Current Colour Code for Local COVID-19 Restrictions

Current COVID-19 Colour Code for HKPR Area

As of 12:01 am on February 16, the HKPR District Health Unit region, which includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, is in the Orange-Restrict category. This means intermediate measures are in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

orange-coloured square denoting COVID Restrict level

The Ontario government regularly reviews local COVID-19 data and trends to see if the Health Unit region should stay or be moved to a different colour level.


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Ontario’s Colour-Coded COVID-19 Framework

Ontario’s colour-coded COVID-19 Response Framework places different parts of the province into assigned categories for COVID-19 restrictions. The public health measures can be adjusted, tightened or loosened based on local COVID-19 trends and case counts. The colour code for each area is reviewed regularly by the Ontario Ministry of Health and the local Medical Officer of Health.

5 colour framework for COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario

What Stays Closed in This Colour Code:

Highest-risk settings remain closed in this colour code, including:

  • Buffet-style food service
  • Oxygen bars
  • Camps that provide supervised overnight accommodation for children
  • Steam rooms, saunas and bathhouses
  • Amusement parks and waterparks
  • Night clubs and strip clubs (only permitted to operate as a restaurant or bar)
  • Dancing and table games (cards, etc.) are prohibited.

General Public Health Measures in the Orange-Restrict Colour Code (Gatherings, Workplace Requirements and Face Coverings)

Restrictions in the ‘Orange-Restrict’ category include targeted enforcement and fines to limit further spread of COVID-19. The following general measures are in place:

  • Staying home is still the best way to protect yourself and others. You are strongly advised to: stay home as much as possible, avoid social gatherings, limit close contacts to your household, work from home if possible, and avoid all non-essential travel
  • Although not recommended, if you gather with others, remember the limit for social gatherings at private homes, backyards or parks is 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (cannot be combined). Wear a face covering and keep 2 metres apart from anyone you do not live with
  • Gatherings for organized public events in staffed businesses and facilities are now allowed, but limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. If an event is both outdoors and indoors, it falls under the 50-person limit. You must wear a face covering and maintain 2-metre physical distance when meeting for permitted organized public events/gatherings with people outside your household.
  • Gathering limits at places of worship for religious services, weddings and funerals are permitted, but must be limited to 30% capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors. Masks must be worn and physical distancing must be maintained.
  • Avoid travel except for essential reasons, especially between different colour zones (particularly to an area with high rates of COVID-19).
  • Schools and child care centres remain open.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained within establishments. Capacity limits are based on the ability of patrons to maintain at least 2-metres (6 feet) from others up to a maximum of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors (unless otherwise indicated for specific settings).
  • Patrons and staff must wear a mask or face covering inside any business or place that is open. Ensure the mask covers the nose, mouth and chin (unless exempted from regulation). Masks use is also recommended outdoors whenever face-to-face with someone outside of your household (especially if you’re within 2 metres of each other).
  • 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 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).
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand rub when handwashing not available.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect common areas such as washrooms
  • Employees must be screened prior to entering the workplace. The screening tool should ask if staff have any COVID-19 symptoms. This screening tool could be done electronically or using a paper-based resource like the sample provided here. The Ministry of Health also has an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Employees and an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Customers that may be of use.
  • Music volumes must be lowered in establishments to allow for normal conversation to occur
  • Businesses must have COVID-19 safety plans in place
  • Offer employees the option from working from home.
  • Use virtual gatherings or events to recognize occasions
  • For sector-specific requirements, please see the current Provincial legislation or scroll further down this page.

Sector-Specific Guidelines

Restaurants/Bars
  • Restaurants and bars can now open for indoor dining, but with a maximum of 50 people seated inside at a time (ensuring physical distancing is maintained).
  • Outdoor dining, takeout, drive-through and delivery continue to be permitted
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2-metre minimum between tables
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Limit of four people can be seated together at one table
  • Establishments must be closed from 10 pm to 5 am except for: takeout/drive-through/delivery, providing access to washrooms and dine-in eating for staff
  • No alcohol can be sold or served after 9 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between 10 pm and 9 am
  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions
  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • No buffet-style food services
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place and no one needs to shout
  • Night clubs and strip clubs only permitted to operate as a restaurant or bar
  • People lining up or congregating outside an establishment must stay at least 2 metres apart and wear a mask or face covering that covers their nose, mouth, and chin (unless exempted by regulation).
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking only.
  • 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 must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth. At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection
  • Limit the volume of music to a level that allows a normal conversation to occur
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required, and must be made available upon request

Sports/Recreational Facilities

  • Gyms and fitness clubs can now reopen with restrictions. A maximum of 50 people total in areas with weights and exercise machines and all classes
  • Maintain 2 metre physical distancing, unless engaged in a sport or activity
  • Patrons must stay 3 metres apart in areas with weights or exercise equipment and in exercise/fitness classes
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Patrons can only be in the facility for 90 minutes, except if engaged in a sport
  • No spectators permitted (exemption for parent/guardian supervision of children)
  • Capacity limits are 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors in fitness or exercise classes  
  • Teams or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact. Maximum of 50 people per league.
  • Exemptions are in place for high-performance athletes and parasports
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place, avoiding the need for instructors and participants having to shout at each other. Instructors are required to use microphone to avoid loud talking
  • Face coverings required, except when exercising.
  • Contact information for all people entering the facility is required.
  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required, and must be made available upon request

Meeting and Event Spaces

  • Meetings and event spaces can now reopen, with a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors per facility (ensuring physical distancing is maintained).
  • Limits for weddings, funerals or religious services held in meeting/event spaces would apply here (30% capacity of indoor space or 100 people outdoors)
  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event is not permitted
  • Establishments must be closed from 10 pm to 5 am. Liquor cannot be sold or served after 9 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between 10 pm and 9 am
  • Contact information required for all seated patrons
  • Limit of four people can be seated together
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place and no one needs to shout
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required, and must be made available upon request

