Coronavirus: What remains open during a state of emergency

By News staff

Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency March 17, forcing the closure of many businesses in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

On March 23, the province released a list of essential workplaces and services that are allowed to remain open during the crisis.

This means all public libraries, all private schools, all licenced childcare centres, all theatres, cinemas and concert venues, and all bars and restaurants, except to provide takeout food and delivery, will be forced to close until at least March 31.

Essential services, however, will remain open.

Here’s a partial list of what will stay open amid the provincial state of emergency. A more detailed list is available here.

  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Laundrymats
  • Safety supply stores
  • Motor vehicle repair and supply stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Public transit
  • Some retail stores like hardware stores (note: several large retailers have made the decision to close regardless including Apple, Nike, Sephora, and Lululemon)
  • The LCBO will be open, but with reduced hours.
  • The Beer Store
  • Some cannabis retailers
  • Take-out and delivery will still be available at restaurants.
  • Factories
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Construction sites
  • Toronto Animal Services shelter locations (with limited public-facing services)
  • Banks
  • Office buildings
  • Weddings and funerals with fewer than 50 people


Some may be operating on limited or shortened hours.

Please note some stores and services have online operations; they are allowed to stay open during this period of time, the province said on March 23.

Doug Ford was asked about businesses that have 50+ people and why they aren’t being forced to shut down.

“It’s critical we keep the supply chain going … we need the grocery stories open, we need the manufacturers of goods to continue manufacturing, to get the products in the stores…”
– Doug Ford

Ford said the vast majority of businesses, including those vital for day-to-day life, won’t be affected by this state of emergency.

Find out what has already been closed or postponed in the wake of the novel coronavirus here.

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