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UPDATE: Dec. 17, 2020 Orillia implements reduced capacity limits in large retail stores effective Dec. 19

Posted on Thursday December 17, 2020

Orillia Council approved an amendment to the COVID-19 Emergency Measures By-law to further protect the health, safety and well-being of customers and employees in large retail/grocery stores within the City of Orillia. 

At a Special Council meeting held on Dec. 17, Council voted unanimously to implement reduced capacity limits of approximately 50 per cent based on occupant load under the Fire Code, to a maximum of 250 people at one time, for retail/grocery stores with a gross area greater than 20,000 sq. ft. The amended COVID-19 Emergency Measures By-law comes into effect Dec. 19, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. and impacts approximately 18 stores throughout the city. 

“Council and the City’s Emergency Management Committee have been putting the health and safety of Orillia residents first and foremost throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving numerous complaints, speaking to concerned residents, and witnessing first-hand extremely large crowds within some of our large stores, it became very apparent that reduced capacity limits would create a safer shopping environment. These reduced capacity limits will also hopefully keep our community from going into the Grey-Lockdown zone, which will have further detrimental impacts on our local economy,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “I encourage our neighbouring municipalities in Simcoe-Muskoka to implement similar reduced capacity limits, or businesses themselves to step up and do the same in an effort to prevent our areas from moving into the Grey-Lockdown zone.”

The reduced capacity provisions of the COVID-19 Emergency Measures By-law are in place while the City of Orillia is in the Red-Control zone and if the catchment areas reaches the Grey-Lockdown zone. 

The City’s Emergency Management Committee consulted the President and CEO of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the local MPP – all of whom supported in principle the concept of reducing capacity limits in larger retail establishments. Consultation with numerous businesses that are impacted by the reduced capacity limits was carried out by the City this week and there was significant support locally for the emergency measure. 

Enforcement of the COVID-19 Emergency Measures By-law will be done on a proactive basis with education being the first step. Failure to comply with the by-law could result in fines up to $100,000 for the first offence. 

For more information visit: 

For more information on the COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Orillia visit: 

For COVID-19 updates from the SMDHU visit:


Mayor Steve Clarke

Brent Thomas
Orillia Fire Chief

Gayle Jackson
Chief Administrative Officer

Jennifer Ruff
Director of Business Development and Communications