Holidays, Family Gatherings and Celebrations

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Key Message: Stay Safe, Stay Home, Limit Gatherings

Staying home is still the best way to protect yourself and others. COVID-19 remains a health risk, and coronavirus variants now circulating locally and in Ontario can more easily be spread between people.

Protect yourself and your loved ones by:

  • Avoiding social gatherings. (This is strongly recommended, even though social gatherings at private homes, backyards or parks of up to 10 people indoors and up to 25 people outdoors are now allowed — provided people wear masks and keep 2 metres apart from others).
  • Limit close contacts to only those people with whom you live.
  • Celebrate virtually or connect by phone with other family and friends. This is a better and safer way to mark holidays and celebrations. A return to normal will come once more COVID-19 vaccines are available, helping to better control the spread of the virus.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel, especially to areas with high COVID-19 rates.

General Tips for Holidays, Celebrations and Family Gatherings
  • Stay home if sick. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 assessment tool to help determine if you need further care.
  • Avoid non-essential trips to any other part of Ontario.
  • Limit your contact to only those in your immediate household. If you live alone, you can celebrate with one other household.
  • Follow food safety tips if preparing a meal for your immediate household.
  • Do NOT visit visit loved ones whom you do not live. Instead, connect virtually with family and friends. Pick up the phone or chat via social media and/or video-conferencing. Consider using these platforms to hold a virtual holiday party/celebration. If technology is not your thing, send a card or write a letter to a loved one.
  • Look after your mental health and that of your loved ones, especially people who may be alone and feel cut off from others.
  • Avoid the “3 C’s” – closed spaces, crowded places and close faces. 
  • Practise physical distancing as much as possible. Keep a 2 metre (6-foot) distance from anyone who is outside your household.
  • Wear a mask or face covering inside public places. Ensure face coverings are tightly fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin (scarves and bandanas are insufficient). NEW: Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres from others outside your household. 

Service Providers Working With Vulnerable Clients

It’s essential to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially to vulnerable clients. If you are a service provider working with vulnerable clients, you can access link/resources below to protect the health of staff, volunteers and clients.  

General Tips

For Homeless Shelters and Service Providers 

For Food Banks/Food Program Providers 

If you are feeling ill, stay at home and away from others

Practise Physical Distancing: 

  • Change the layout of your centre so there is enough space for staff, volunteers and clients to maintain physical distance
  • Remove client wait areas. Get people to wait outdoors (weather permitting). Use pylons or tape spaced 2 metres apart to guide clients on where to stand in line. 
  • Mark or assign work stations so that staff/volunteers can maintain a 2-metre distance apart.
  • Limit the number of clients in the centre at one time.
  • Stagger arrivals and departures to reduce client contact.
  • Allow staff and volunteers to fill out any forms or paperwork on behalf of clients. (NOTE: Clients must be able to view and verbally verify the information documented is correct. Staff and volunteers cannot sign on behalf of a client.)  
  • Extend hours or open on additional days so clients can be spread out.  

Practise Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 

  • Wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Do this before and after receiving items and making packages for delivery.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60-90% concentration) and tissues at all entrances and work stations.
  • Remind staff, volunteers and clients to sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow or into a tissue. Used tissue must be thrown  into the trash. Wash or sanitize hands after.

Wear Masks/Face Coverings

  • Wear a mask or face covering. NOTE: Face coverings must be worn inside public spaces.
  • Develop a policy and protocols for your organization on mask use.
  • Educate staff and volunteers on proper use and disposal of masks.

Increasing Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increase surface cleaning and disinfecting on high-touch surfaces (E.g. doorknobs, light switches, all phones, counters, handles on cabinets, fridges, utility or grocery carts, pens, computers stations, etc.) 
  • Use only disinfectants that have an 8-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN). The DIN means a product is approved by Health Canada for use in this country. Click here for a specific list of hard-surface disinfectants that are known to be effective against COVID-19. Chlorine bleach may also be used as a disinfectant.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use of products for cleaning or disinfecting. This includes ensuring disinfectants are left on surfaces/items for the proper length of time to be effective.  

Food Distribution Considerations: 

  • Contact the client ahead of time to arrange a delivery/pickup time.
  • Let staff and volunteers handle the food for clients. Pre-pack food boxes or bags based on clients’ wishes and pass out food at the door. Food boxes or bags may need to be smaller or lighter for easier delivery/carrying.
  • If delivering packages for clients:
    • Wash or sanitize hands before the delivery.
    • Drop off the package at the client’s door without entering their home.
    • If staff/volunteer must enter the home, put on a mask before entering.  Avoid touching surfaces in the client’s home.  Maintain 2m distance from other people in the home. Wash or sanitize hands when leaving the client’s home. 

Additional Resources

Download and print resources below:

Fact Sheet: Take Care of Yourself and Each Other – Public Health Ontario

Testing for COVID-19 – What Now?

Testing for COVID-19 is a critical step in stopping the spread of illness.  

Where and When to Get Tested 
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 
  • You MUST continue to isolate if you test positive for the virus. Public health will call you as soon as possible about your test results and ask you questions about places you have visited and people who you were in close contact. Anyone in close contact with you may be at risk from COVID-19 themselves, so must be called. Your help in answering these questions is essential to protect the health of others in the community.   
  • PLEASE NOTE: Public Health Ontario (PHO) is supporting the Health Unit’s efforts to follow up with all COVID-19 contacts in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. If a PHO contact tracer calls you, the number will appear as ‘Unknown.’ This is NOT a scam. If you have questions, call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020
  • You will receive regular phone calls from public health staff to see how you are doing and to monitor any symptoms you have. Public health staff will also ensure you are staying in self-isolation at home and can discuss any supports you need and respond to your questions. 
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and do NOT stay at home in self-isolation, you could be served with a Class Order under Section 22 (5.01.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order states you must stay home in self-isolation or face daily fines or imprisonment for not doing so. 
  • There are different periods for self-isolating, depending on your situation and the nature of your COVID-19 symptoms. To be safe, do not stop self-isolating until you receive the all-clear from the Health Unit.  
  • Visit the Ontario government website to learn more about COVID-19 testing. 
Close Contacts 
  • Public health staff (either Health Unit or Public Health Ontario staff) will follow up with anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. This is called contact tracing.  
  • Individuals who are considered close contacts to someone who has COVID-19 can include: 
    • Family members/people living in the same household 
    • Anyone who had direct contact with a positive COVID-19 case 
  • Public health will follow up with these close contacts and give instructions on what they need to do (like quarantining) to slow the spread of COVID-19. Public health will also do regular phone calls with close contacts to check in on them and ensure they follow public health directions. 

