The Covid pandemic has forced governments across the globe to deal with various waves and strains of Covid19 very differently. Advice from WHO (The World Health Organisation) regarding personal safety was to wear a face mask in public and to maintain a safe distance from anyone around us.
But as many governments haven’t dealt with or had a plan to deal with a pandemic, the rules regarding socialising, business operations and general travel have all majorly been put in place to reflect ever-changing data.
In this blog, we will focus on the current rules and regulations around gatherings by these areas: U.S / Mexico / Canada
Occupancy Rules In The United States
Many states have dealt with outbreaks of C19 differently, each applying their own rules and ‘Alert Levels’ based on the severity of cases per county
In response to the C19 pandemic, New York developed Localized Restriction Zone’s (Red, Orange, and Yellow) which allow for better management and containment of any C19 outbreaks. In all zones, any individuals that encourage, promote or organize mass gatherings can be fined up to $15,000/day.
Red Zone Restrictions
Non-essential businesses that are in a Red Zone must close. To see the Empire State Development Corporation breakdown of essential businesses and entities click here
Education Venues – Public schools and nonpublic schools must close and return to full remote learning
Restaurants & Bars – All food establishments cannot provide indoor or outdoor dining. However business can operate takeout and delivery options.
Religious Venues – Houses of worship can operate at 25% capacity, up to a maximum of 10 people, whichever is fewer.
Orange Zone Restrictions
Restaurants & Bars – All food establishments can provide outdoor dining and takeout/delivery service only. There can be no more than four people maximum per table and no indoor dining is allowed.
Religious Venues – Houses of worship can operate at 33% capacity, up to a maximum of 25 people, whichever is fewer
Yellow Zone Restrictions
All indoor venues must limit the number of employees to an essential number that can conduct in-store collection and curbside pick-up. Occupancy cannot exceed more than 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area set by the certificate of occupancy
All customers that enter a retail venue must maintain a distance of 6ft from others or wear an acceptable face covering.
Non-essential – All non-essential workspaces can reopen, but must follow COVID-19 requirements for their sector. More information about this can be found here
Education Venues – All public and nonpublic schools can reopen
Restaurants & Bars – All food establishments can provide indoor and outdoor dining allowed. There is a max of 4 people per table.
Religious Venues – Houses of worship can operate at 50% capacity
Here you can find the most up to date information on New York’s Covid Zone’s
The west-coast state of California developed a multi-tier and colour coded system for determining how C19 was spreading through the state’s counties.
Tier 1 – Widespread (Purple)
All Retail – Retail venues can operate at 25% capacity
Shopping Centres – Shopping centres are able to run at 25% capacity but common areas and food courts must remain closed off
Religious Venues – All religious venues are allowed to operate at 25% capacity
Tier 2 – Substantial (Red)
All Retail – Retail venues in this tier can operate at 50% capacity
Shopping Centers – Shopping centers can operate at 50% capacity with some food court options available and common areas still being closed off
Cinemas – Cinemas can operate drive-in with guidelines and indoor at 25% capacity or 100 people whichever is fewer
Restaurants – Food venues can operate indoor dining at 25% capacity or 100 people whichever is fewer
Gyms – Health and wellness venues can operate indoors at 10% capacity
Tier 3 – Moderate (Orange)
Museums – Museums are able to open at 50% capacity for indoor activities
Religious Venues – All religious venues are able to operate at 50% of the maximum capacity
Cinemas – Cinemas in tier 3 are able to run at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
Restaurants – Food venues are able to run at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
Live Sports Audiences – Stadiums, arenas and other sports venues are able to operate at a maximum of 20% capacity
Amusement Parks – Amusement parks are able to operate at 25% capacity or 500 people, whichever is fewer. All activity must be outside and in-county visitors only. All reservations must be made in advance
Gyms – Health and wellness facilities are able to operate at 25% of the maximum capacity
Tier 4 – Minimal (Yellow)
Religious Venues – Religious venues in ‘Tier 4’ are able to operate at a max capacity of 50%
Cinemas – Cinemas are able to operate at 50% capacity but there is no overall cap
Gyms – Health and wellness facilities are able to run at 50% capacity. Saunas and steam rooms can now be used
Bars & Restaurants – Food and drinks venues are able to run at a maximum capacity of 50%
Live Sports Audiences – Sports venues that provide seating for events must not exceed a maximum of 25% capacity, and all reservations must be done in advance
Amusement Parks – Amusement parks are able to operate at a maximum of 25% with no overall cap. All reservations must be done in advance
The state of Connecticut is currently undergoing a 3 phase campaign to reopening venues and allowing industries to return to full capacity. All indoor dining facilities must close at 10:30 pm and 24-hour diners can reopen at 5 am. Entertainment venues such as cinemas and bowling alleys must close at 11 pm.
