Letter of Instruction: All owners, operators, and persons responsible for food premises
March 7, 2021
Letter of Instruction
To: All owners, operators, and persons responsible for food premises1 (e.g., restaurants, bars, cafes, banquet halls, etc.) with indoor and/or outdoor dining areas within the Public Health Sudbury & Districts service area
RE: Public Health Sudbury & Districts Letter of Instruction for food premises regarding the mandatory physical distancing of separate households and collecting patron information
On March 8, 2021, the geographic area served by Public Health Sudbury & Districts will move into the Red—Control zone of the COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open.2 This is in response to an unprecedented surge of local cases and outbreaks of COVID-19. Furthermore, an increasing percentage of local COVID-19 cases to-date have either screened positive or have been confirmed for the more transmissible virus mutation, called variants of concern (VOCs). Therefore, there is a heightened risk of increased cases and associated serious outcomes from COVID-19 for the residents of the City of Greater Sudbury and the districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin.
The key risk factors associated with the potential transmission of COVID-19 include:3
- close contact
- closed spaces
- crowded places
- forceful exhalation
To minimize VOC spread in Ontario communities, the lockdown evidence and experiences from other jurisdictions demonstrate that any currently implemented public health measures should be intensified.4 Physical distancing plays a key role in reducing the risks associated with crowded places and has been proven to limit COVID-19 transmission. O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2, Schedule one, Section 3.1 (4) states:
Every member of the public in a place of business or facility that is open to the public shall maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except from their caregiver or from members of the person’s household.
To assist with the implementation of this requirement, I am issuing this Letter of Instruction to all food premises with indoor and/or outdoor eating and drinking areas that are open to the public within Public Health Sudbury & Districts service area. These instructions are being provided pursuant to Schedule 1, Section 2 (2) of O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2 made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, S.O. 20202, c. 17.
Effective March 10, 2021, 12:01 a.m., I am instructing all persons responsible for a food premises with indoor and/or outdoor dining areas open to the public located within the Public Health Sudbury & Districts service area to implement the following measures:
- Obtain and record the following information for every patron that enters an indoor or outdoor eating or drinking area in/at the premises, other than patrons who briefly enter the area to place, pick up, or pay for a takeout order:
- first and last name
- telephone number or alternate contact information if a telephone number is not available (physical address or electronic mail address)
- date of attendance; time of arrival and time of departure
- table number or specific location of table at the establishment
- attestation that the patron is not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, excluding those related to a chronic or other condition
- verbal attestation that the patron is:
- joining a table only with their own household members; or
- joining a table only with one other household, if they live alone; or
- joining a table with another household, if they are a caregiver (essential for maintaining mental or physical health) for someone in that household.
- Do not serve, seat or permit patrons to enter dining areas who do not provide the information required above.
- Retain the records and information required above for a period of at least one month and ensure the records are stored and destroyed in a secure manner to preserve privacy of patrons.
- Disclose the records and information required above to a medical officer of health or inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act upon request, or as otherwise required by law.
- Seat a maximum of four (4) people at one table. Should Public Health Sudbury & Districts service area enter another zone of the framework, this number will correspond with the relevant zone.
- Configure tables to ensure that patrons seated at different tables maintain a distance of two (2) metres or are separated by an impermeable barrier.
- Provide alcohol-based hand rub that is approved by Health Canada at every entrance and exit to/from the establishment and eating areas (e.g., patios) and post signage asking patrons to sanitize their hands upon entry and exit.
These Instructions will further prevent COVID-19 spread by reducing close contact of non-household members and ensuring that sufficient information is available to Public Health Sudbury & Districts for the purposes of contact tracing, when required. This Letter of Instruction will be enforced by Public Health Inspectors and other Provincial Offences Officers responsible for the enforcement of the Reopening Ontario Act. Failure to comply is an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act for which you may be charged.
Thank you in advance for your compliance and cooperation. Public Health Sudbury & Districts Public Health Inspectors are available to support food premises with implementation of these instructions. If you have questions or concerns related to implementation, please contact our office at 705.522.9200, ext. 748. In addition to this Letter of Instruction to food premises, Public Health Sudbury & Districts will be communicating with the broader community and promote awareness of the food premises’ obligation to ensure mandatory physical distancing separate households and the collection of patron information.
Please note that the Letter of Instruction will be posted on our website.
Original signed by:
Penny Sutcliffe, MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer
Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7. Accessed February 25, 2021 at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h07.
- Province of Ontario. COVID-19 response framework: keeping Ontario safe and open. February 19, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2021 at https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open#prevent.
- Public Health Ontario. Evidence on Public Health Measures Required for Rapid Control of Variants of Concern. February 16, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2021 at https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/phm/2021/02/eb-public-health-measures-for-voc.pdf.
This item was last modified on May 28, 2021