For Employees

COVID-19 has changed many things, including how we work. No matter where and how you are working, it’s important to follow key preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Current Reopening Situation

Key messages:
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been directed to self isolate by the Health Unit. This is extra important given new coronavirus variants being found in Ontario that can more easily be spread.
  • Plan for physical distancing whenever and wherever possible. Avoid sharing work stations, tools or equipment. If you have to share items, clean and disinfect all commonly touched surfaces before you touch them. Allow for lots of space between you and other people, especially in lunch rooms and other common areas. Stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart whenever possible. 
  • If staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than 2 metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth. At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection (NOTE: This is also a requirement of the Ministry of Labour). Please refer to this COVID-19 Eye Protection guidance resource for more information.
  • Use appropriate PPE when needed.
  • Ontario is now requiring that non-medical masks or face coverings be worn inside public places. Employees who work with the public are covered by this. Learn more on how to ensure a mask fits properly and when you can temporarily remove a mask.
  • Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.  Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash. 
  • Clean and disinfect your work stations, and all commonly-touched surfaces often.
  • If you are carpooling to work with another person, ensure physical distancing on the drive. Stick to two people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver. Masks should be worn on the trip. The only exception to this two-person limit is if travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.
  • Review these workplace video resources for more information. 
  • Communicate and share credible and evidenced based information with coworkers and customers. 
  • Take care of your mental health.

Workplace health and safety resources:

Visit the Ontario government website for a full list of sector-specific guidelines to reopen workplaces. You can also go to these Ontario health and safety associations for more COVID-19 health and safety advice tailored to your workplace: 

You have a right to a safe workplace – now more than ever during COVID-19. Learn about your rights during COVID-19 and discover resources/supports that can help reduce the risk of illness for you and others in your workplace.

Latest Updates

What if There is a Case of COVID-19 in My Workplace?
  • Anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must NOT go to work and should self-isolate at home. If contact with a positive case is confirmed, further directions will be provided by the Health Unit
  • Physical distancing rules at work mean employees should not be in close contact with each other. If, however, an employee is identified as being a close contact of a co-worker who is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, the person should immediately take Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed. They can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. The employee may also be contacted by the Health Unit with further directions on what to do, including self-isolating or self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Employers are strongly urged to support the COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from any health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers
  • Encourage everyone at work to continue following physical distancing rules (staying 2 metres or 6 feet apart from others) and regularly wash hands with soap and water
  • Continue to frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched or shared surfaces at work, including tools, equipment and workstations.
  • Follow direction from the Health Unit about any extra precautions that are needed to reduce the risk of illness. These directives can include: getting employees/staff who were in close contact with the customer/client to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfecting at your workplace, and other measures
  • Continue to keep employees and customers safe:
    • Follow provincial rules that specify how your business/workplace can operate (for example, only offer curbside pickup, limit number of people in store, etc.).
    • Ensure a 2-metre (6-foot) distance is kept between people.
    • Reduce overcrowding.
    • Increase your online or phone services
    • Offer curb-side delivery
    • Make hand sanitizer available for customers at entry and exit points.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an employee come to work if someone in their household has developed symptoms of COVID-19?

It is recommended that the symptomatic household member be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate while awaiting test results.

If the employee has no symptoms, they can continue to work and self-monitor for symptoms, unless alternative direction has been provided by public health.

What should I do if an employee at my workplace develops symptoms of COVID-19? Should I send everyone else home? Should I close?

The employee with symptoms should be isolated from others, sent home immediately and advised to seek medical assessment and testing for their symptoms. Other employees can continue to work and should self-monitor for symptoms. It is not a requirement to send all other employees home and/or close unless advised by public health.

If one of my employees tells me that someone in their household travels regularly outside of Canada for work (e.g. a truck driver), can my employee still come to work?

Yes. Household members are not required to quarantine or self-isolate in this case but should self-monitor for symptoms.

Someone in an employee’s household has been identified as a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19. Can the employee still come to work?

The employee can go to work but should self-monitor for symptoms.

When can an employee return to work if they have been sick with COVID-19?

Health Unit staff will provide detailed direction to all positive cases and their close contacts on self-isolation requirements and return to work.

When can an employee return to the workplace if they have been sick, but do not have COVID-19?

If the individual was tested for COVID-19 and the result was negative, the recommendation is to wait for 24 hours after symptoms resolve before returning to the workplace, unless otherwise advised by public health.

How do I protect myself, my employees and my customers from COVID-19?

Remember these key public health measures:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms daily, and stay home if you are sick
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer
  • Cough/Sneeze into elbow or tissue, put tissue in garbage and wah hands right away
  • Keep at least 2 metres physical distance from others
  • Wear a mask when indoors in public spaces, and anytime keeping 2m physical distance is not possible
  • Regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces
  • Post signage to remind employees, customers and visitors of all of the above
  • Self-isolate if you develop symptoms
  • Stay within your social circle

What are the new variants of coronavirus and do they pose extra risks for me at work?

Recently, new variants of the COVID-19 virus have been identified as posing possible new risks to people due to high rates of transmission, more severe illness and increased risk of reinfection. The variants include:

  • B.1.1.7 (501Y.V1) – variant first identified in the United Kingdom in late November 2020.
  • 501Y.V2 – variant first identified in South Africa at the end of December 2020.
  • P.1 – variant first detected in travelers from Brazil who arrived in Japan in January 2021.

All three variants have been identified in Ontario, with cases believed to be linked to both travel-related and community transmission. While information about these variants is still emerging, evidence has indicated that they are more easily spread between people.

The arrival of these variants means everyone must take extra precautions at work, home or in the community to stop the spread.

How concerned should we be about the new variants of COVID-19 now present in Ontario?

In general, the COVID-19 variants of concern being detected in Ontario seem to be more contagious and therefore can spread among people more quickly. This means it’s extra important to continue following all the important public health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes:

  • Wearing masks
  • Avoiding non-essential travel
  • Limiting trips out of your home
  • Limiting contact to only those people with whom you live
  • Practising physical distancing by staying two metres apart from others
  • Frequently washing your hands with soap and water
  • Coughing/sneezing into your sleeve
  • Following other prevention measures.

However, there is good news too. According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved or are currently in development do provide some protection against the COVID-19 variants. Various vaccine makers have also stated they are ready to reformulate their existing vaccines – or develop new ones – so they provide greater protection against the new coronavirus variants.