Retail Settings

  • Retail stores can now reopen for in-person shopping with restrictions. This includes doing passive screening for patrons (for example, posting signs at their entrances informing people not to enter if they have COVID-19 symptoms). This does not apply to indoor malls, which must do screening based on instructions by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside store must keep 2-metres apart and wear face coverings
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place and no one needs to shout
  • All malls and retail settings require a COVID-19 safety plan, which must be made available upon request

Personal Care Services

  • Most personal care services (like barbers, hairdressers, nail salons, tattoo studios) can reopen with restrictions.
  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools, bath houses and other adult venues remain closed
  • Sensory deprivation pods stay closed (some exceptions)
  • Services requiring removal of face coverings are not allowed.
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Casinos, Bingo Halls and Gaming Establishments

  • These facilities can reopen, but their capacity cannot exceed 50 persons (ensuring physical distancing is maintained).
  • Table games are prohibited.
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments operate in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Liquor can only be sold or served from 9 am to 9 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between 10 pm and 9 am
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Cinemas/Movie Theatres

  • Cinemas/movie theatres can reopen, but with a maximum of 50 people indoors per facility (ensuring physical distancing is maintained).
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times except when eating or drinking only
  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions
  • Liquor can only be served from 9 am to 9 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between 10 pm and 9 am
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Performing Arts Centres

  • These are allowed to reopen with restrictions.
  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors and 100 spectators outdoors with 2-metre physical distance maintained
  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
  • Performers and employees must maintain 2-metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance
  • Drive in performances permitted.
  • Liquor cannot be sold or served after 9 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between 10 pm and 9 am
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • Require active COVID-19 screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire), in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Other Services

  • Photography studios and services can operate, but must follow public health measures. Like other businesses, a COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request. The studio or area where photographs are to be taken should be configured in such a way as to allow 2 metres of physical distancing between people. Masks must be worn inside and high-touch surfaces need to be cleaned frequently. It may be better to take pictures outside, ensuring physical distancing. For indoor photos, members of an immediate family may remove their masks during picture taking, but must put them on afterwards. The photographer should wear a mask at all times.

Additional Resources

Click on the following links for additional support:

If you have further questions, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5020, or email: covid19@hkpr.on.ca



COVID-19 Resources and FAQs

Access fact sheets, videos and other resources to stay safe and protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You can also read a list of Frequently Asked Questions below, including ones on new coronavirus variants being found in Ontario and their potential risk to people. If you need further help, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca.

Key Links

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe. Click here for a full list of symptoms.

When it comes to COVID-19, what does ‘asymptomatic’ mean?

Asymptomatic is a term to describe people who may have been exposed to, or have, COVID-19, but do not have any symptoms. Most often, COVID-19 is spread by people with symptoms. However, the virus can also be spread by individuals who have COVID-19 but are asymptomatic. Because they do not show any obvious signs of the virus, these individuals may be unaware they have COVID-19 and can infect others without knowing it.

What is the risk of getting sick from COVID-19, and who is most vulnerable?

COVID-19 is a serious health threat. Given the surge in the number of cases locally and in Canada, the risk is high and it’s essential to take steps to slow the spread. You can be exposed to COVID-19 anywhere and in any place. During the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown, you are strongly urged to stay home, only going out for essentials like groceries and medical matters.

Generally anyone can be at risk of COVID-19, but in particular, older adults and people with compromised immune systems seem to be more vulnerable to the virus. They should take additional precautions.

What should I do if I get sick, or think I have symptoms of COVID-19, or been in contact with someone who does?

Anyone who begins to feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms MUST go home and isolate immediately. You should also use the Ministry of Health self-assessment tool to determine what further care you may need.

I have been in contact with someone (friend, relative, co-worker, etc.) who was in contact with a COVID-19 case, but I have not had direct contact with the positive case myself. Am I at risk of getting COVID-19? Should I self-isolate or get tested for the virus?

COVID-19 is mainly spread by direct person-to-person contact.  If you have not had direct or close contact with the person who tested positive for COVID -19, you do not need to isolate, but it is important to always monitor yourself for symptoms.  If you detect any symptoms, immediately isolate and call the Health Unit for further direction at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

If you had direct or close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, you should immediately isolate (or quarantine) and follow further directions from public health staff including whether to get tested for COVID-19.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

It’s important to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by following important public health prevention measures. These include: limiting close contact with others, staying home if sick, washing hands often with soap and water, wearing a mask, practising physical distancing, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting.

What is double masking? Is it now recommended given the new, more contagious COVID-19 variants of concern circulating in Ontario?

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.

Should I wear rubber gloves to reduce my risk of COVID-19?

Wearing rubber gloves out in public does NOT reduce your risk of COVID-19. Regular handwashing with soap/water and not touching your face offer more protection. Even if you wear gloves, you can still pick up COVID-19 if you touch your face with the dirty gloves, and this could then spread the contamination and infect you.

The fact is people don’t need to wear gloves unless they are providing direct care to someone infected with COVID-19.

How can I cope with fears of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is affecting people in many ways. Taking care of yourself – and your mental health – is even more important now, so click here for resources.

When will I be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine? And do the current approved vaccines protect against coronavirus variants?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and strongly recommended for everyone when they become available. Click here for more information. Currently, health officials anticipate that the approved COVID-19 vaccines do offer protection against new coronavirus variants identified in Ontario and other parts of the world. Test Text

What are these new variants of coronavirus?

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.

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

In general, the COVID-19 variants of concern 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.


Featured Items

COVID-19 Vaccines

Vaccines are now here in the fight against COVID-19. Please watch and read further for more information.

Video Resources
  • COVID-19 Vaccines – A Dose of Protection – Get the facts on the vacs from Health Protection Manager Marianne Rock as she discusses why COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and worth getting.
  • ‘Blown Away’ By COVID-19 Vaccines – Acting local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill explain how COVID-19 vaccines will be rolled, why it’s being done this way, and why getting vaccinated is the key to a return to normal.

