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COVID-19 - Enforcement & Closures

COVID 19 Update Header Photo, Blue with images of microorganisims and icons of hand washing, social distancing and staying home.

Enforcement of Mandatory Closures & Restrictions



When do the new rules begin? Saturday April 3rd, 2021, 12:01am

When does the Stay-at-Home Order take effect? Thursday April 8th, at 12:01am

Can I leave my home? Yes, for essential reasons such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, permitted gatherings such as weddings and funerals, and for work that cannot be done remotely.

Are retailers still permitted to operate? Yes, but curbside pick-up and delivery only.  Curb-side pick-up is permitted between 7am-8pm, and deliveries from 6am-9pm.

If a retailer sells food as well as other items such as clothing are they permitted to operate? Yes, but with restrictions. Big Box and related stores are only permitted to sell essential goods inside the retail establishment such as food, pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, pet care supplies, and personal care supplies, and must operate at a maximum 25% capacity.  All other items must be offered by curb-side pick-up or delivery.

Can I visit my cottage? Yes, with limitations, and not encouraged at this point. An individual may attend another residence for up to a 24 hour period for a purpose set out in the Stay-At-Home Order, or if they intend on staying for at least 14 days, then there is no requirement to leave.

What essential retail stores are permitted to open for indoor sales? The following are permitted to operate at 25% capacity:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Garden Centres

Who is responsible for ensuring patrons at a business are wearing masks? Employees, customers, and a corporations are all responsible for ensuring face coverings are worn indoors, unless there is an exemption.  Employees, customers, and corporations may be susceptible to fines for failing to ensure compliance with a regulation passed the Reopening Ontario Act.

Can I have visitors over?  No, unless you live alone.  It is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with, unless you live alone, then you can have contact with only one household other than your own.

Can we gather outside? Yes, although not encouraged, to maximum of 5.  Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with) and stay at least 2 metres apart from everyone else.

My wedding is booked at a venue, am I still allowed to have my reception? No. Meetings and event spaces are closed.

Can I still have my wedding?  Yes. Religious services rites or ceremonies are still permitted to proceed.  Maximum 15% capacity indoors at an organized public facility where physical distancing can be maintained.  Outdoors restricted to where 2 metres distance can be maintained.  The Town is not issuing marriage licences at this point until further notice.

Are funeral services still being provided?  Yes. Maximum 15% capacity indoors and where physical distancing can be maintained.  No indoor gatherings outside of those in a household are permitted at a residence outside the service.  Outdoors restricted to where 2 metres distance can be maintained.

Who do I call if my neighbours are having a large gathering? Contact your Municipal By-Law Department 905.871.1600 x5216 or after-hours Niagara Region at 905.984.3690 & 1.877.552.5579

Who do I call if COVID-19 safety protocols are not being followed at an essential business? Contact your Municipal By-Law Department 905.871.1600 x5216 or after-hours Niagara Region at 905.984.3690 & 1.877.552.5579

Can I still get my hair cut? No. Personal care services are closed

Can I go to the Gym? No. Fitness facilities are closed.

Get I get my pet groomed? Yes. Public Health guidelines and restrictions apply.

Can I go out for indoors or outdoors (patio) meals? No. Restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments are only permitted to offer take-out, drive-through, or delivery service. This includes over-the-counter alcohol sales.

What time does a business have to close? If a business is a provider of an essential service, it is permitted to open no earlier than 5am, and must close no later than 10pm.

Can I hire a contractor for home renovations? Yes. Construction permitted.

My business is permitted a 50% store capacity.  How would I calculate that? The maximum number of persons permitted in a business or facility that is operating at 50 per cent capacity is determined by taking the total square metres of floor space accessible to the public in the business or facility, not including shelving and store fixtures, dividing that number by 8 and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number

Can I rent out my short-term rental? Yes, but with restrictions. Short-term rentals are only permitted for person(s) in need of housing. Social gathering restrictions still apply.

Can a Police Officer or a Municipal By-law Enforcement Officer close a premise?  Yes. Under the provincial emergency, all Provincial Offences Officers, including Police Officers and Municipal By-law Enforcement Officers, have the authority to disperse crowds indoors as well as outdoors, and may order that the premise be temporarily closed if they have reasonable grounds to believe that an organized public event or other gathering is occurring at the premise, and that the number of people in attendance exceeds the number permitted, but does not apply to individuals who reside in the premise.

Am I required to identity myself to a Police Officer or Municipal By-law Officer? Yes. Under the provincial emergency, individuals have a duty to identify when a Police Officer or By-law Officer has reasonable and probably grounds that an offence under EMCPA or ROA has been committed, and it is an offence for failing to provide identity information.

What about domestic services? Domestic services may only be provided that support children, seniors or vulnerable persons. This includes housekeeping, cooking, indoor and outdoor cleaning and maintenance services.

Rules for areas in Stage 2

Restrictions may be expanded or modified by the Government of Ontario. Check their website for the latest updates and detailed information.

Fines can be issued for non-compliance. Enforcement of the provincial order is jointly through the Town's municipal law enforcement & Niagara Regional Police Service.

Failing to comply with an emergency order carries a fine of $750 per offence, and up to $1,000 for obstructing those attempting to carry out their duties under the Act.

Who to Call

  • During normal business hours, after hours and weekends, concerns around enforcement of COVID 19 emergency orders should be directed to the Town of Fort Erie at 905-871-1600 Ext 5216 or submit an online form.
  • Do not call 911.
  • For all COVID 19 health matters and/or inquiries, please call the Public Health hotline at 905-688-8248 or 1 (888) 505-6074 (press option 7 then follow the prompts).