Health Canada is also working with vaccine manufacturers and international regulators to assess the impact of the new variants on the effectiveness of approved vaccines and treatments.

Realizing the potential health risks of these new strains, the Ontario government has also announced additional measures to stop the spread of these COVID-19 variants.

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Follow us for COVID-19 Updates

You can find and follow updates on COVID-19 in your local community via the following HKPR resources:

If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020 or email at

Mask Use during COVID-19

On This Page:

Wearing face coverings is an important way to reduce the risk of COVID-19. That’s why it’s important to know when and how to properly wear a mask.

NOTE: The Ontario government is mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions. For complete details, click here.

The Province is also now recommending that a mask or face covering be worn outdoors when you can’t maintain 2 metres physical distance from others outside your household. 

Medical Masks (like surgical and N-95):
close up White protective hygenic mask isolated backgrounds for doctors and patient from virus biological infection and PM2.5 dust, pandemic news

These must be kept for health care providers and for those providing direct care for someone with COVID-19.

If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to seek medical care, wear a mask. Your health provider may also recommend you wear a mask while you’re seeking or waiting for care. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading around you when you cough or sneeze.

Masks MUST be put on, taken off and thrown out properly. If you need to wear a mask, be sure to clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When wearing a mask, follow this Public Health Ontario fact sheet  on how to properly wear and throw away one.

Homemade (Cloth) Masks:

The Ontario government is now mandating that masks have to be worn in most public places across the province.

When worn properly, non-medical masks can help to cover your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or landing on common surfaces. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) advises that putting on a homemade mask can help protect others around you if you’re ill with COVID-19 and do not yet know it. PHAC is also recommending that masks or face coverings should be made of at least three layers, including:

  • Two layers made of tightly woven material fabric, such as cotton or linen
  • The third (middle) layer made of a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene fabric.

NOTE: People shouldn’t throw away their two-layer non-medical masks. If making or buying more masks, consider the three-layer mask for improved protection.

Wearing a face mask in public places, together with washing your hands with soap and water, staying home and maintaining physical distancing, are all important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Homemade masks or facial coverings should not be worn/put on by:

  • Children under age 2 years, or a child under the age of five years either chronologically or developmentally
  • A person who is unable to remove a mask without assistance
  • Anyone who cannot safely wear a non-medical mask or face covering due to medical reasons such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information

Click here for specific information on mask use regulations currently in effect in Ontario.

Double Masking

Double-masking means wearing one face mask on top of another. An example is wearing a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.

In early February 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. This has resulted in new CDC guidelines for Americans on improving mask fit, which includes adding layers of material to a mask (either by using cloth masks with multiple layers of fabric, or by wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask).

This change comes as new, more contagious COVID-19 variants are circulating. So far, the Public Health Agency of Canada has not changed its recommendations on mask use in Canada. In November 2020, PHAC did update its recommendations to say non-medical masks should be made of at least three layers, with the middle layer being a filter-type fabric.

Currently in Ontario, you must wear a non-medical mask or face covering that covers your nose, mouth and chin inside any business or public place. Properly wearing a mask inside public spaces and maintaining 2 metres physical distance from others are important measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Masks will not stop you from getting COVID-19, but can help protect others.

While there is no instruction to ‘double mask’ in Canada, consider doing so if it makes you feel more comfortable (taking care to ensure it does not make breathing difficult). Add an extra layer to your cloth mask or try wearing a cloth mask over a disposable mask.

The best advice to prevent COVID-19 remains staying home as much as possible and avoiding contact with other people you do not live with.

How to Properly Use a Homemade Mask/Face Covering:  
  • Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (use good hand hygiene while wearing it too)
  • Masks should fit snugly, but comfortably against your face (non-gaping) allowing you to breathe without restriction. Masks should be secured with ties or ear loops and have multiple fabric layers
  • Do not share cloth masks with others
  • Remember not to touch or rub your eyes while wearing it
  • Avoid moving, adjusting or touching your mask while using it, as it could become contaminated on the outside. 
  • Change face coverings if they get slightly wet or dirty
  • Wash the cloth mask after each use as it can get damp or dirty:
    • Put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • Cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water after putting the mask into the laundry.
  • Homemade masks that cannot be washed should be thrown out in a properly lined garbage bin as soon as they get damp, dirty or crumpled. Do not throw used masks on the ground or in a shopping cart. Immediately after wash your hands with soap and water.
  • For ideas on making your own homemade cloth masks, visit this Public Health Agency of Canada masks resource page.

Summary Do’s and Don’ts for Using Homemade Masks/Face Coverings


  • Wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask
  • Practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering
  • Make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth
  • Avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • Avoid touching the covering while using it
  • Change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do Not:

  • Share face coverings or face masks with others
  • Place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing
  • Use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask

Temporary Foreign Workers and COVID-19

The local Health Unit works closely with area farmers to ensure temporary (or migrant) workers can work safely during COVID-19.

Section 22 Order For Agriculture Farms Employing Migrant Workers

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has issued a Section 22 Class Order (updated Jan. 29, 2021) for owners and operators of agricultural farms that employ migrant farm workers, participate in the federal Temporary Farm Worker (TFW) or operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations. The order applies to these agricultural farms in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

The Order is effective from 12 pm (noon) July 9, 2020 and will remain in effect until the local Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required. The Order requires all owners and operators of agricultural operations to take additional steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for farm workers and local residents. Please read this Fact Sheet for more detailed information on the Order.


Is this Order limited to seasonal housing accommodations for migrant workers or Temporary Farm Workers (TFWs) only?

This Section 22 Class Order applies to all owners and operators of agricultural farms that employ migrant farm workers, or participate in the federal Temporary Farm Worker (TFW) or operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations, including seasonal housing for non-migrant workers, which may include local residents, students or others.

Does this Order restrict a migrant worker from working at more than one farm or if they are staying in a seasonal accommodation at one of the farms they are working on?

Yes. Note that local workers such as students are also included in this Order and should only be working at one farm.

By working ‘exclusively at one workplace,’ does this Order prohibit a migrant worker from working at a roadside stand or farmer’s market?

No. The migrant worker would still be considered as working in the same workplace, just a different location (such as a different field). The intent is they are not working with other workers from a different farm. This is especially important to remember if working at a farmer’s market. Migrant and local workers from one farm should not interact with those from another agricultural operation.