On This Page:

About COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Currently, two COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Canada. One is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, while the other is a vaccine developed by Moderna.
  • Both of these approved vaccines are safe, reliable and highly effective against COVID-19.
  • Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses given a few weeks apart to provide full protection against COVID-19:
    • Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective against getting COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Two doses of the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective against getting COVID-19 symptoms.
    • After completing the two-doses, it may take another one to two weeks to achieve maximum protection against COVID-19.
  • In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccines will be free to everyone. You are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when it is available. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. When a large percentage of people become vaccinated against COVID-19, it stops the spread of the virus. That benefits everyone and means a quicker return to normal.
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When Will COVID-19 Vaccines Be Available Here
  • The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have arrived locally and are currently being given to residents in local long-term care homes. Further vaccination efforts will continue, as more vaccines are delivered to the area.
  • The Health Unit continues to work closely with the Province, local hospitals, health care partners, and long-term care and retirement homes to prepare for a safe and orderly rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in this region.
  • A mass vaccination plan is ready to go once supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine are available. As more supplies arrive, more people will be able to get vaccinated.
  • There is no waiting list for the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. Please do not call your health care provider or the Health Unit to be added to the list.
  • When COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available to the public later in 2021, information about how and where to be vaccinated will be shared. Please check back often for updates.
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Who Gets the Vaccine First – A Phased Approach

Due to limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Ontario, the Province has outlined a three-phase approach to provide vaccines to people.

  • In Phase One (currently underway), immediate priority for vaccines will be:
    • Residents/staff/essential caregivers of long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes.
    • Alternate level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors
    • Health care workers identified as highest priority.
    • Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher-risk communities (on-reserve and urban)
  • Also being offered the vaccine in Phase One (currently underway) are next priority groups, which include:
    • Adults 80 years of age and older
    • Staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings for seniors (such as assisted living)
    • All Indigenous adults
    • Adult recipients of chronic home care.
  • In Phase Two (expected to be April to August 2021), vaccines will be available to more people as the supply increases. During Phase Two in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, the following groups will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:
    • Older adults, beginning with those 79 years of age and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout.
    • People who live and work in high-risk congregate settings (like shelters, community living).
    • Frontline essential workers (including first responders, teachers and other education staff and the food processing industry)
    • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.
    • Other populations and communities facing barriers related to the determinants of health across Ontario who are at greater COVID-19 risk.
  • In Phase Three (August 2021 and beyond), COVID-19 vaccines will be widely available for anyone who wants to receive one.
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Vaccine Approval
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How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Vaccines have saved millions of lives over the past century. COVID-19 vaccines will work similarly to protect millions more. Here’s how:

  • COVID vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to build protection against coronavirus.
  • It does this by telling your body to make spike proteins.
  • Spike proteins are unique to the virus that causes COVID-1.9
  • Your immune system responds to the spike proteins by making antibodies that can protect you against COVID-19.

The result is that you build up immunity to the virus, allowing your body to fight off COVID-19 more easily.

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Facts on COVID-19 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the coronavirus and cannot give you COVID-19. Instead, the vaccine offers a dose of protection!
  • Like other vaccines, it may take several days for your body to build full immunity against COVID-19.
  • This means if you come in contact with the virus just before or after you complete the vaccine series, you could still develop COVID-19. That makes it important to continue taking COVID-19 precautions until you are fully protected.
  • The Ontario Medical Association also offers additional facts about COVID-19 vaccine.
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Possible Side-Effects
  • Serious adverse reactions to vaccines are rare. They happen less than one time in a million (Source: Ontario Ministry of Health).
  • If you get any vaccine, minor side-effects may occur. These are usually mild and clear up within a few days. Some common side-effects include: pain at the site of injection (even redness and swelling), body chills, feeling tired or feeling feverish.
  • Vaccines are constantly monitored for potential reactions and safety measures are put in place if needed. You can be assured COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective!
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What You Can Do
  • Watch for more information from the Health Unit about when the COVID-19 vaccine is available in your community and when you can go to get vaccinated.
  • Until you are vaccinated, continue your efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19:
    • Stay home if sick.
    • Only leave home for essentials like groceries and medical matters.
    • Avoid all non-essential travel.
    • Wear a mask or face covering that covers your nose, mouth and chin when inside public places.
    • Practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from anyone outside your immediate household
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
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Additional Resources

Learn more on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, development and safety:

Use of Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings Within Indoor Public Spaces

The Ontario government is now mandating the use of non-medical masks/face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces. Limited exemptions are in place, including for age, medical reasons, and special accommodations.

The provincial masking requirement is made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (specifically Ontario Regulation 263/20 – Rules for Areas in Stage 2 and Ontario Regulation 364/20 – Rules for Areas in Stage 3). The aim of the directive is to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

For more details, please read the the following FAQs and resources. You can also contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020 or info@hkpr.on.ca for additional direction.

If you have additional questions about mask use at your business or workplace, refer to your COVID-19 Safety Plan, consult with your Joint Health and Safety Committee, or contact the Ministry of Labour at 1-877-202-0008.


Who is Affected?

If you own, operate or are responsible for a business or facility that is indoors and open to the public and currently operating under Stage 3 of the provincial Framework for reopening, you must have rules in place to inform people about the need to wear a mask or face covering before entering your establishment. Certain exemptions do apply on the use of masks in these indoor settings.

Most indoor settings are covered under the rules, including businesses, stores, malls/plazas, restaurants, churches/places of worship, public libraries, real estate open houses, personal care services (relating to the hair or body), food courts, fitting rooms, driving instruction services, sports and recreation facilities (like gyms, yoga/dance studios, and fitness facilities), children’s camps, movie theatres, performing arts centres, casinos/bingo halls/gaming establishments, and racing venues, cultural centres (museums, art galleries, etc.).

Long-term care homes and retirement homes also require masks to be worn by staff and essential visitors.

Are there places where masks/face coverings do not need to be worn?

The Ontario government is now mandating face coverings be worn across the province. This includes:

  • Public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels).
  • Workplaces, even those that are not open to the public.
  • Vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares.

According to the Province, establishments in which face coverings are not required are: correctional facilities; university dorms or other similar dwellings (except when you are in common areas and can’t maintain 2 metres from others); residences for people with developmental disabilities; and instances in which people are performing/rehearsing for a film/TV production, concert, artistic event or theatrical performance.

