Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Spaces

Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect people in the community.

The following information provides guidance on cleaning and disinfection of public spaces and workplaces in Ontario.

What you should know
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Click here for a specific list of hard-surface disinfectants that are known to be effective against COVID-19.
  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated.
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Check the expiry date of products you use and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Follow these public health guidelines for cleaning/disinfecting public washrooms
Icon image of a tub of cleaning supplies
Clean frequently touched surfaces twice per day
  • In addition to routine cleaning, high-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.
  • High-touch surfaces can include: doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads.
  • In addition to routine cleaning, check with your organization for any specific protocols for cleaning for COVID-19.
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 when handling cleaning products including wipes
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer.
Watch our video on YouTube

This information is based on the Public Health Ontario fact sheet: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings

Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Physical Distancing

Fact Sheet:  Physical Distancing – Public Health Ontario

Practise physical distancing as much as possible anytime you’re outdoors or in the community. This is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

NOTE: Currently, social circles (or bubbles) are on pause in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the province. The only people you can have close contact with are others in your immediate household (Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household). Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) physical distancing from everyone else.

Tips for Physical Distancing:
  • Keep a minimum two-metre (six-foot) distance between yourself and others. That’s roughly the length of a hockey stick.
  • When out in the community, practise physical distancing every step of the way!
  • With more businesses and services reopening, the Health Unit is now instructing the use of non-medical masks or face coverings inside all public places. Click here for more specifics on this instruction.
  • Get outside to exercise and be active, but try to maintain a physical distance of at last 2 metres (6-feet) from others. This is especially true as more parks and outdoor recreational amenities reopen.
  • Greet people with a wave, bow or nod, instead of handshake or hug. After being outside, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • If gathering with a group for a celebration or event, consider holding it outdoors where physical distancing is easier to do. For harder-to-reach family or friends, try to connect by phone or online. NOTE: As of Sept. 19, the Ontario government is limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). Please ensure you follow this new requirement. Failure to do so could lead to fines for the event host and people attending the function.
  • Work from home if possible. Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about options. Cancel in-person business meetings. Instead, look at teleconferencing or video chat options.
  • If you are sick, avoid visits to care facilities like long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, and hospices. Stay home and use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Screening Tool to see what additional care you may need.
  • Visits to long-term care homes and other residential settings are now permitted. Be sure to take precautions like physical distancing on your visit. For specifics on how to arrange a visit, contact the care home.
  • Sanitize/wash your hands when entering or exiting building. Avoid long lineups. Use tap to pay instead of handling money.
  • Do NOT use public transit if you are sick. Self-isolate at home right away.
  • If you must use public transit, wash hands often, keep a two-metre distance between other passengers, wear a non-medical mask and aim to travel in non-peak hours.

Remember: While you may not feel sick, and while these measures may seem inconvenient, they are important to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

How to Self-Monitor

It’s important to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s why it’s essential to watch for symptoms.

Here’s how to self-monitor if you are asked by your health care provider or public health unit to watch for symptoms of COVID-19.

Monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure for fever, cough or difficulty breathing

Image of three characters representing someone having a fever, another with a cough and a third with difficulty breathing
Avoid Public Spaces

Avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill.

If you are unable to maintain a two metre distance, wear a non-medical mask or face covering to protect others from your potentially infectious droplets

What to do if you develop these or any other symptoms?
  • Self-isolate immediately and contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, your health care provider or take a self-assessment online.
  • To self-isolate you will need:
    • Soap, water and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands
  • If you visit your health care provider, avoid using public transportation such as subways, taxis and shared rides. If you cannot avoid this, wear a mask and keep a two-metre distance from others or use the back seat if in a car.

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) How to self-monitor

Additional Resource:

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.

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?

Respiratory Etiquette

Health is in our hands! Let’s prevent the spread of COVID-19 by using simple, but effective steps to protect our health:

Cover Your Cough

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in the waste basket

Young girl blowing her nose into a tissue
Sneeze in Your Sleeve

If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.


You may be asked to put on a face mask to protect others.

Wash Hands

Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 15 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Woman washing hands.
Watch our video on YouTube
Additional Resources

How to Cover Your Cough – Public Health Ontario

Download and print resources below:

Hand Hygiene

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe from COVID-19. Click here to download a printable How to Handwash poster.

Step 1

Wet hands with warm running water.

Step 2

Apply soap, any type will clean your hand effectively.

Step 3

Rub hands palm to palm

Step 4

Lather the backs of your hands

Step 5

Clean thumbs

Step 6

Wash fingernails and fingertips

Step 7

Rinse hands

Step 8

Dry with a single use towel

Step 9

Use the towel to turn off the faucet

Watch our YouTube video
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

« Go back