Is there a difference between single unit accommodations versus group or multiple persons residing in the same accommodation?

No. They mean the same thing.

Additional Resource

Advice for Agricultural/Farm Owners and Operators – HKPR District Health Unit

Working With Farm Operators to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 on Farms – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Health Unit Role

The Health Unit works to protect the health of workers and the well-being of the entire community by preventing the spread of the virus. This ensures area farms operate safely and by the rules, while allowing our local communities to stay well-fed and have access to quality, locally-produced food items.

During COVID-19, the Health Unit follows provincial directives and federal guidelines for temporary foreign workers. Throughout the growing season, our Public Health Inspectors work directly with local farmers and migrant workers to ensure these guidelines are followed to the letter of the law. Some of the provisions include: 

  • Regular housing/accommodation inspections
  • Requiring temporary workers to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada
  • Doing ongoing screening of workers for COVID-19 symptoms and putting in place provisions that they fully isolate themselves from others if they get sick
  • Making sure farmers do their part to protect the health of workers. This means: providing appropriate hygiene facilities/supplies, promoting physical distancing measures (such as making sure worker accommodations allow for at least 2-metre distance), and regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces. 
  • Ensuring farm owners/operators make temporary foreign workers aware of their rights and entitlements, including access to health care services/supports if they become sick and must self-isolate.

For more information on Health Unit efforts, call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

Advice for Agricultural/Farm Owners and Operators

How to Reduce the Spread of Illness
  • Workers should be educated on how to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Encourage regular hand hygiene by following proper handwashing and hand sanitizing methods.
  • Post hand hygiene signs in visible locations (like in washrooms, above sinks, dispenser holders).
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) onsite should have an alcohol concentration between 70%- 90%.
  • Liquid handsoap, paper towels and ABHR dispensers should be checked regularly to ensure they are full. Single-use, disposable products are preferred. If using refillable dispensers, ensure they are cleaned first followed by disinfection between refills.
  • Post additional posters as needed in high-visible locations to reinforce the message not to spread germs and cover your cough. Find printable resources here.
  • Practise proper respiratory etiquette. This includes coughing/sneezing into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hand). Wash hands with soap and water or ABHR immediately afterwards.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces regularly and more often when someone is ill. These include doorknobs, light switches, handrails, faucets, fridge handles, keyboards, and phones.
  • Never share items that come into contact with the mouth or nose such as toothbrushes, eating/drinking utensils, or cigarettes/smoking devices.
  • Personal grooming items should not be shared (like hand towels, combs, brushes, shaving equipment, and nail cutters). Personal items should be kept separate for each worker.
  • Only allow one person at a time to use shared spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom or TV room. If necessary, create a schedule for workers to use common spaces in shifts to maintain physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet apart from others). Reconfigure common spaces so seating ensures physical distancing. These areas should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Workers should not eat together unless physical distancing is possible. Try to get them to eat at different times or have workers eat meals in their own rooms. Be sure to clean all surfaces between meal seatings.
  • Remove shared food containers from dining areas (like pitchers of water, salt and pepper shakers).
  • Encourage workers to remain in their room as much as possible. If rooms are shared, workers should keep as far apart from each other to maintain the 2 metre (6 foot) distance requirement.
  • Arrange for the delivery of groceries and other personal items to reduce the need for workers to leave the farm.
  • Contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, if any of your workers screen positive for COVID-19 during your daily active screening.
  • Notify the Health Unit immediately if any migrant worker needs to leave the farm/isolation location for ANY reason during the 14-day isolation period. This could include seeking medical attention.
What To Do if a Worker Becomes Ill
  • If a worker reports or shows symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with the virus, immediately
    • Separate and self-isolate the individual from others
    • Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, for further direction
  • The worker must be isolated for 14 days in separate, dedicated quarters used for isolating sick employees
  • If a private accommodation is not possible, a symptomatic individual must have his/her own private bedroom and bathroom. Ensure:
    • The room has good airflow (open windows as weather permits)
    • The ill worker can be kept 2 metres away from others who are not sick
    • Workers wear a surgical/procedure mask if they are to leave their room.
    • Meals are brought to sick workers. If possible, use single-use cutlery or dishes and properly dispose of them in a garbage bag. If re-usable cutlery or dishes are used, avoid touching the items directly (such as placing them on a tray). Wash your hands with soap and water and immediately wash the dishes as well
    • Hand sanitizer is present in the room. If the room must be shared by more than one individual with confirmed COVID-19, they are not required to wear masks.
  • If the worker must be tested at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre, arrange private transportation by having the worker wear a surgical/procedure mask, sit alone in the backseat and open the car windows if possible. The driver should wear a mask.
  • In most cases, sick individuals can recover on the farm. They should be monitored several times a day to ensure symptoms do not worsen.
  • If the unwell worker gets worse and needs to go to the hospital because of severe symptoms (like severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up, confusion, loss of consciousness), call 9-1-1 and let responders know the person is suspected of having COVID-19.
Additional Recommendations for Agricultural Workplaces
  • Screen all workers upon arrival each day using screening criteria. Isolate any person with symptoms and conduct a further assessment.
  • Stagger meetings and breaks to minimize the number of workers in one place.
  • Designate travel paths so workers do not have to pass each other closely or have workers call out before entering a shared space.
  • Hold meetings outside or in a large area to allow people to stay apart 2-metres (6-feet).
  • Provide access to handwashing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers in prominent locations throughout the site. If hands are visibly dirty, they must be washed with soap and water.
  • Clean offices, washrooms, lunchrooms, trailers, workspaces and other shared spaces at least once a day. Focus on commonly touched surfaces such as pens, tools, radios, tables, chairs, handles, handrails, kettles, microwaves, and light switches.
  • Clean shared tools with alcohol or disinfectant wipes. Wear gloves if cleaning is not practical.
  • Assign one driver/operator per vehicle if possible. Clean and disinfect vehicles between uses (steering wheel, gear shift, controls, interior/exterior door handles, etc.)
  • Ensure farm employees are assigned to the same team/group/work pod that is separated from other individuals and teams.
  • Within the team/work pod, workers should maintain a 2 metre (6-foot) physical distance from others as best as possible. The need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be based on a risk assessment. Speak to the Health Unit for more guidance on PPE.

General COVID-19 Video Resources

COVID-19 Resources

Get COVID-19 prevention tips by watching these videos. You can also click here for links to workplace-specific prevention videos.