Masks can also be temporarily removed for:

  • Receiving services that require you to take it off (for example, going to the dentist).
  • Exercising in a gym/fitness centre
  • Eating or drinking at a restaurant
  • Health and safety purposes (as necessary)

Are churches/places of worship covered under the masking rules?

Yes, mask use is required in churches or places of worship. Attendees to religious services/rites or ceremonies must wear masks at all times, while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. For additional directions on mask use and COVID-19 prevention measures in places of worship, click here.

Why are masks and face coverings required inside public places?

Wearing non-medical masks or face coverings (2+ layers are recommended) inside public places is another way to stop the spread of COVID-19. This is especially true as more businesses and public spaces reopen. With new, more contagious COVID-19 variants now circulating locally and in Ontario, the risk of illness is still there and precautions must continue to be taken.

Evidence supports wearing a mask when in enclosed public spaces as an important measure in reducing COVID-19 transmission. Masks will not stop you from getting COVID-19, but may help protect others. Along with physical distancing, frequent handwashing, cough/sneeze hygiene, and staying home when ill, the use of a non-medical mask or face covering inside public places is another way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

What areas of a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public are subject to the non-medical mask and face covering requirements?

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), masks and other appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn to ensure proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth.

Customers and patrons entering a business must also wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless exempted (see next question/answer for details). Masks must also be worn if people line up inside or outside the business (while maintaining physical distancing), as well as when accessing personal care services (like hair salons, barbershops, and tanning salons).

Are there times when you do not have to wear a face covering?

The Ontario government is now mandating the use of face coverings across the province. Below are the only situations when you do not need to wear a face covering:

  • Children do not have to wear a face covering indoors if they are younger than two years old.
  • If you have a medical condition that makes it difficult to wear a face covering, are unable to put on or remove a face covering without someone else’s help, and are receiving accommodations according to the Human Rights Code or the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005).
  • In correctional facilities or youth detention centres.
  • In university dorms or other similar dwellings, except when you are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 metres (6 feet) from others.
  • If you are performing or rehearsing for a film/television production, concert, artistic event or theatrical performance.

You can also temporarily take off your face covering to:

  • Receive services that require you to take it off (e.g. at the dentist, getting a facial)
  • Take part in an athletic or fitness activity
  • To eat or drink
  • As necessary for health and safety purposes.

What happens if patrons don’t wear a mask?

People who are responsible for a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public and currently operating during Stage 3 must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to ensure people are informed of the requirement to wear a mask or face covering that covers their nose, mouth and chin when entering or remaining in an indoor public space.

A COVID-19 Safety Plan (provincial template or HKPR sample resource) describes how a business or establishment will keep employees, volunteers, patrons, and other people safe, including the wearing of masks/face coverings.

People in an enclosed public space who remove their mask for extended periods of time, will receive a verbal reminder of the requirement to wear a mask under these instructions. Failure to comply with the masking requirements could lead to a fine.

Do I have to disclose my medical condition if I don’t wear a mask?

No one is required to disclose a medical condition or reason why they are exempt from wearing a mask. Medical documentation does not need to be provided either. All a person has to say is that: “I am not able to wear a mask.”

People who are responsible for a place of business/facility that is indoors and open to the public should respect this answer. For privacy reasons, owners/operators are not allowed to ask specifics on why someone cannot wear a mask. All that owners/operators are required to do is make patrons and members of the public aware of the mask use requirement.

It is recognized there are a variety of reasons why a person cannot wear a mask and people are asked to continue to be kind to each other and support everyone in the community as we work together to stop the spread of the virus. 

The requirement to have people wear masks within a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public is not meant to stigmatize people who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons or their age.

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask. To protect their staff and customers, some businesses may offer their service in another way (such as through curbside pickup, delivery services) without allowing someone to enter without a mask.

To avoid potential problems, call ahead to a business to see what its policy is regarding masking and to see if curbside pickup or delivery service options are available.

Why can’t mask use be a voluntary decision?

Although there has been information and messaging shared on the public health benefits of wearing a mask when physical distancing is a challenge, many people will still not wear a mask. Many of the people who are now testing positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic and do not realize they are ill. If they do not wear a mask in public, they can easily spread the virus to other, more vulnerable people within the community.

The requirement to wear a mask within a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public is meant to serve as a reminder to everyone who can wear a mask, that they should be doing so to help protect others.

How is this being enforced?

Every owner/operator of a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public will have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the requirements for customers/patrons to wear a mask or face covering when entering the premises.

Employees and operators will provide a verbal reminder to any customer entering the premises without a mask that the customer should be wearing a mask as a result of this directive.

Implementation of this will be enacted and enforced in ‘good faith’ and will be primarily used as a means to educate people on mask use in public spaces. 

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask. However, service may be offered in an alternate way (such as curbside pickup, delivery) without allowing an unmasked person to enter the facility.

Public Health Inspectors from the HKPR District Health Unit, as well as municipal bylaw and local police officers, will be involved in providing additional education and enforcement to operators of commercial establishments.

What are the fines?

As per the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, those who do not comply with the above noted requirements may be liable for a fine of: $750 – $1,000 for an individual owner/operator of a commercial establishment, to a maximum of $100,000 or in the case of a corporation, not more than $10,000,000 for each day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Are both businesses and customers subject to fines?

As noted above, implementation of this restriction will be enacted and enforced in ‘good faith’ and will be primarily used as a means to educate people on mask use in public spaces.

As per the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, those businesses that do not comply with the instructions may be liable for a fine of $750 to $1,000 for an individual, to a maximum of $100,000, or in the case of a corporation, not more than $10,000,000 for each day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

What would be the best way for store owners to address the issue if patrons don’t have or refuse to wear a mask for both reasons that are legitimate and those that are not?

People who are responsible for a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public are asked to use their “best effort” to ensure patrons and members of the public wear a mask while in the commercial premise. This means offering a verbal reminder to the patron that mask use is required within the establishment or a verbal reminder about mask use if the person removes the mask while in the premise. 

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask. However, service may be offered in an alternate way (such as curbside pickup, delivery) without allowing an unmasked person to enter the facility.

