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

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is updating its original instruction from July 13 on the use of non-medical masks or face coverings in indoor public spaces in the area. These updated instructions take effect at 12:01 am on July 17, 2020, and include most commercial establishments/services and indoor public places in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of now, the Ontario government is also mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.

The revised Health Unit instructions have been updated under the authority of the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and apply to all persons responsible for operating a place of business or facility that is indoors and open to the public currently permitted to operate under 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 prevent the spread of COVID-19 in this region.

For more details, please read the the following FAQs, as well as posters, policy and resources to assist you with compliance.

Please Note: This order applies to non-medical masks and face coverings. Medical masks are different and must only be used by health care workers.


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 policies 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.

The Health Unit’s updated instructions apply to any places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public and used for the purposes of offering goods or services for sale or use. These establishments include: a mall or other structure containing commercial premises, and currently include the following:

  • Retail stores, convenience stores, malls/plazas, restaurants, personal service settings, grocery stores and bakeries, gas stations, indoor farmers’ markets, areas of mechanics’ shops/garages/repair shops, which are open to the public

Other indoor public places are also covered by this order, including: 

  • 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.).

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

In addition to the Health Unit’s mask instruction, the Ontario government is now also 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, retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings (except when you are in common areas and can’t maintain 2 metres from others), and residences for people with developmental disabilities.

Are churches/places of worship covered under these updated instructions?

Yes, churches or places of worship are now included in the updated instructions for requiring mask use. Attendees to religious services/rites or ceremonies must wear masks at all times, with a secured 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 is this instruction on masks being updated (on July 17) so soon after it took effect (on July 13)?

With the move to Stage 3 on July 17, more businesses and services are reopening in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. The Health Unit’s revised instructions are meant to provide additional clarity and direction for mask use in these newly-opened establishments.

Wearing non-medical masks or face coverings inside public places is another way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in this area. As we move into Stage 3 reopening and more businesses and public spaces open and people increase their contacts, the risk of a rapid rise in infections and outbreaks is ever-present. Although the number of cases of COVID-19 in the Health Unit area is declining, the risk of ongoing spread remains as the reopening process continues.

Increasing scientific evidence supports wearing a mask when in enclosed public spaces as an important measure in reducing COVID-19 transmission, while the risk of rising rates of infection continues. Together with physical distancing, hand and cough hygiene, and staying home when ill, the use of a non-medical mask or face covering in a commercial establishment is an additional public health measure that may help 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?

  • Any areas in which customers interact with one another or with staff members

OR

  • Any areas that are open or accessible to members of the public

Except where: The area is outside, whether or not the area is covered (e.g. a restaurant patio)

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

In addition to the Health Unit’s mask order, the Ontario government is now also 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 workplaces when working in an indoor area that allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from anyone else.
  • In university dorms, retirement homes, long-term care homes 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 should have a policy to ensure public is 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.

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.

Who is exempt from this instruction?

The following people are exempt from the instruction to wear a mask while inside a commercial establishment. Please note: a person refers to any customer, patron, employee, or visitor who enters the premises:

  • The Person is a child under the age of two years; or a child under the age of 5 years either chronologically or developmentally and he or she refuses to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver
  • The Person is unable to remove their mask without assistance
  • For any other medical reason, the Person cannot safely wear a non-medical mask or face covering such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information
  • For any religious reason, the Person cannot wear a non-medical mask or face covering or cannot cover the face in a manner that would properly control the source.

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. 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.

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.

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

Where can I find a mask if I can’t afford to buy one?

We are working with our community partners to connect people in need with masks. People can call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, to learn more about accessing a mask. Another option is to use what you have at home – if someone cannot afford a non-medical mask, they are requested to use a bandana or scarf as a face covering.

Are places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public required to purchase masks or have them on hand for customers?

No, under the instructions issued by the Health Unit, places of business or facilities that are indoors and open to the public are not required to provide non-medical masks or face coverings to customers. If a customer does not have a non-medical mask, they can wear other face coverings, including a bandana or scarf.

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 policy requiring members of the public wear a mask or face covering when entering public areas of the enclosed public space.

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 the policy 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.

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 the policy 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.

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 people need to wear masks when on a restaurant patio? Do the servers need to wear masks?