Below are how Connecticut industries are affected by recent campaign phases (2 / 2.1 / 3):
- In phase 2, restaurants can operate at 50% capacity indoors with 6ft spacing between tables and/or non-porous barriers
- In phase 2.1, restaurants are limited to 50% capacity with 6ft spacing and/or non-porous barriers and no more than eight people can be seated per table
- In phase 3, restaurants can operate at 75% capacity indoors with 6ft spacing and/or non-porous barriers
- Venues in this industry can operate at 50% capacity, with social distancing and masks are required
Outdoor Event Venues
- In phases 2 & 2.1, outdoor venues can operate at 25% capacity, social distancing and masks are required
- In phase 3, outdoor venues can operate at 50% capacity, social distancing and masks are required
- In phase 2, religious gatherings are capped at 25% of the venue capacity with a max of 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors
- In phase 2.1, religious gatherings are limited to 50% capacity indoors with a max of 200 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to the number of people that could be safely accommodated by the venue. Social distancing and masks are required for both indoor and outdoor gatherings
- In phase 3, religious gatherings are limited to 50% capacity indoors with a max of 200 people. Outdoor gatherings are also limited to 50% capacity, however, there is no limit for venues that can maintain social distancing and masks are required
For a full overview of how Connecticut’s industries can operate in each phase click here
To see which the most up to date guidance for Connecticut sectors click here
In order to combat and control C19 outbreaks, during July of 2020 the state of Illinois developed the ‘Restore Illinois Plan’ which is made up of 5 phases. The phases demonstrate the overall journey back to normality meaning ‘Phase 1’ is the mass spread of C19 and ‘Phase 5’ is a full return to normal.
The state of Illinois is currently in ‘Phase 4’ of the ‘Restore Illinois Plan’ which has the following industry operational/occupancy restrictions:
Bars & Restaurants
- All bars and restaurants are allowed to operate with parties of up to 10 people
- There should be 6ft between seating areas and barriers in areas with less than 6ft between
- Standing areas (in restaurants or bars) should be limited to no more than 25% of standing area capacity
- Businesses are encouraged to convert standing areas into seated areas to limit patrons from moving throughout the premise
- Offices can operate with a maximum occupancy of 50%
- Physical meetings of up to 50 people with social distancing permitted
- A full return for non-essential workers with IDPH approved safety guidance. Businesses have been encouraged to provide accommodation for their vulnerable employees
Health & Fitness
- All fitness venues can operate at a maximum capacity of 50%
- Group fitness classes of up to 50 people are allowed as long as social distancing of 6ft is followed. Multiple groups are permitted providing the venue has the space to accommodate full social distancing
- All workout stations must be 6ft apart without barriers and 3ft apart with impermeable barriers between
- Locker rooms and showers must be sanitised at least once an hour and ancillary accommodations (e.g., saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms) should remain closed
- All gyms must have 1 employee per every 4,000 sq. ft. to monitor social distancing and sanitize equipment between uses.
Illinois ‘Phase 4’ guidelines state there should be “employee health screenings upon entry into the workplace and mid-shift screenings for employees with shifts >5 hours” to read the full ‘Phase 4’ guidelines click here
You can also see Illinois ‘Regional Phase Dashboard’ to see a breakdown of which counties are under which phase.
Occupancy Rules In Canada
After the efforts of a wide-scale testing infrastructure being implemented, the Canadian government was under a large amount of pressure to get the outbreak under control. Which has led to Canada’s occupancy rules becoming a lot stricter.
- Indoor and outdoor dining at food establishments is prohibited.
- Indoor organized events and social gatherings are not permitted, except with members of the same household.
- Outdoor gatherings are permitted with 5 people or less with physical distancing.
- Religious ceremonies, rites and services can have up to 10 people indoors or 10 people outdoors.
- Meeting and event spaces are closed.
When outside of national lockdowns, there seems to be a freedom for businesses to continue as normal but to operate with social distancing in mind – resources for workplaces have been provided by the CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety).
Occupancy Rules In Mexico
Restrictions on border travel (between the US and Mexico) surrounding tourism was expected. However, those travelling for work and education purposes across the border have not been affected.
In May 2020, the Mexican government rolled out a traffic light system to determine how businesses can operate based on their location. This system was provided to be clear on how many individuals are allowed in those kinds of venues.
Red: Only essential economic activities are allowed. Hotels are only available to critical workers and occupancy is limited to 25%.
Orange: In addition to essential economic activities, companies of non-essential economic activities will be allowed to work with 30% of the personnel for their operation, always taking into account the maximum care measures for people with a greater risk of presenting serious disease of COVID-19, open public spaces will be opened with a reduced capacity.
Yellow: All work activities are allowed. Restaurants, personal care services, and lodging businesses may operate at 50% capacity. Cinemas, theatres, cultural facilities, malls, public parks, places of worship, and professional sports and gyms may operate at 35% capacity.
Green: All activities are allowed, considering the recommendations of safety distance.
You can find the latest covid restriction information by Mexican state here