For privacy reasons, if you are someone who is responsible for a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public, you cannot ask patrons the reasons they cannot wear a mask. All you are required to do is make patrons and members of the public aware of the mask use requirement.

Do restaurant servers need to wear masks?

Servers must wear a mask and eye protection, as part of the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The COVID-19 Safety Plan must describe the requirements of wearing masks or face coverings, and the wearing of PPE.

Is it mandatory that employees working in retail stores are required to wear masks?

Yes. The COVID-19 Safety Plan must describe the requirements of wearing masks or face coverings, and the wearing of PPE.

Are staff and customers still required to wear a mask if there is a plexiglass barrier between them?

Yes, a barrier is not sufficient to stop the droplet transmission of the virus. When both parties are wearing a mask, it protects both the staff and the customer from the potential spread of the virus.

Can I remove my mask or face covering if physical distancing is not a concern in the establishment or enclosed public space I am visiting?

Members of the public are permitted to temporarily remove a mask for the following reasons:

  • Receiving services (including eating or drinking when dine-in services are allowed), 

OR

  • While actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity including water-based activities.

Ensure you wash your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after removing your mask or face covering.

What should store owners and staff do if a customer does not/cannot wear a mask?

Owners/operators and staff of commercial establishments are asked to use their “best effort” to ensure patrons and members of the public wear a mask while in the commercial premise. This means offering a verbal reminder to the patron that mask use is required within the establishment or a verbal reminder about mask use if the person removes the mask while in the premise.

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask. However, service may be offered in an alternate way (such as curbside pickup, delivery) without allowing an unmasked person to enter the facility.

I work in a hot commercial kitchen/warehouse. Do I need to wear a mask?

If you work in a commercial establishment, a mask should be worn when interacting with the members of the public inside. You may want to contact your Ministry of Labour representative to clarify if mask and/or Personal Protective Equipment is required in your situation to avoid a potential fine.

Who do I call if I want to report a business not requiring customers to wear a mask?

To report a non-complying business, or for more information on the Health Unit’s instructions to places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public to require the use of masks by patrons, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

Can a person be refused service for not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering?

The implementation should be enforced in “good faith” and any person not wearing a mask will receive a verbal reminder from the staff of the establishment.

No one should be denied service if they cannot wear a mask. However, service may be offered in an alternate way (such as curbside pickup, delivery) without allowing an unmasked person to enter the facility.

How do I choose a non-medical mask or face covering?

In choosing a non-medical mask, ensure it is:

  • Made of 2+ layers of tightly woven fabric (such as cotton or linen)
  • Well-fitted with ear loops or ties
  • A comfortable fit against your face and allows you to breathe easily without having to adjust it
  • Large enough to completely cover the nose and mouth without gaping
  • Durable to allow you to frequently wash and dry it without losing its shape

Other options for non-medical masks include wearing a bandana or scarf, or making one out of a T-shirt or a bandana. The Public Health Agency of Canada also offers instructions on how to make a homemade face coverings.

Are face shields allowed?

A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a face mask as it does not filter respiratory droplets. A face shield may provide additional protection for the wearer against droplets expelled from another person, however these droplets may still be inhaled around the shield. Respiratory droplets expelled by the wearer may escape around the sides of the face shield, which therefore provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, we recommend – if possible – to wear it in addition to a properly fitted cloth masks.

If I can’t wear a mask, can I wear a face shield?

A face shield would not be considered an equal substitute for a face mask as it does not provide filtering capacity. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of face shields as a “better than nothing” alternative to face masks if there is a shortage of non-medical masks or for populations who are not able to properly wear non-medical masks, such as individuals with a respiratory condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. The WHO makes note that face shields are inferior to face masks at preventing the spread of an infection through droplets and at a minimum should extend below the chin and cover the sides of the face. 

What is the proper way to use a non-medical mask or 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.

Watch this How to Use a Cloth Mask Video for additional tips. 

What is double masking? Is it now recommended given the new, more contagious COVID-19 variants of concern circulating in Ontario?

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.


Additional Resources

Posters For Businesses/Commercial Establishments

How to Use/Wear a (3-Layer) Cloth Mask Video – HKPR District Health Unit Video

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

Do:

  • 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

For Employers

Current Reopening Situation
On This Page:
Key messages
  • 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 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.
  • Ensure employees are equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to do their jobs. For a directory of Workplace PPE Providers, click here.
  • Reinforce physical distancing whenever and wherever possible:
    • Allow staff to work from home if possible.
    • Avoid face-to-face meetings.
    • Avoid sharing work stations, tools or equipment.
    • Alter shifts and stagger breaks.
    • In lunch rooms and other common areas, use floor markings to show 2-metre distance between chairs. Ensure 2 metre distance is also maintained between co-workers when they remove masks to eat or drink.
  • Offer delivery or curbside pick up for customers and clients.
  • Practise good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette always. Remind employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. Provide hand sanitizer and ensure access to handwashing facilities and soap.
  • Clean and disinfect work stations, and all commonly touched surfaces often.
  • 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. Provide education to workers on proper mask fit and when a mask can temporarily be removed.
  • Recommend safe carpooling among employees. Ensure physical distancing on the drive to work. 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.
  • Develop a plan to effectively manage employee absence and ensure that everyone stays home if they are sick.
  • Consider employee and visitor screening strategies. Place posters at entrances and employee common spaces. You may also want to get staff to complete a health screening questionnaire before each work shift. The survey would ask if staff have any COVID-19 symptoms. Such a questionnaire could be done electronically or using a paper-based questionnaire sheet like the sample provided here. The Ministry of Health also has an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Employees and an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Customers that may be of use.
  • Train employees on key public health measures to prevent COVID-19. These workplace videos can help.
  • Regularly communicate and share credible and evidenced based information with employees and customers. Provide ongoing updates and let them know what you are doing to keep them healthy during the pandemic.
  • Support your employee’s mental health. Put in place policies that support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or being in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Remind staff of their Employee and Family Assistance Program if your workplace has one. You can also share these Mental Health supports.
  • Develop a plan on what to do if a person who is sick visits or comes to work at your business.
  • Support any COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from a health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers.
Workplace health and safety resources