No, customers do not need to wear a mask while on a restaurant patio as this is outside and is an exception to the instructions issued by the Health Unit. Servers who are interacting with the customers in the commercial establishment are required to wear face masks.

Do people need to wear a mask while at a hotel or bed and breakfast?

Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts offer services and would be considered commercial. This would be limited to areas that the hotels/B&Bs interact with the public, like the reception area, but not in private rooms or during outdoor dining. Masks are also not required when swimming in an indoor or outdoor public pool or using a public spa.

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

Yes, while in areas that are servicing the public.

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.

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 are not required to wear a mask if you do not interact or serve members of the public, but it is still recommended that you wear a mask if you cannot maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from a co-worker.

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 of the policy 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.

Where is the science/proof that masks work?

COVID-19 is a new virus and we are continuing to learn more about the virus, how it affects people and how it is spread. Evidence is showing that wearing a mask, together with staying home when sick, physical distancing, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and covering coughs and sneezes is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

Here is a paper from Public Health Ontario on the scientific evidence known at this point about masks.

Why was this not done in March when the pandemic started? Why now?

Although we have seen a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in our area, we want to be sure we continue to see a decrease as we move towards the reopening of more businesses within the province. This is even more true as we enter Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan. 

The risk for the ongoing spread of the virus remains as the process of reopening continues throughout the province. The use of non-medical masks or face coverings in public places, along with continued handwashing, physical distancing and staying home if sick, are some of the best public health measures to protect us from the virus.

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. 

How to Properly 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. 


Additional Resources

Posters For Businesses/Commercial Establishments

Sample Policy For Businesses – Mask Use in Commercial Establishments

How to Use/Wear a Cloth Mask Video – HKPR District Health Unit Video

Travellers and COVID-19


Travelling Abroad

If you have travelled abroad, you MUST immediately self-isolate/quarantine and stay home for 14 days. This is due to the Canadian government putting in place an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act.

These quarantine measures apply to all travellers arriving in Canada and is aimed at slowing down 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.

Travellers Arriving in Canada
as of April 14, 2020
With Symptoms 
Without Symptoms 
MANDATORY Isolation MANDATORY Quarantine/Self-Isolation
Go directly to the place where you will isolate, without delay, and stay there for 14 daysYesYes
You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while traveling to the place you will isolate/quarantineYesYes
Go to your place of isolation using private transportation only, such as your personal vehicle. You cannot arrange a pickup/ride with another personYes
Do NOT go outsideYes
Do not leave your place of isolation unless it is to seek medical attentionYesYes
Do not go to school, work, other public areasYesYes
Do not use public transportation such as buses and taxisYes**
Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home, if possibleYes
Do not have visitorsYesYes
Limit contact with others in the place of isolation, including childrenYesYes
Do not isolate in a place where you will have contact with vulnerable people, such as older adults age 65+ and individuals with underlying medical conditionsYesYes
If your symptoms get worse, immediately
contact your health care provider or public health authority and follow their instructions
Yes
Arrange to have someone pick up essentials like groceries or medication for youYesYes
Keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from othersYesYes
Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh airYes
Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19Yes

** If no symptoms: You can only take public transportation to get to your place of self-isolation after you arrive in Canada, but must wear an appropriate non-medical mask or face covering while in transit. You must not stop on the way home, and practise physical (social) distancing at all times.

If you have symptoms but do not have a place to isolate, you will be required to isolate for 14 days in a facility designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

If you develop symptoms within 14 days:

  • 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
  • Please note: The 14-day quarantine period restarts from the time you develop COVID-19 symptoms OR you are exposed to another returning traveller covered under this Order who has COVID-19 symptoms

If you do not develop symptoms after 14 days OR if you no longer have a fever and your symptoms are improved:

  • You can stop isolating, but for your protection, stay home except for essential trips (like groceries or 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 14 days, contact Telehealth Ontario or your health care provider for further direction.


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.

Federal Rules 
  • Temperature screenings are now required for any passengers arriving or flying out of Canadian airports. This applies to international and domestic flights.
  • As of April 20, new measures mean all air passengers travelling in Canada must wear a non-medical mask or face covering over their mouth and nose during travel.  
  • When travelling domestically by ferry, rail or bus, travellers are strongly encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings whenever possible. They may need to use a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose when they cannot maintain physical distance from others. 