How to Use a Cloth Mask (3-Layer)

How to Wear a Medical Mask

COVID-19 – How to Self Isolate

COVID- How to Self-Monitor

How To: Hand Hygiene

COVID-19 – Respiratory Etiquette

COVID-19 and Handwashing

COVID-19 – Hand Sanitizer

Using Cloth Masks During COVID-19

Caring for Pets if You Have COVID-19

Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy During COVID-19

Top 5 Ways For Seniors to Stay Healthy During COVID-19

Top 5 Ways for People with Medical Conditions to Stay Healthy During COVID-19

Cleaning with Disinfectant Wipes

Emergency Orders, Directives and Closures

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the following declarations, orders and closures from different levels of government are now in place. Please read on for further details.

On This Page:

HKPR District Health Unit

Provincial Orders

Federal Orders 

Designated Officers

The following video resources have been produced for Emergency Services Designated Officers and/or designates.

HKPR encourages you to review the videos and the HKPR “Infectious Reference Guide for Designated Officers” Guide.

The Guide is available in a PDF format and can be requested from HKPR, free-of-charge, by emailing a request to or by calling the HKPR Communicable Disease Intake line at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1232.

Reducing Harm When Using Drugs

Washing hands, covering your cough, self-isolating, and practising physical distancing are all needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you currently use substances or other drugs, there’s added urgency to be safe. Not only is it important to avoid overdoses and reduce the risk of infections like HIV and hepatitis, you also need to reduce harm from COVID-19.  

Please note: During COVID-19, if you need harm reduction supplies, please order ahead if possible by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 3000. Ring or knock at the office door when you come to pick up and the order will be brought to the door for you. 

General Tips (For Those Not Self-Isolating/Showing No COVID-19 Symptoms) 
  • Do not share supplies (cigarettes, joints, pipes, injecting equipment, containers for alcohol, utensils, and other supplies). Use your own mouthpiece and keep it only for YOUR use 
  • Avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses and other close contact 
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before preparing, handling or using drugs. Prepare your own drugs 
  • If you cannot wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizer, use alcohol-based hand wipes 
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use tissues. Throw tissues away immediately and wash your hands 
  • It’s strongly recommended you clean surfaces with soap and water, alcohol wipes, bleach or hydrogen peroxide before preparing drugs 
  • If you share a washroom with others, clean and disinfect surfaces like knobs, taps, and flushers. Use soap and water, bleach, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based wipes (70%) after every use. Do not mix different types of cleaning solutions 
  • Buddy up if using drugs, but be safe! COVID-19 is passed by droplets, so you must stay 2 metres (six feet) – roughly the length of a hockey stick – from your buddy to avoid passing the virus  
  • Using with a buddy is safer than using drugs alone, but remember to keep your physical distance! Buddies may be able to bring food, harm reduction supplies, medicine, and substances so that you can stay well. You can also be a buddy to others who need support. Check in on your buddies regularly and have them do the same for you  
  • Carry naloxone and have an overdose plan. If necessary, you can perform chest compressions. Do not do rescue breathing due to COVID-19 concerns  
  • If you must use drugs by yourself, call a buddy to have him/her regularly check in on you 
If Isolating (With or Without COVID-19 Symptoms)  
  • Do not leave your home! Ask a buddy to pick up supplies including naloxone from harm reduction sites or outreach workers. Arrange to have the supplies dropped off at your door, being sure to practise physical distancing  
  • Try to have the substances you need to stay well. Know that carrying large amounts may land you in trouble with the law. Consider alternatives to your drug of choice, especially if supplies are difficult to get and you face withdrawal symptoms 
  • Have a backup plan and be cautious of new supplies you may need to get  
  • Try to have the medications you need. Refills may be available through your pharmacist or by phone without having to see your doctor. If you’re feeling sick and require medications, call your pharmacy in advance 
  • Health Canada is working on exemptions to ensure access to OAT (Opioid Agonist Therapy) and other medicines 
  • For more information, contact your health care provider  
Responding to an Overdose During COVID-19 

If using a naloxone kit, refer to the Five Steps to Respond to an Opioid Overdose sheet inside. Take these extra precautions too:  

  • Stimulate: try and rouse the person, encourage them to take breaths 
  • If no response: call 9-1-1, give naloxone and perform chest compressions. DO NOT try doing rescue breathing 
  • When using a naloxone kit: put gloves on, but do not use the faceshield/breathing barrier for rescue breaths (not advised given COVID-19 situation) 
  • After responding, properly remove gloves and throw them in the garbage. Wash/clean hands thoroughly 
  • If chest compressions are needed, place a towel or a piece of clothing over the person’s nose and mouth to protect yourself from droplets 

Reminder: The Good Samaritan Act offers legal protection for someone to help in an emergency. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects anyone on scene of an overdose from being charged for possessing/using drugs 

Additional Resources  

Travellers and COVID-19

Travelling Abroad

Enhanced Travel Restrictions

Due to COVID-19 and the risk of new variants, Canadians are strongly advised to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel plans outside of the country until further notice. They should also avoid all travel on cruise ships for the time-being.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: On Feb. 12, the Federal Government has updated its sweeping new restrictions on international travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including variants of it. It includes COVID-19 testing and a 14-day quarantine period. These measures will impact people arriving in Canada as follows:

  • Arriving in Canada by Land: Starting Feb. 15, anyone crossing the land border for non-essential reasons will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last three days. Essential workers such as truckers and emergency service providers, as well as cross border communities, will be exempt from this requirement. There will also be 16 specific points of entry where testing will be run.
  • Arriving in Canada by Air: Starting Feb. 22, all air travelers (with some exceptions) will have to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test at their expense at the airport, followed by quarantine in a government-approved hotel for up to three days while awaiting their test results. All international flights can now only arrive at one of four Canadian airports: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary or Vancouver.

Read this Federal Government Backgrounder for Full Details on these Restrictions

The federal mandatory isolation/quarantine measure was put in place by Canadian government through an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act. These measures apply to all travelers arriving in Canada and are aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. The only exceptions are essential workers, including those who ensure the continue flow of goods and essential services across the border. Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

Mandatory Quarantine

If at any time over your 14-day quarantine, you develop COVID-19 symptoms, do the following:

  • Isolate yourself from others
  • Immediately call a health care professional or public health authority and:
    • describe your symptoms and travel history
    • follow their instructions carefully

You must begin isolating for an additional 14 days from the date of your positive test result or onset of symptoms.