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

Latest Updates
What if There is a Case of COVID-19 in My Workplace?
Employees/Co-workers
  • Anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must NOT go to work and should self-isolate at home. Employees should not return to work until the required self-isolation period is over. Further direction on this will be provided by the Health Unit.
  • Employees are responsible to report COVID-19 illness to their employer if it is likely to cause illness to another person in the workplace. If an employee discloses they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with the virus, confirm they are self-isolating.
  • Physical distancing rules at work mean employees should not be in close contact with each other. If 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.
  • Employers should also put in place policies that support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or being a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • The Health Unit does not recommend that employers require clearance testing or doctor’s notes for employees to return to work.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have been touched by an employee with COVID-19 as soon as possible. Continue to frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched or shared surfaces at work, including tools, equipment and workstations.
  • 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
  • Toronto Public Health has developed a COVID-19 Decision Guide for Workplaces to help determine when it is safe for employees to return to work. The Guide is included here for your information.
Customers/Clients
  • 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.
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Stay Connected

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, ext. 5020, or email at info@hkpr.on.ca

Media/Blogs

On This Page

Blogs

Media Releases

COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Expected This Week – Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

More Local Businesses Can Open on Feb. 16, as Local Region Moves to Orange COVID-19 Colour Level – Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

First COVID-19 Variant of Concern Detected in HKPR Region – Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

Local COVID-19 Vaccination Program Paused Until Additional Vaccine Arrives – Friday, Jan. 29, 2021

Dose of Good News: First COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Health Unit Region – Monday, Jan. 25, 2021

Acting Medical Officer of Health Urges Vigilance to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 – Friday, Jan. 7, 2021

Feed the Need – Safely Donate to Area Food Banks and Support Programs During COVID-19 – Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020

Province Moves Local Health Unit Region into Yellow Protect Level – Friday, Dec. 4, 2020

Customers Should Self-Monitor for COVID-19 After Outbreak Declared at Tim Hortons in Colborne – Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

Outbreak Declared at Canadian Centre for Addictions in Port Hope – Saturday, November 28, 2020

Health Unit Declares Outbreak at Cameco Fuel Manufacturing in Port Hope – Friday, November 27, 2020

Health Unit Lifts COVID-19 Outbreak at Northumberland Hills Hospital – Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

Partnership Helps Deliver Food Supplies to Students in Need, Even During COVID-19 School Closures – Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020

Health Unit Provides Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Friday, Nov. 13, 2020

Health Unit Declares COVID-19 Outbreak at Warkworth Long-Term Care Home – Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

Health Unit Survey Asks How COVID-19 is Affecting You – Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

Health Alert Issued After Numerous Suspected Overdoses in Kawartha Lakes – Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

New Medical Officer of Health Appointed – Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

No-Cost Quit-Smoking Resources Can Help Break Tobacco Habit – Monday, Oct. 19, 2020

Take Precautions This Thanksgiving Weekend to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 – Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020

COVID-19 Leads to Cancellation of Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics, but People Still Urged to Protect Their Pet from Rabies – Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020

Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020

COVID-19 Contributes to Death of Northumberland Resident – Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020

Beware of Bats Inside Homes, Health Unit Advises – Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Friday, Aug. 28, 2020

Local Health Unit Issues Order to Agricultural/Farm Operations that Employ Migrant Workers – Thursday, July 9, 2020

Local Health Unit Issues Requirement for Mask Use in Commercial Establishments – Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Latest Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Thursday, July 2, 2020

Beach Water Testing Program Resumes This Summer – Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Latest Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Thursday, June 18, 2020

Health Unit Provides Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Friday, June 12, 2020

Health Unit Support for Expectant Parents, New Parents and Families Still Available During Pandemic – Monday, June 8, 2020

Two More COVID-19 Outbreaks Declared Over in Area – Monday, June 1, 2020

One Local COVID-19 Outbreak Declared Over – Sunday, May 31, 2020

Health Unit Provides Update on Local COVID-19 Outbreaks – Thursday, May 14, 2020

On Hold – Local Residents Strongly Discouraged from Organizing Garage/Yard Sales During COVID-19 – Friday May 8, 2020

Outbreak Declaration Removed at Case Manor Due to Lab Error – Thursday May 7, 2020

Recent Outbreaks in Area Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes – Tuesday May 5, 2020

Guidelines for Community Gardens – Let’s Get Growing Safely – Monday May 4, 2020

Retesting to Be Conducted After Lab Error May Have Created Inaccurate COVID-19 Results – Friday May 1, 2020

Health Unit Issues Order – Tuesday April 14, 2020

HKPR District Health Unit Reports Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Haliburton County – Wednesday April 1, 2020

Working Together to Protect Vulnerable Residents at Bobcaygeon Long-Term Care Home – Thursday March 26, 2020

Community Transmission of COVID-19 – Wednesday March 25, 2020

COVID-19 Contributes to Death of CKL Resident – Sunday March 22, 2020

Three Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Area Nursing Home – Friday March 20, 2020

Updates from the Local Health Unit – Thursday March 19, 2020

Medical Officer of Health Activates Emergency Response Plan – Tuesday March, 17, 2020

Positive COVID-19 Case in CKL – Saturday, March 14, 2020

First Local Positive COVID-19 Case Reported – Friday, March 13, 2020

Local Health Partners Continue to Work Together in Preparation for Potential COVID-19 Cases – March 2, 2020

Working Together to Prevent Spread of Seasonal Illness and Novel Coronavirus – Jan. 30, 2020


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 info@hkpr.on.ca

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 

Holidays, Family Gatherings and Celebrations

On This Page


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. 

COVID-19

Access local COVID-19 data, and information to reduce your risk of COVID-19.

Scroll down this page for resources and links on how to stay safe and protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you need further help or guidance, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca.


Self-Isolation During COVID-19 – Class Order Under Section 22 (5.01.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act 

Community Updates

Cases of COVID-19 within the HKPR District area

Click here for the latest COVID-19 case counts in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.


Additional COVID-19 Data Links
Resources

Featured Items

COVID-19 Content

Sign Up for ‘Talk With the Doc’ Virtual Town Hall

Photo of Dr. Ian Gemmill, with text 'Talk with the Doc' Virtual Town Hall

Join the COVID-19 conversation!