Apartments and Multi-Unit Dwellings

NOTE: The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). Please ensure you follow this new requirement. Failure to do so could lead to fines for the event host and people attending the function.

FURTHER NOTE: Social circles (or bubbles) are now on pause in Ontario. People are encouraged to only have close contact with others in their immediate household. Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

If you own or manage a multi-unit building, it’s important to protect your tenants from COVID-19. Proper screening, cleaning, physical distancing and other measures are essential to reduce the spread of illness. Here’s what you need to do:

Screening

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increase cleaning and disinfecting, especially in common areas. High-touch surfaces (like doorknobs, light switches, phones, elevator buttons, stairwells, shared washrooms and garbage facilities) should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day, and when visibly dirty.
  • Be careful when handling waste, and ensure you wash hands thoroughly afterwards with soap and running water. Line garbage cans with plastic bags if possible and avoid direct contact with soiled items in the garbage
  • For Shared Laundry Rooms: Both sick and healthy households need to use laundry rooms to wash dirty laundry.  Clean and disinfect the machine controls frequently.  You may also need to put up limits to the number of people in the laundry room at a time, to ensure physical distancing. Put up this poster for tips on using shared laundry facilities.

Mask Use

  • The Ontario government is now mandating that face coverings/non-medical masks MUST be worn in common areas, hallways, lobbies, etc. when you cannot keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others.

Physical Distancing

  • Promote physical distancing in your building. Urge people to keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart – roughly the length of a hockey stick. Put up this poster in all common areas to send a clear message.
  • Put in place measures at your building to reinforce physical distancing. Stagger times to use laundry facilities, limit the number of people gathering in shared spaces, and move furnishings like chairs further apart to create more space.  
  • Limit capacity on elevators to ensure physical distancing. Post a sign indicating no more than two or three people should use the elevator at once. 

What to do If Tenants/Residents Show COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Individuals in a private unit who show COVID-19 symptoms MUST self-isolate for the required period and not leave home, unless they need medical care. If possible, check in with them by phone, email or text. Offer to get food/supplies and leave items at their doorway, ensuring no close contact.
  • If someone with COVID-19 symptoms lives in a shared space, support them to safely self-isolate by ensuring they stay in a separate room, use a separate washroom (if possible) and keep a 2 metre distance from others. If this isn’t possible, review this link 
  • If someone experiences severe COVID-19 symptoms, seek immediate medical care. 
  • Be a good neighbour. Check in on people who may need assistance with getting groceries if they are self isolating. This reduces the need for them to leave their apartment.

Remembrance Day and COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, Remembrance Day ceremonies will be much different this year.

Many of the usual Remembrance Day services and events in this area are being cancelled, reduced in size or limiting participants to only those invited. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please consider watching events or services on television or attending a virtual ceremony. Please check with your local municipality or Royal Canadian Legion Branch for information about Remembrance Day ceremonies in your community.

On This Page:

Marking the Day at Home

While participating in Remembrance Day ceremonies is a cherished tradition, you can still reflect and mark it in your own way:

  • Take time at home with your immediate household members to recognize veterans and remember those who died. Be sure to reflect and mark two minutes of silence at 11 am on November 11.
  • Watch a Remembrance Day service on television or via the Internet
  • Mark Remembrance Day virtually by discovering memories and moments from those who fought and died for freedom:
  • Show and share your thanks online by using #RemembranceDay
Attending a Ceremony

If you choose to attend a Remembrance Day event in person, attend an outdoor event rather than one held indoors. Always do the following:

  • Stay home if you are sick or if you have symptoms – even if you have mild symptoms.
  • Maintain two metres (six feet) of physical distancing from anyone you do not live with and limit close contact to members of your household only.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering indoors and wear one outdoors if physical distancing is a challenge.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not attend a ceremony if you have not been invited.
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are at a higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. This includes people who are 70 years or older and individuals who are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions.
Organizing a Ceremony

If you are organizing a local Remembrance Day service, you are allowed an upward limit of 100 people to attend the outdoor event (as per Ontario Regulation 364/20 Rules for Areas in Stage 3) provided the following restrictions are in place:

  • Encourage the public to take part in the ceremony virtually.
  • Organizers should invite only specific people to attend in-person to maintain physical distancing and gathering requirements.
  • Get all attendees to wear face coverings/masks outdoors where a 2 metre (6-foot) distance cannot be maintained.
  • Rope off the ceremony area for only invited guests to maintain crowd control. Have volunteers stand by the entrance and exit of the roped off area. If seating is provided, chairs should be arranged so they are 2 metres apart.
  • Request invitees who are sick to stay home.
  • Keep a list of all invited guests and their contact information

If you have further questions about your Remembrance Day event, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

Selling Poppies

The safer way to sell poppies is through donations boxes that are unstaffed (such as ones set up at store checkouts). If you choose to sell poppies in-person:

  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
  • Have hand sanitizer and use it regularly.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands every time after handling cash.
  • Consider not selling if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, including if you are 70 years or older, are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions.

COVID-19 and Schools

School is back in session with additional preventive measures in place to protect against COVID-19. The Health Unit is working closely with local school boards and other public health units to ensure a safe return for all students, staff and families.

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.


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

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
  • Stage 3 of COVID-19 reopening remains in place in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. However, new public health restrictions are in place in COVID-19 hotspots — Toronto, Ottawa, Peel Region and York Region. The new measures in these four regions include: prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants and bars, and closing gyms, movie theatres and casinos. These restrictions will be in place for the next 28 days. Local businesses are not impacted by these new restrictions. If you have questions about whether your business can reopen or not, call Ontario’s Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. For resources on opening, please visit the Ontario government website.
  • Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is urging everyone to limit trips outside of home for only essential purposes like work, school, groceries, medical appointments and outdoor physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions of Ontario — especially those areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission to places with low COVID-19 transmission rates — should only be for essential purposes as well.
  • Strip clubs are now required to be closed.
  • Bars, restaurants and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) must stop selling alcohol at 11 pm and close at midnight (except for takeout or delivery).
  • You are asked to only have close contact with people in your immediate household. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.
  • 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, including corrections and developmental services. Masks must also now be worn throughout religious services at places of worship.
  • The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). The new limits do NOT apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. 
  • Playgrounds and play structures are now open as part of Stage 3 reopening.
  • The Government of Ontario has passed the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act that ensures important public health measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial Declaration of Emergency has ended.  
  • The Ontario government is improving its efforts to more quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus. Included in this is a joint provincial-federal partnership to launch COVID Alert, a new privacy-first exposure notification app. The app is designed to improve COVID-19 tracking and will be launched in early July. More details about it are expected soon.
  • The Ontario government is expanding COVID-19 testing to pharmacies in the province. This testing at pharmacies will be free, by appointment only, and available ONLY to people who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms. Pharmacies will also be doing COVID pre-screening of anyone seeking a test. To learn which pharmacies are offering testing, click here.
  • Places of worship in Ontario can reopen, but with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to more than 30 per cent of building capacity to ensure the safety of worshipers. Masks must also be worn at all times.
  • The Province is providing guidelines to keep students safe at school during COVID-19. Licensed child care centres are also now allowed to operate at full capacity.
  • The Ontario government is allowing family visits at long-term care homes, retirement homes and other residential settings. Strict health and safety guidelines will be in place to protect the health of residents, staff and visitors. Contact the care home for specifics on how to arrange a visit.

Federal Orders 

Reducing Harm When Using Drugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Resources  

Halloween Safety During COVID-19

Halloween is a popular celebration, but due to COVID-19, play it safe. Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading illness, so continuing with them in the middle of COVID-19 is not recommended. The key is to find a balance between keeping safe while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy.

This Halloween, consider safer alternatives that can be done close to home. You and your family can still celebrate the season in ‘spooktacular’ fashion – along with peace of mind.


