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City updates enforcement of COVID guidelines

Updated Emergency Orders take effect 12:01 a.m. Thursday, April 8
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Earlier today, the province declared its third state of emergency and stay-at-home order in response to COVID-19 and variants of concern. Updated Emergency Orders take effect 12:01 a.m. Thursday, April 8, and will be in place for at least four weeks.

Under the stay-at-home order, people should only leave home for groceries, medical appointments, exercise or essential work. Anyone who can work from home, should do so.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the City of Guelph, and the Guelph Police Service remind people that following provincial regulations and public health guidelines is essential to prevent people from getting sick, gain control of COVID-19 and its variants, and put an end to ongoing, recurring restrictions.

“We are all tired of living with COVID-19. We all want to see our families and friends again. We know small businesses are struggling; some are closing permanently. This is what a global crisis feels like; it’s awful. ” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie. “It feels like someone keeps moving us to the beginning, and we have to start all over again. I remember Guelph’s response at the beginning of the pandemic. We volunteered, made donations, we helped neighbours get groceries. We banged pots and pans, put signs in windows celebrating healthcare and frontline workers. If we have to start again, I want to see that spirit again too. Let’s follow the guidelines, get our vaccinations, and end these shutdowns for good.”

“I need every resident and business in our region to understand the risk that COVID-19 variants pose to all of us,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “These new variants are much more transmissible and carry with them a much greater risk of serious illness or death even for people in their 30s and 40s. Please continue to follow public health guidelines and get vaccinated as soon as it is your turn.”

Enforcing COVID-19 guidelines during stay-at-home order
A summary of complaints and charges is posted at each week.

While most people and local businesses are following provincial regulations and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health guidelines, Guelph Police and Bylaw teams are responding to concerns about large gatherings and businesses not following COVID guidelines. The city has and will continue issuing charges and fines in accordance with the Reopening Ontario Act.

“It’s disappointing to see a few local businesses willingly and deliberately breaking the laws designed to protect their employees and customers,” said Doug Godfrey, General Manager of Guelph’s operations department. “Thankfully, most people and businesses are following guidelines so we can get this virus under control.”

Set fines

  • Failure to comply with Reopening Ontario Act $750 
  • Obstructing anyone performing an activity or duty under the Reopening Ontario Act $1,000

In addition to set fines, the city is prepared to issue court summons for people or business owners who deliberately, flagrantly or repeatedly violate the Reopening Ontario Act. If convicted, the court would determine fines and penalties: 

  • A person could be fined up to $100,000 and face up to a year in prison; 
  • A director or officer of a corporation (business owner) could be fined up to $500,000 and face up to a year in prison; 
  • A corporation may be subject to a fine of up to $10,000,000.

The city will also consider revoking licenses for businesses who refuse to follow provincial regulations.

Guelph Police and Bylaw officers will not stop people out walking or driving. Like the last provincial emergency order, Guelph Police and Bylaw officers may be authorized to: 

  • Disperse or issue charges, fines or court summons for indoor gatherings involving people who don’t live together; 
  • Disperse or issue charges, fines or court summons for outdoor gatherings of more than five people who don’t live together; 
  • Issue charges, fines or court summons to people who refuse to wear a mask or face covering as required; 
  • Issue charges, fines or court summons to businesses refusing to obey emergency orders.

The city asks people not to use public transit if they are feeling unwell or have travelled outside Canada within the past 14 days.

No indoor gatherings during stay-at-home order
Stay at least two metres away from anyone you don’t live with.

Do not visit any other household or allow visitors in your home. If you live alone, consider having close contact with only one other household.

Up to five people can gather outdoors if there is room for people who don’t live together to stay two metres apart.

Shopping during stay-at-home order

Support local. Shop safe. #guelphshops
The city encourages everyone to shop where they live; order online, use curbside pickup or delivery services. For a directory of local shops visit Share photos and stories using #guelphshops.

In-person shopping is permitted at pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery and convenience stores primarily selling food; indoor shopping limited to 50 per cent of capacity.

In-person shopping is permitted at garden centres; indoor shopping limited to 25 per cent of capacity.

Big box stores must limit indoor shopping to 25 per cent of capacity and only allow shopping in groceries and pharmacy aisles.

All other retail stores and restaurants are permitted to open for curbside pickup, takeout or delivery.

Personal services must close during provincewide shut down and stay-at-home order.

City services during stay-at-home order

Building inspections and permits
Guelph will conduct building inspections for permitted construction and continue issuing permits to prepare for future resumption of construction projects.

Visit  for online services and more information.

City Council and committee meetings
Learn when and how to participate in online City Council and committee meetings at

City Hall and courthouse
Please consider using the mail slot at the front of City Hall or online services at

Front counter services are available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Marriage licences are issued by appointment only.  Visit for more information.

Guelph Farmers’ Market
Food vendors only. Up to 50 shoppers permitted indoors. Visit for a list of vendors and shopping guidelines.

Guelph parks, playgrounds and trails remain open
The city encourages people to find safe ways to get outside and stay active. Guelph’s skatepark, playgrounds, frisbee golf and open spaces will remain open for people to get out for some exercise.

Even outside, people should stay at least two metres apart and wear a mask around anyone they don’t live with.

Avoid crowded places in parks and trails; try another spot or come back another time. Team sports, practices and games where players are less than two metres apart are not permitted.

Visit for maps and more information.

Guelph Public Library
All Guelph Public Library branches will offer curbside pickup service only. Visit for hours and guidelines.

Guelph Museums, recreation centres, River Run Centre and Sleeman Centre remain closed
Check out online exhibits and virtual experiences at

Guelph Transit
Front counter services will be available at the administration office by appointment only. Riders must wear masks, essential trips only. Please don’t use transit if you feel sick or if you have travelled outside Canada in the past 14 days. Visit for more information.

Guelph Waste Resource Innovation Centre
Waste collection will continue, the drop-off will remain open. Please wear a mask. Visit for hours and guidelines.

If anyone in a home is self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms, has tested positive for COVID-19, or is isolating due to travel outside Canada, they should put all recyclables and garbage in bags in their grey cart, and keep using the green cart as usual.