You’re invited to attend ‘Talk with The Doc,” a Virtual Town Hall hosted by Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill.

During each online information session Dr. Gemmill will provide updates on COVID-19 topics and answer your questions. Learn more about:

  • Local COVID-19 cases and transmission rates
  • Vaccine rollout in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes
  • HKPRDHU’s pandemic response and related topics.

To participate, click on the Eventbrite Page to sign up for the session you would like to attend:

You will receive a virtual ticket and can submit questions for Dr. Gemmill. Space is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information email info@hkpr.on.ca.

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:

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?
Employees/Co-workers
  • 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.
Customers/Clients
  • 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 info@hkpr.on.ca

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.


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.


On This Page:


What you should know
Icon image of a tub of cleaning supplies
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces twice per day
  • In addition to routine cleaning and disinfecting, high-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.
  • High-touch surfaces include, but are not limited to: doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads.
  • In addition to routine cleaning and disinfecting, check with your organization for any specific protocols for cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19.
Select products
Cleaners
  • Break down grease and remove organic material from the surface.
  • If used separately, always use cleaner to clean the surface area before applying disinfectants.
  • Can be purchased with cleaner and disinfectant combined in a single product. These products are called ‘cleaner disinfectants.’
Icon of a sponge filled with bubbles
Disinfectants
Icon of a spray bottle of disinfectant
Disinfectant Wipes
  • Have combined cleaners and disinfectants in the same wipe.
  • May become dry due to fast drying properties. They should not be used if they become dry.
  • Ensure surfaces are saturated with cleaner disinfectant while using wipes.
  • 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 for specific contact time)
    • wear gloves when handling cleaning or disinfecting 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

How to Clean/Disinfect a Carpet to Eliminate COVID-19

The best option is to cover the carpet with vinyl or other material that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. If that’s not possible, do the following:

  • For regular cleaning and disinfecting, use a steam cleaner (the temperature is high enough to eliminate COVID)
  • For situations involving a biological spill, follow these steps:
    • Gather disposable towels, cleaners, disinfectants and other supplies you need to deal with the spill.
    • Don’t allow access to area until the spill is cleaned, disinfected and completely dry.
    • Put on gloves and facial protection (such as mask and eye protection, or face shield). If there is a possibility of splashing, wear a gown too.
    • Mop up as much of the spill as possible with disposable towels
    • Disinfect the entire spill area with a Health Canada approved disinfectant, allowing it to stand for the length of time of time recommended by the manufacturer. Do not use spray for this step.
    • In a waste receptacle, safely dispose of the gloves, disposable towels, and other materials used to wipe up the spill.
    • Remove gloves and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
    • Steam clean the carpet.
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Isolating During COVID-19

In certain cases, you MUST isolate or quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This protects you and others from illness, especially those more at risk from COVID-19 such as seniors and people with chronic medical conditions. With new COVID-19 variants of concern that can be spread easier now being detected in Ontario, it’s even more important to isolate or quarantine when directed (click here for links to FAQs on variants).

Please Note: On December 12, 2020, the Acting local Medical Officer of Health issued the following updated Class Order under Section 22 (5.01.1) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order replaces an original order pertaining to self-isolating due to COVID-19. The updated Class Order is designed to protect the health of local residents by reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

On this page

When to Isolate

Public health staff will give you further direction on when and how long to isolate or quarantine, depending on your circumstances. In general, you must isolate:

  1. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19.
  2. If you have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested and are awaiting the results.
  3. If you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms (even mild ones).
  4. You must quarantine if you are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, is awaiting test results or is believed to have symptoms.
  5. Parents and caregivers of anyone under age 16 who tests positive for COVID-19, is awaiting test results or is believed to have symptoms may also need to isolate.

NOTE: The federal government also has mandatory quarantine and isolation orders in effect for travelers to and from Canada. Please click here for full details.


How Long to Isolate

You must remain in isolation or quarantine as directed by public health staff.

In general, you must isolate for:

  • 10 days if diagnosed with mild to moderate COVID-19 illness and symptoms
  • 20 days if you suffered more severe COVID-19 illness (e.g. requiring Intensive Care Unit level support) or are immune-compromised.

You must quarantine for:

  • 14 days if you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or strongly suspected of having the virus.

Please follow specific public health guidance for isolating and quarantining, or call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020 for further direction.

How to Isolate
Stay home

Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.

Do not go to work, school or other public places.

Stay home unless you need to get tested or require emergency medical care.


Avoid contact with others

No visitors unless essential (e.g. care providers)

Stay away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, lung problems, immune deficiency).

As much as possible, stay in a separate room away from other people in your home and use a separate bathroom if you have one.

Make sure that shared rooms have good airflow (e.g. open windows).

If these steps are not possible, keep a distance of at least two metres (6 feet) from others at all times.


Keep your distance

If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two metres and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.

Other people should wear a mask when they are in the same room as you.


Wash your hands

Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else will share.

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.


Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.

Throw used tissues in a lined wastebasket, and wash your hands. Lining the wastebasket with a plastic bag makes waste disposal safer.

Clean your hands after emptying the wastebasket.


Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

Wear a mask if you must leave your house to see a health care provider or to get tested for COVID-19.

Wear a mask when you are within two metres of other people, or stay in a separate room.

If you do not have a mask, maintain two metres distance from people and cover your cough and sneezes


What should I do if I develop symptoms?
  • Complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment.
  • Contact Telehealth (1-866-797-0000) or your health care provider.
  • Anyone with whom you had close physical contact (e.g., in your household) in the two days before your symptoms started or after symptoms started should also isolate. If you have questions about this, call the local Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.
  • You will be directed by the Health Unit or health care provider on how long you need to isolate or quarantine.
  • When you stop isolating or quarantining, you should continue with measures to prevent COVID-19, including physical distancing and properly wearing a mask or face covering.
  • If you are still unwell at the end of your isolation or quarantine period, contact Telehealth or your health care provider for further direction.