On This Page:


Trick-or-Treating
  • The Health Unit recommends rethinking the usual door-to-door trick-or-treating this year due to COVID-19 concerns. Instead, find creative ways to celebrate the season at home.
  • Print and display an appropriate poster to tell neighbours if you are handing out treats. Select either the Welcome Trick or Treaters poster or Sorry See You Next Year version.
  • If you want to hand out candy to hearty trick-or-treaters, plan for success. Ideally, do so outside being sure to wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Consider setting up a table or chair at the end of your walk or driveway to make handing out candy easier. Do NOT leave treats in bucket or bowl for kids to graband-go in order to avoid kids crowding around the treats.
  • Wear a face covering and use tongs or similar tools (even the end of a hockey stick) to safely hand out candy (or individually-wrapped goodie bags) while ensuring you maintain a 2-metre (6 foot) distance from trick-or-treaters.
  • Drop treats on your neighbour’s doorsteps, ring the bell, and run away! Make sure to include a spooky note letting your neighbour know they’re from you.
  • If your children are going out trick-or-treating, be sure everyone takes COVID-19 precautions:
    • Do NOT allow your children to go out if they are ill. Parents should also stay home if they are sick.
    • Only go out trick-or-treating with members of your direct household.
    • Only go trick-or-treating outdoors.
    • Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others at all times while trick-or-treating. Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps. Line up 2 metres (6-feet) apart if waiting. Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects.
    • Ensure your child wears a proper face covering while trick-or-treating. Choose a costume that makes wearing a mask or face covering easy for your child. Ensure the mask fits well and covers the nose, mouth and chin. Consider building the face covering into your child’s costume (cloth face masks can be made out of different fabrics to allow them to be part of a costume) .NOTE: A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering. Do not put a costume mask over a face covering as this makes breathing difficult.
    • Wash hands with soap and water before trick-or-treating, when you return home and before snacking.
    • Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you to use while trick-or-treating.
    • Leave any treats you collect for at least 24 hours. Have some ready-to-enjoy favourites set aside for children to enjoy when they return from trick-or-treating.
Halloween at Home

Consider these safer alternatives to do at home:

  • Buy treats for your children and enjoy them at home while watching a scary movie together.
  • Decorate for Halloween inside and outside your home and have children carve pumpkins to add to the festive display.
  • Showcase Halloween craft projects on your porch and in your front windows for your neighbours to enjoy.
  • Craft a countdown calendar – pick a fun Halloween activity to do each day or each weekend in October leading up to the big day.
  • Plan your own monster mash or ‘Halloween-at-home’ party. Get children to dress up in costume to mark the festivities.
  • Make your own spooky treats such as: clementine jack-o-lanterns, monster mix, or ghostly cookies.
  • Organize a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given holiday-themed items to look for around your home or property. You can also hide treats in different spots and get children to find them.
  • Do an ‘at-home’ version of trick-or-treating by setting up treat stations around your home that children can visit for goodies.
  • Pick out some Halloween themed books to read together.
  • Set up a piñata at home filled with your favourite Halloween treats.
  • Organize and hold a socially distanced costume parade with a few of your neighbours and keep the treats at home to enjoy afterwards.
  • Host a virtual party – set up video chats with friends and family members who can’t celebrate with you. Encourage children to show off their costumes and talk about their favourite treats.
  • Take photos of children dressed in Halloween costume and email/share with grandparents and older relatives who can’t be there in person.  
Social Gatherings
  • Avoid attending Halloween parties or social gatherings — especially those indoors. While Ontario does allow small indoor gatherings of 10 or fewer people and large outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, being in a social setting with others increases your risk of COVID-19. With cases on the rise in Ontario, it’s best not to take any chances.
  • Do not attend costume parties at other people’s homes. Instead, organize your own at home.
  • Avoid indoor haunted houses where people may be crowded together and screaming, increasing your risk of COVID-19.
  • If you do decide to attend a social gathering, follow COVID-19 precautions. Stay home if sick. Keep a 2 metre (6 foot) physical from others. Wear a mask or face covering. Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
Additional Resources

Mask Use during COVID-19

Wearing face coverings is another 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.

Please Note: The Health Unit is directing that non-medical masks or face coverings MUST be used within indoor public spaces in City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County. For complete details, click here.

Additional Note: As of now, the Ontario government is also mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.

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 Health Unit is directing that cloth masks/face coverings be used inside public places in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. For specific details, including exemptions, click here. The Ontario government is now also 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 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.

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
  • Someone who cannot wear a non-medical mask or face covering for any religious reason. 
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

Public Settings – Safe Reopening During COVID-19

As more businesses, services and activities resume, the need to continue taking COVID-19 precautions is important. Read on for specific reopening guidelines/rules for different public settings and situations.

Please note that the Health Unit has also put in place instructions on the use of non-medical masks or face coverings inside public places. The Ontario government is also making face coverings mandatory in all indoor public places (masks must cover the mouth, nose and chin).

