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This Version Posted: August 4, 2020

As limits on the size of gatherings increase, it’s extra important to prevent COVID-19 when in close contact with other people.

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Limits on Large Gatherings

Limits on large gatherings in Ontario have been increased as follows: .

  • A maximum of 50 people are allowed at indoor gatherings.
  • Up to 100 people are allowed at outdoor gatherings.
  • In both cases, individuals must maintain physical distancing by staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from other attendees who are outside their household or social circle.

Limits on large gatherings will apply to high-risk settings and activities attended by people. These include: organized or spontaneous indoor and outdoor events (like parties, fundraisers, fairs, wedding receptions, funeral receptions); festivals; casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments; concerts and live shows (including performing arts); movie theatres; real estate open houses; convention centres and other meeting/event spaces; tour and guide services (like boat tours); recreational attractions, courses and instruction (like fitness classes, music lessons, tutoring);, and facilities for sports/recreational activities (like gyms and fitness studios).

For specific COVID-19 guidelines/rules for certain public settings or situations, click here.

Non-Medical Mask Use Inside Public Spaces

The Health Unit has updated instructions for using non-medical masks/face coverings inside public places. The updated instructions on face coverings could apply to large gatherings/events held inside. Organizers are encouraged to see if their event could be impacted by it.

Social Circles

People are encouraged to create a social circle during COVID-19. A family or social circle allows up to 10 people to interact closely with each other, without the need for physical distancing. These circles would be the only exception when people should not stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart.

Weddings/Funerals

People gathering indoors for religious services, rites or ceremonies, and wedding ceremonies or funeral services, can continue to fill up to 30 per cent of the capacity of the particular room or building, as introduced in Stage 2. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice, including strict rules around physical distancing. Please also note the Health Unit’s updated instructions for using non-medical masks/face coverings inside public places.

Places of Worship

If you are a church/place of worship, attendance at services is limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshipers. Strict rules on physical distancing must also be followed. For more information, follow the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Advice for Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies. Please also note the Health Unit’s updated instructions for using non-medical masks/face coverings inside public places, including churches and places of worships.

General Tips for Event Planning During COVID-19

If organizing or attending a large gathering/event like a concert, festival, worship service or cultural/sporting event, you need to make an informed decision. Many people in close contact in one location for a long time can lead to the spread of respiratory illnesses. Other factors also come into play, such as venue cleanliness, crowd size, health and age of attendees, and number of high-touch areas (like doors, elevators).

Organizers
  • Each event is different, so assess the type, size, scope and need for it. Consider the number of people who may attend too.
  • Consider specific COVID-19 prevention guidelines that are in place for events, including limits on the number of attendees. For further direction, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.
  • If you still plan to hold an event, assess the risk and take steps to reduce the spread of illness. Consider things like:
    • Reducing the number of participants or changing the venue to prevent crowding
    • Thinking about who will attend. If they are older or have weak immune systems/pre-existing health conditions, they may be at higher risk of getting sick from illnesses like COVID-19
    • Staggering arrivals and departures
    • Providing packaged refreshments instead of a buffet
    • Increasing access to handwashing stations
    • Promoting personal protective practices (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, staying home if ill)
    • Offering virtual or live-streamed activities
    • Changing the event program to reduce high risk activities such as those that require physical contact between participants.
  • These resources offer further guidance to assess risks and take steps to reduce spread of illness at events:
Attendees
  • Avoid events/gatherings if you are sick. Stay home, except to get medical care. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed.
  • Use precautions if attending a large event. Wash hands frequently with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizer). Cover cough/sneeze. Keep a two-metre (6-foot) distance from others as much as possible. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.