COVID-19 – Latest Information for Businesses

It can be hard to keep track of the rapidly changing COVID-19 information & restrictions for businesses – find the details you’re looking for below.


The Ontario government announced the easing of public health measures that began on February 17, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. Some of these changes include:
  • Increasing social gathering limits to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Increasing organized public event limits to 50 people indoors, with no limit outdoors
  • Removing capacity limits in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required:
  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities,
  • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms,
  • Cinemas,
  • Meeting and event spaces,
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments,
  • Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Allowing 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas, concert venues and theatres
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, restaurants where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.
As of March 1, Ontario intends to lift capacity limits in all remaining indoor public settings and lift proof of vaccination requirements for all settings. Businesses and other settings may choose to continue to require proof of vaccination. Masking requirements will remain in place at this time. More details on the announcement can be found here.
Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program
Applications for the Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program are now open. Eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce their capacity due to the current public health measures can apply for the program here.
Eligible businesses that are required to close or reduce capacity during the current provincial public health restrictions will receive rebate payments for up to 100% of their property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these measures.
Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100% of their costs and similarly, those required to reduce capacity to 50%, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50% of their costs.
Businesses will be required to submit proof of costs associated with property tax and energy bills as part of the application process. All eligible businesses must submit an application to be considered, including those that received previous COVID-19 support payments.
Eligible businesses include
  • restaurants and bars
  • indoor meeting and event spaces
  • indoor concert venues, theatres and cinemas
  • personal care services (hair or body)
  • retailers (non-grocery, less than 50,000 sq ft)
  • small grocery stores (less than 5,000 sq ft)
  • gyms and other indoor sports and recreational facilities
Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, which will offer flat-rate grants of $10,000 to eligible small business owners impacted by the province’s move to a modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen, is now available.
Eligible businesses include those that:
  • Were ordered to close indoor operations by the move to the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen on January 5, 2022. 
  • Have less than 100 employees at the enterprise level; and
  • Can be expected to experience a revenue decline as a result of the restrictions.
Eligibility will be assessed in two streams to ensure funds are delivered quickly and efficiently. Stream One includes eligible businesses that previously qualified under the Small Business Support Grant. They won’t need to apply and instead will receive an email asking them to confirm their continued eligibility. Stream Two is for newly formed businesses or businesses that did not previously apply for OSBSG, or businesses that were previously ineligible need to provide information such as: A Master Business License, information about the business, banking information, or supporting documentation to demonstrate a 20% or greater revenue decline through revenue for December 2021 and revenue for January 2022.


Guidance for businesses in terms proof of vaccination requirements can be found here. Details about the vaccination requirements in general can also be found here.

For information on requirements from the City of Hamilton click here. For the City’s general COVID-19 page click here. Still have questions as a business owner? The City’s dedicated Public Health number for the business community only is 905-974-9848 option 4.

The Province also requires that every business has a COVID-19 Workplace Safety
Plan. For details & to download the template click here. Guidance from the City of Hamilton on creating a COVID Safety Plan can be found here. The City’s COVID-19 Screening Guide can be found here.

Businesses can contact the Province’s Stop The Spread Helpline for questions on the lockdown or support programs at 1-888-444-3659, open 7 days a week.

Additional Information & Resources for Businesses

All grants and financial support available for businesses can be viewed here.

The Hamilton COVID Concierge for Business is a one-stop online resource centre and phone line dedicated to supporting Hamilton businesses with their COVID-19 business questions and concerns. Hamilton businesses can call the COVID Concierge at 905-521-3989 (Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm) or contact them online. Learn more at

The Hamilton COVID Concierge for Business is brought to you by the Hamilton COVID Concierge Team, comprised of the City of Hamilton and the three local Chambers of Commerce.

For general COVID-19 information from the Federal Government including case numbers, travel restrictions, symptoms, and more click here.

For information from the Federal Government on transitioning from CERB to new benefits please click here. To find information on all Government programs available in response to COVID-19 for individuals AND businesses, including the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) click here.

For all resources available from the Province to help small businesses in Ontario click here.

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