Mandatory Isolation

Follow any additional directions provided you by public health staff. After your mandatory quarantine/isolation period ends, continue following important public health measures like: staying home if sick, practising physical distancing, wearing masks or face coverings, and frequently washing hands with soap and water.

Additional Ontario Government Travel Measure

As of Feb. 1, 2021, the Ontario government is also making it mandatory that all international travelers arriving at Pearson Airport in Toronto get tested for COVID-19. Ontario is also exploring additional testing measures at Pearson International Airport and land border crossings in the coming weeks.

Travelling in Canada

Travelling Between Provinces

During the pandemic, some parts of Canada have placed limits on travel between provinces. This includes the requirement that some people arriving must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are planning an out-of-province trip, check first with the destination you are headed to see if any travel restrictions are in place that could affect your trip.

Employee Health and Safety During COVID-19

Know your rights as an employee when it comes to health and safety during COVID-19.


All levels of governments are taking steps to support/protect people affected by coronavirus. The following resources can help you understand your rights. (Information is current at the time of this posting; please check official government websites for the most recent updates):   

Ontario Human Rights Commission FAQs 
Explains your rights during COVID-19 in series of questions and answers.

The Ontario government has also set out health and safety protections for workers during COVID-19. Some of the protections include: 

  • The Employment Standards Amendments Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 sets out: 
    • Job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, and to those who need to be away from work to care for children at home due to school/daycare closures
    • Employees will not be required to provide a medical note. 
    • Measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020.
  • As well, in a declared emergency, employees have the right to take an unpaid, job-protected leave if they are unable to perform job duties due to an emergency or other circumstances.  The Employment Standards Act Guide is being updated as more information becomes available.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act also:  

  • Gives workers the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe to them or co-workers. Workers who feel they are endangered by workplace violence may also refuse work.
    • Sets out a specific procedure that must be followed in any work refusal. 
    • If you have identified a health and safety issue at your workplace, contact your manager or supervisor, your Joint Health and Safety Committee representative, and/or your union representative.  
For Additional Complaints/Concerns
  • If you’re unable to resolve concerns, or want to report a workplace health and safety incident, critical injury, fatality, or work refusal, call the Health and Safety Contact Centre at the Ministry of Labour to report your issue.  You can speak to a representative at 1-877-202-0008.
  • For less urgent health and safety issues, file an online complaint now.  The Health and Safety Contact Centre will review and respond in due course. 
  • If you’ve been fired or punished for exercising your rights under the Ontario Health and Safety Act, you can file a reprisal complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Business Questions
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Staff

Local COVID-19 Testing & Assessment Centres

Download the COVID Alert Tracing App

On This Page:

COVID-19 Assessment Centres

Below are locations of the specific COVID-19 Assessment Centres in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Please note that all COVID-19 Assessment Centres are now by appointment only (no walk-ins are allowed). Effective immediately, you are only asked to use these assessment centres if you are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit
  • Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Please Note: If you are having difficulty accessing your COVID-19 testing results, please follow up with the Assessment Centre where you were tested.

City of Kawartha Lakes

Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Lindsay

The RMH COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now located inside Ross Memorial Hospital. To get tested:

  • Visit the Ontario COVID-19 website to see if you qualify for testing under the current provincial guidelines.
  • Call 705-328-6217 or request an appointment online.
  • Do not leave multiple messages or submit multiple forms
  • Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 9:30-5:15 pm
  • You will receive a call back within 1-2 business days

When arriving for your appointment:

  • Arrive to the hospital at your appointment time. (NOTE: When making your appointment, you will be given instructions on where to park and which hospital entrance to use for testing)
  • Wear a mask
  • Bring your health card and identification
  • Maintain physical distancing from others awaiting testing
  • Your results should be available online within five days of testing. If unable to access your results online after five days, call (705) 328-6217 and leave a message.

If symptoms are severe, including difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion or losing consciousness, you should be seen in the Emergency Department immediately.

Northumberland County

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Cobourg

NHH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre (1000 DePalma Dr., in Cobourg) is now located in new trailer space immediately outside hospital’s Emergency Department entrance. A dedicated entry/exit is available to the new asessment centre.

NHH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now operating on an appointment-basis only. Walk-ins will no longer be accepted. To book an appointment, call 905-377-7783. The assessment centre is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm for pre-booked appointments.

The NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre will screen patients, test (if deemed appropriate) and direct patients to proceed as required. Through a temporary arrangement with the Northumberland Family Health Team, the Community Health Centres of Northumberland, and local primary care physicians, the NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now able to offer patients the option to see a primary care provider (family physician or nurse practitioner) in addition to receiving a COVID-19 test.  Learn more details by calling the centre.

Canton COVID-19 Testing Centre (Municipality of Port Hope)

A new COVID-19 testing centre is now open at the Port Hope Community Hub (formerly Canton Municipal Hall) located at 5325 County Road 10, just north of Canton. The testing centre will be available for individuals without active COVID-19 symptoms. Hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (8 am to 4 pm) for virtual screening by phone or pre-scheduled appointments only. To book an appointment, call 905-377-7783.

Trent Hills COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Campbellford

The centre is open Mondays to Thursdays from 9 am to 5 pm (closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). To book an appointment for COVID-19 test, call the local Assessment Centre directly at 705-395-1801. Please do not go to the Assessment Centre without first calling to book an appointment. Please do not call Campbellford Memorial Hospital either.

The Trent Hills COVID 19 Assessment Centre is located at Campbellford Memorial Hospital on the basement level in the former paramedic bay and offices. Access to the site will be a drive-through, drive-up centre. All visitors are to remain in their cars, and Assessment Centre staff will provide assessment/testing to you while you remain in your vehicle.

For days the Assessment Centre is not available, contact the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

NOTE: Test results are now being managed differently. Only individuals with a positive COVID-19 test result will be contacted by a member of the Infection Control Team. All other individuals can check their results online. A handout with this information will be provided to each person attending the Assessment Centre.

Haliburton County

Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre

To book an appointment for testing, call the Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre at 705-457-1212 during regular business hours. You can seek an appointment if you are a Haliburton County resident and meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have at least one COVID-19 symptom.
  • You are concerned you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 because you were in contact with a confirmed or suspected case
  • You are at risk of COVID-19 exposure because of your employment (e.g. health care worker, grocery store employees, other front-line workers)

PLEASE NOTE: if your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 and alert the dispatcher to your symptoms.

The Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre is staffed by health care providers who will complete a phone assessment and advise as to appropriate next steps, which may include self-monitoring instructions, self-isolation instructions, or further assessment and testing in the drive-through facility. The Centre is for all residents of Haliburton County, regardless of whether you have a family doctor.

COVID-19 Testing at Pharmacies

The Ontario government is now allowing some pharmacies to provide COVID-19 testing, including some in the local Health Unit area. Testing at pharmacies will be free, by appointment, and available ONLY to people who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms. Pharmacies will also be doing COVID pre-screening of anyone seeking a test. Click here to find pharmacy testing locations in your area (you can search by community or postal code).

Printable COVID-19 Resources

Download and print resources below:

Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Staff

Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download

Are You Sick?

Image of Attention Shoppers AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Shoppers AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Shoppers

Image of Attention Visitors AODA compliant poster - click to download
Image of Attention Visitors AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Visitors

Image of AODA compliant 'Keep Your Distance on Elevators' poster - click as a link
Image of AODA compliant ‘Keep Your Distance on Elevators’ poster – click as a link

Keep Distance on Elevators

Prevention poster for customers or visitors to a workplace
Prevention Customers

Prevention for Customers

Prevent the spread poster which can be used in the community
Prevention Community

Prevention in the Community

Prevention poster for tenants
Prevention for Tenants

Prevention for Tenants

Image of AODA compliant 'Stay Home During COVID-19' poster - click as a link
Image of AODA compliant ‘Stay Home During COVID-19’ poster – click as a link

Stay Home During COVID-19

Image of AODA compliant 'Doctors Orders' poster - click as a link
Image of AODA compliant ‘Doctors Orders’ poster – click as a link

Doctor’s Orders

Image of maximum occupance poster – click as a link

Max Occupancy – Businesses

COVID-19 – We’re All in This Together

Image of staff member Sue Shikaze

Sue Shikaze
Health Promoter
HKPR District Health Unit

I’m a big music fan, and Canadian artist Sam Roberts is one of my favourites. His song, ‘We’re All in This Together’, seems like a perfect soundtrack for the current COVID-19 situation, as we try to understand how best to cope and stay healthy. 

We all play a part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by: washing our hands, practising social distancing, and staying home if sick. 

While no one is immune to COVID-19, some people are more likely to feel stressed because they are:

  • Alone and isolated.
  • Trying to care for and occupy children who are off school.
  • Fearful of finances because they’re off work and not getting paid. 
  • Have an existing illness or compromised immune system that puts them at greater risk of COVID-19. 

That’s when Sam Roberts’ message that ‘we’re all in this together’ really strikes a chord. Even with social distancing, we can build a sense of connection that comes from acts of kindness and generosity, both large and small. It’s heartening to see community-minded actions already happening here. Area libraries are offering online story time. Local Rotary Club members are volunteering to deliver grocery orders to those unable to get out. 

These acts can inspire us to assist others too. Let’s: 

  • Donate food and other essential household items to a local food bank, which faces increasing demand as more people are home from work and may not be getting paid.
  • Call a neighbour who lives alone and provide reassurance and support.
  • Offer to get groceries and other supplies for a neighbour in need. We can leave items on their porch or by the front door for them to pick up. 
  • Volunteer with local community groups who may be delivering groceries or frozen meals.

Doing good in times of need does us good too… so it’s time we change our tune and remember those key lyrics: we’re all in this together!

Mental Health and COVID-19

COVID-19 can feel overwhelming. While it’s important to reduce the risk of the virus, you also need to look after your mental health at this time. Here’s what to do: 

  • Maintain routines as you’re able, keeping in mind the importance to take precautions such as physical distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • While you’re encouraged to only have close contact with others in your immediate household, stay connected with family and friends through phone, social media or video-conferencing.
  • Seek professional help. If you’re overwhelmed, talk by phone to a health professional or counsellor. If you have coverage for a counsellor through work, access your Employee and Family Assistance Plan.  
  • Eat well 
  • Stay active: Doing fun and healthy activities outdoors makes it easier to keep physical distance.  
  • Get enough sleep 
  • Look back at challenging situations and see how you successfully coped with them 
  • Limit your daily dose of COVID-19-related news to reduce anxiety and worry. Fight fear with facts about the pandemic by turning to credible sources of information. 

Supporting Others 

  • COVID-19 affects everyone, so be kind to others – regardless of gender, ethnicity, income or age. 
  • Reduce stigma. Use supportive language like: “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID19”, or “people who are recovering from COVID-19”. Don’t define others  just because they’re affected by the coronavirus.   
  • Be neighbourly and assist others where possible, being sure to protect your health as well. 
  • Share positive and inspiring stories of what your community is doing to pull together during this time.  
  • Be patient and recognize the role caretakers and health care workers are playing in supporting people affected with COVID-19.  
If You Are Self-Isolating 
  • Stay connected with friends and family by phone, social media or video calls. 
  • Ask for help from friends, family and neighbours to deliver necessities to your door. Many community groups (e.g. churches and service clubs) have volunteers to help those who are isolated. 
  • Even if isolating or in quarantine, keep up your personal daily routines at home or create new ones.  
  • Stay healthy. Be active, eat well and get enough sleep.  
If You Have Mental Health and Addiction Issues

It’s extra important to control your anxiety and maintain your mental wellness during COVID-19:

  • Consider and accept that some fear and anxiety is normal
  • Seek credible information provided by experts and reputable sources
  • Assess your personal risk
  • Seek support
  • Get proper rest and sleep
  • Stay active
  • Access this Mental Health and COVID-19 Pandemic resource from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Additional Resources:  

Four County Crisis – If you’re in crisis please call 705-745-6484 or toll-free 1-866-995-9933. By phoning these numbers, you can access 24-hour, free, confidential crisis support.

211 Community Support – Easily find/search government and community-based services during COVID-19.  Call or text 2-1-1 day or night to find support for all of life’s challenges. Live Chat also available Monday to Friday from 7 am to 9 pm.

Centre for Addition and Mental Health  

Bounce Back – A guided self-help program for adults and youth aged 15 and over using workbooks with online videos and phone coaching support.

Kids’ Help Phone – 24/7 virtual support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals as well as volunteer-led, text-based support to young people. Services available in both English and French by calling 1-800-668-6868.

Good2Talk – Free, confidential mental health support service providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to postsecondary students in Ontario

Wellness Together Canada – Mental health and substance use support.