Isolating with NO COVID-19 Symptoms (Older Adults and people with existing medical conditions)

After Your Isolation Period is Over

If you do not develop symptoms after your isolation period is over OR If you no longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved:

  • You can stop isolating, but for your protection, stay home except for essential trips (e.g. groceries and medication)
  • You MUST practise physical distancing measures when in public
  • Continue with frequent handwashing and avoid touching your face

If you are still unwell after this period, contact Telehealth or your health care provider for further direction. You can also call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.


Additional Resources
Watch our video on YouTube

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:

COVID-19 and Schools

The Health Unit continues to work closely with local school boards and other public health units to ensure a safe return for all students, staff and families. Please read on for more information and resources for parents, school board staff and students.

NOTE: With in-person learning resuming in all elementary and secondary schools in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, new COVID-19 health and safety measures are also in effect, including:

  • Mandatory masking now applies for all students in Grades 1 to 12. Mask use also applies to before- and after-school programs, as well as on school vehicles (like buses). Students in Junior and Senior Kindergarten are also encouraged to wear masks.
  • Mandatory masking outdoors where physical distancing can’t be maintained.
  • On-site confirmation of daily COVID-19 self-screening, starting Jan. 25 for all elementary and secondary staff, and effective Feb. 10, for all secondary students.

On This Page

For School Board Staff

Click on the following resources for guidance on safe school reopening during COVID-19:

Protocols For Individuals/Schools with COVID-19
Guidance/Checklists for Reopening Schools
Student Nutrition Programs – Guidance and FAQs
For School Bus Drivers/Operators

For Parents
Return to School Protocol for Students with COVID-19 Symptoms
Screening Your Child for COVID-19 Symptoms
Provincial Resources

Guidance documents and resources:

Local School Board Resources

Learn how your local school board is working to support a safe return to class:


Frequently Asked Questions

Should I have my child tested for COVID-19 before they return to school?

Testing your child before returning to school is generally not recommended if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms, unless they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

What if my child shows symptoms before going to school or while at school?

As per the Ministry of Education Guide to Reopening Ontario Schools, all students and staff must self-screen every day using a checklist before arriving at school. If a student or staff member is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home from school and should seek testing and appropriate medical attention.

If a student or staff member feels sick, or develops symptoms while at school, schools will follow the following protocol:

  • Students or staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms will immediately be separated from others, and the family will be contacted to arrange pick-up.
  • Staff and students with symptoms will be directed to seek medical advice including the recommendation of testing for COVID 19 as appropriate or as advised by their medical provider. Check out local COVID 19 Assessment Centre locations, and book an appointment for COVID- 19 testing.
  • Siblings/staff of ill individual can remain in school until further medical advice is received and should self-monitor for symptoms.
  • Staff and/or students who receive an alternative diagnosis than COVID-19 can return to school once they are symptom-free for 24 hours.

Can I go to work if I don’t have any symptoms but my child is ill and we are waiting on results from their COVID-19 test?

If your child is symptomatic and has been tested for COVID-19, you and your family, including siblings, should self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. You can continue to go to school and/or work if you have no symptoms.

  • If while self-monitoring symptoms of COVID-19 develop, self-isolate and be tested for COVID-19 (and no longer attend work and school).
  • If any members of your household test positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by Public Health directly with more detailed advice.

What if there is a positive case in my child’s school?

If a COVID-19 positive case is identified in a school, staff from the Health Unit will provide further instructions on who else in the school may need testing and/or monitoring/isolation at that time. Staff/children who are being managed by public health (e.g. confirmed cases of COVID-19, household contacts of cases, etc.) must follow the instructions provided by the HKPR District Health Unit on when they can return to school.

What if a parent/guardian tests positive for COVID-19?

Parents/guardians are not required to report their test results to their school, however it is recommended. Members of your household are required to self-isolate and should not attend work or school. If your child is at school, your child should be picked up immediately. Staff from the HKPR District Health Unit will be in contact with you for assessment and provide further direction.

Who will declare an outbreak at the school?

The Heath Unit will declare an outbreak after identifying two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff (or other visitors) in a school with an epidemiological link where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before/after school care).

Examples of reasonably having acquired infection in school include:

  • No obvious source of infection outside of the school setting; OR
  • Known exposure in the school setting

HKPR District Health Unit staff will work closely with the school to determine close contacts of the case and will provide direction on isolation and facilitate testing.

Are masks now mandatory for all students?

Mandatory masking now applies for all students in Grades 1 to 12. Mask use is also required for before- and after-school programs, as well as on school vehicles. While not required, students in Junior and Senior Kindergarten are also encouraged to wear masks.

Masks must now also be worn outdoors when physical distancing can’t be maintained.


Additional Resources

Click on the following for additional support:


Changes to Health Unit Services in Schools Due to COVID-19

Due to the pandemic, the following services in schools are being impacted:

  • School-Based Immunization for Grade 7/8 students will not take place this fall due to COVID-19. Normally, the Health Unit provides vaccines for Hep B, HPV and Meningococcal. You can still ensure your Grade 7/8 student is vaccinated for these illnesses, as the Health Unit is offering appointment-based clinics at its offices (with full COVID-19 prevention measures in place). Book your child’s vaccination appointment by calling 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507.
  • Dental Screening for students in schools has been postponed until further notice. If your child has a toothache or cavity AND you are unable to pay for dental treatment, the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program may be able to help pay for dental care costs. For help to enroll your child in the HSO program, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1247.
  • Vision Screening for SK students has been cancelled for the 2020/21 school year. It’s recommended you call an optometrist to book a FREE eye examination for your child. To find an optometrist in your area, visit the College of Optometrists of Ontario or call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1216.

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For Students

Check out these resources to help stay safe at school during the pandemic:

About COVID-19
Washing Hands
Fighting Germs
Wearing Masks
Mental Health Support

Physical Distancing

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.

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.
  • During the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown, do not gather with a group for a celebration or event. Instead, try to connect with family or friends by phone or online.
  • 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.
  • 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:

Prevention

Resources

Health is in your hands when it comes to COVID-19. Click on the links below for information on how to prevent the spread of the virus.


Employee Health and Safety During COVID-19

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

Resources/Legislation

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
Poster

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