

Restaurants, bars and other or drink establishments

  • Take out, drive through, and delivery permitted only
  • Includes the sale of alcohol

Supermarkets, convenience stores, indoor farmer’s markets and other stores that primarily sell food

Open for in-person retail, subject to:

  • Members of the public being able to maintain two metres physical distance from every other person in the business or facility and complying with face covering rules, and;
  • The number of persons occupying any room that is open to the public does not exceed 50-per-cent capacity of the particular room

Curbside pick-up and delivery is permitted.


Open for in-person retail, subject to physical distancing restrictions and face-covering rules. Curbside pick-up and delivery is permitted.

Discount retailers and big box stores that sell groceries

Open for in-person retail, subject to physical distancing restrictions and face-covering rules. Curbside pick-up and delivery is permitted. However, the number of persons occupying any room that is open to the public cannot exceed 25-per-cent capacity of the particular room. Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted

Shopping malls

Closed for in-person retail. Members of the public are only permitted to enter the mall to:

  • Access businesses and organizations permitted to be open (e.g., pharmacy, dentist); food court open for take-away, or by appointment only to facilitate pick-up as set out below
  • Access court services and government services

Shopping malls may establish a single designated location inside the shopping mall for order pick-up by patrons. Pick-up inside the shopping mall must be by appointment only. Designated locations outside the shopping mall for curbside pick-up by patrons may be established, but members of the public are not permitted to loiter in any area of the shopping mall that is not related to the purpose of their visit.

Malls must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m., except to provide access to grocery stores/supermarkets, pharmacies, and health care providers that only have public entrances that face the interior of the mall.

Cannabis retail stores

Open for curbside pick-up or delivery only with the operating hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Patrons may purchase product online for pickup, or in person at the door, without ordering it online.

Motor vehicle sales

Includes cars, trucks and motorcycles; recreational vehicles including motor homes; trailers and travel trailers; boats and other watercraft; and other motorized vehicles, including power-assisted bicycles, golf carts, scooters, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles.

  • By appointment only
  • Members of the public must not be permitted where products are neither sold nor displayed for sale
  • Subject to certain conditions related to test drives
  • Operating hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Outdoor markets

Includes farmer’s markets and holiday markets only if they primarily sell food to the public

  • Must require members of the public to remain outdoors at all times, including for curbside pick-up or delivery
  • Operating hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

General Retail (all other retail, including hardware stores, pet food, computer stores, etc.):

  • Curbside pick-up or delivery only (in-person retail shopping not permitted)
  • An item may only be provided for curbside pickup if the patron ordered the item before arriving at the business premises
  • Sales must be exclusively made so patrons are not required to enter the indoor area of the business, including curbside pick-up or delivery
  • Operating hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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


Libraries may open for contactless curbside, delivery, and pick-up and for permitted services (child care services, mental health and addiction support services to a limit of 10 persons [AA meetings], provision of social services. If they ensure that circulating materials returned to the library are disinfected or quarantined for an appropriate period of time before they are recirculated. Contact information recording required.

Hotels, motels, lodges, cabins, cottages, resorts and other shared rental accommodation, including student residences

Any indoor pools, indoor fitness centres, or other indoor recreational facilities that are part of the operation of these businesses, are closed. Pre-arranged booking for short-term rentals prohibited with exceptions for housing requirements. Short-term rentals (e.g., cottages, cabins): Only to be provided to individuals who are in need of housing.