World Health Organization 

Download and print resources below:

Physical Distancing at Work

Keep your distance at work to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here’s what to do to practise physical distancing at work:

  • Staff and customers MUST maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) wherever possible. 
  • Offer alternatives to customers such as delivery or pick up services. Consider partnering with a non-profit group to provide delivery options for vulnerable clients/customers who may have a hard time accessing your services. 
  • Post self-screening signage at entrances to tell customers to delay their visit  if they are sick.
  • Implement strategies to help eliminate customer lineups, such as extended shopping hours 
  • Stagger employee use of common break spaces 
  • Replace face-to-face meetings with tele- or video-conferencing options 
  • Postpone or cancel non-essential work travel.
  • Wear non-medical masks or face coverings, as directed by the Health Unit. This is especially important in situations where physical distancing is difficult.
Additional Resources:

Fact Sheet – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Physical Distancing – Public Health Ontario

Download and print resources below:

Hand Hygiene/Respiratory Etiquette at Work

Protect yourself, your staff and customers from COVID-19. Here’s what to do:

  • Provide hand sanitizer and tissues at all entrances and work stations 
  • Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Encourage everyone at work to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Put the used tissue in the garbage.
  • If someone doesn’t have a tissue, they should cough or sneeze into their upper sleeve or elbow, never their hands.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering, as directed by the Health Unit.

Download and print resources below:

Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download

Are You Sick?

Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Staff

Image of Attention Visitors AODA compliant poster - click to download
Image of Attention Visitors AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Visitors

Image of Attention Shoppers AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Shoppers AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Shoppers

Watch our videos on YouTube

Places of Worship during COVID-19

On This Page:

Current Situation

As of 12:01 am on February 16, the provincial government will move Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes into the Orange COVID-19 colour category.

This means that after Feb. 16, faith groups and places of worship will be able to resume holding religious services, weddings and funerals, with the following restrictions:

  • In-person gatherings limited to 30% capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Anyone attending indoor or outdoor ceremonies MUST ensure physical distancing, wear masks or face coverings that cover their nose, mouth and chin, and follow proper health and safety rules.
  • Virtual services are permitted
  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are permitted, subject to certain conditions.
  • Places of worship must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place. A copy must be posted prominently and made available upon request. The Health Unit is offering this template to help your organization create a COVID-19 safety plan.

Protect the health and safety of your members and congregants by taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read on for further information and resources, including the Health Unit’s COVID-19 Guidance for Reopening Places of Worship. You can also click here for specific Guidelines on Health and Safety for Places of Worship During COVID-19 from Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.

Use of Non-Medical Masks Face Coverings During Religious Services

Everyone must wear a mask at all times when indoors attending a place of worship. The only exceptions are anyone who:

  • Is younger than two years of age;
  • Has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering
  • Is unable to put on or remove a mask or face covering without help from another person.
  • Needs to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area, as it may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
  • Is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code or the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005).
  • Performs work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public, and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres (6 feet) from every other person while in the indoor area.

This last point may allow priests, ministers or other worship leaders to remove their mask during the mass (or service) when preaching to the congregation from a lectern or pulpit, so long as the area is separated by at least four metres from other people.

The priest, minister or worship leader must wear a mask when greeting people as they come in or leave the place of worship, and during communion.

A place of worship should consult with its local police service or municipal bylaw enforcement, as they may have a different interpretation and require a priest, minister or worship leader to wear a mask at all times.

Weddings and Funerals

For indoor ceremonies, the number of people allowed to attend a funeral or wedding can now be a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue. Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 100 attendees. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety rules.

General COVID-19 Preventive Tips for Places of Worship
  • Maintain physical distancing by staying two metres (six feet) apart at all times.
  • Strongly urge anyone who is feeling sick to stay home and not attend a service.
  • Encourage everyone to wash their hands. Ensure hand-cleaning stations and alcohol-based sanitizer dispensers are available at entrances to your place of worship. 
  • Ensure everyone wears a mask or face covering at all times, including when seated during the worship service.
  • Stop shaking hands or hugging.  
  • Remind people to cough/sneeze into their sleeves. 
  • Discourage group singing. Use audio or video recordings instead.
  • Review the sharing of items during special religious sacraments/rites, at least while COVID-19 continues to circulate. You may want to consult further with your parish/diocese/denomination/national body. 
  • Maintain a clean and safe space through regular cleaning and disinfecting. High-touch surfaces should be cleaned twice a day or following each service (whichever is more frequent).
  • Have a traffic flow plan in place, such as one-way enter/one-way exit.
  • Encourage members/parishioners who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 (including those over age 70 and people with compromised immune systems) to take part in virtual services or hold a dedicated service solely for this group.
  • Consider keeping a record of all attendees for contact tracing in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Stay Connected to Members/Congregants in Other Ways
  • Encourage members/congregants to stay at home and only go out for essentials (like groceries or prescriptions)
  • Continue to offer virtual or live-streamed services
  • Keep in touch by phone or via social media/email/text. Share credible information – like what’s on this website on how people can protect themselves from COVID-19. 
  • Adults aged 70 years and older or people with compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of COVID-19. Think about ways that you can reach out to these individuals by phone or electronical means. See if you can assist with essential errands (e.g. groceries, pharmacy pick-up), keeping in mind the importance of protecting your own health by practising physical distancing.
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Cleaning and Disinfecting During COVID-19

It is essential to clean and disinfect common surfaces to reduce the spread of illnesses like COVID-19. Here’s what to do:

What you should know
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19.
  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated.
  • Check the expiry date of products you use and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Icon image of a tub of cleaning supplies
Clean frequently touched surfaces often
  • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Examples include doorknobs, kitchens, light switches, toilet handles, counters, remotes, touch screen surfaces and keypads.
Icon image of a finger touching a surface

Select products

  • Break down grease and remove organic material from the surface.
  • Used separately before using disinfectants.
  • Can be purchased with cleaner and disinfectant combined in a single product
Icon of a sponge filled with bubbles
Icon of a spray bottle of disinfectant
Disinfectant Wipes
  • Have combined cleaners and disinfectants in one solution.
  • May become dry due to fast drying properties. Should be discarded if they become dry.
  • Not recommended for heavily soiled surfaces.
Prepare products for use
  • Where possible, use pre-mixed solution.
  • Read and follow manufacturer’s instructions to:
    • properly prepare solution
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label)
    • wear gloves, if you have sensitive skin, when handling cleaning products including wipes or wash your hands after use
Watch our video on YouTube

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings”

If you have questions about COVID-19, contact your health care provider, Telehealth 1-866-797-0000 or the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020.

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