PLEASE NOTE: The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). The new limits do NOT apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Social circles (or bubbles) are now on pause in Ontario. this means you can only have close contact with people in your immediate household. Keep 2 metres (6 feet) physical distancing from everyone else.

If you have further questions, contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, or email info@hkpr.on.ca .

On This Page

Click on links below to easily access content for each public setting:

Community Centres
  • These facilities are for sports and recreational activities, including gyms and fitness studios
  • Physical distancing must be maintained, except if playing a team sport or as needed for personal training
  • Gyms and fitness facilities can now have up to 50 patrons for each indoor sport or fitness room, but must ensure physical distancing of at least two metres is in place.
  • For fitness classes and organized activities. It’s strongly recommended to assign spaces to class participants by marking circles on the floor to indicate where to stand/exercise. This allows for easier physical distancing.
  • As of Aug. 21, the current indoor gathering limit of 50 people will now apply on a per meeting room or event space basis at professional meeting and event facilities. These include convention centres, hotels, motels, resorts, banquet halls and conference centres.
  • Equipment must be cleaned and disinfected between users or at the end of a game.
  • Activities must not be practised or played if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • Washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or other amenities open to the public must be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  • Community rooms at these facilities are subject to the same physical distancing measure and gathering limits as noted above. In addition:
    • Table games/activities that do not allow for a safe 2-metre (6 foot) distance are not allowed
    • Communal kitchens and interior dining spaces in a community centre stay closed
    • Food concession stands may open
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside, or while exercising or swimming.
  • For specific fact sheets on restarting sports and recreation programs, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca
Day Camps
Pools, Splash Pads and Wading Pools
  • Locker rooms, change rooms, showers and washrooms must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as necessary to maintain a safe and sanitary environment
  • Access is not allowed to high-touch features such as pool slides, diving boards and climbing structures (only exception is ladders)
  • A pool, splash pad, spray pad, wading pool or whirlpool must comply with physical distancing requirements. This includes: operating with a reduced capacity or activity enrolment, and operating by appointment or timed entry
  • Equipment provided or rented to patrons must be cleaned and disinfected after each use
  • Steam rooms and saunas are not allowed to open at this time
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside, or while exercising or swimming.
Playgrounds and Play Structures
  • Outdoor playgrounds and play structures can now open. There are no recommendations for extra cleaning or disinfecting of these structures. Anyone who uses playground equipment is encouraged to wash hands with soap and water or perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand sanitizer after playing on them. Always stay home if you are sick.
  • For indoor playgrounds and play structures:
    • Physical distancing of at least 2-metres (6 feet) must be in place at all indoor facilities, except if individuals are in the same household or social circle.
    • Gathering limits of no more than 50 people must be followed at these indoor facilities.
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside
Team Sports/Live Sporting Events
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not allowed.
  • Team sports (like wrestling, judo) in which body contact is common or integral are not yet permitted, unless measures are in place to prevent prolonged or deliberate physical contact
  • Amateur and recreational sports leagues may resume as long as they do not allow prolonged or deliberate physical contact between players OR if measures are in place to avoid physical contact between players
  • Leagues can have no more than 50 participants in total. If a league goes over this limit, it may divide into smaller groups of no more than 50. Currently, players are not allowed to compete against others outside of their league/group.
  • Spectators at indoor sporting events (including professional sports) are limited to 50 people, while a maximum of 100 people are allowed at outdoor events (these totals do not include players or event participants). Physical distancing measures must be in place, with assigned seating where possible
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside, or while exercising.
  • For specific fact sheets on restarting sports and recreation programs, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email info@hkpr.on.ca
Restaurant/Bars
  • Restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands, and other food/drink establishments may open for dine-in eating. No buffet-style service may be provided. Patrons must be seated when eating or drinking.
  • Bars, restaurants and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) must stop selling alcohol at 11 pm and close at midnight (except for takeout or delivery).
  • Capacity limits for dine-in eating are based on the ability of patrons to maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others. Establishments must take appropriate measures to ensure a 2-metre distance between tables (unless they are separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier)
  • Nightclubs are not allowed to open, except to serve food or drinks to patrons (must follow same rules that apply to restaurants/bars).
  • Singing or music may be performed by a person or group at the restaurant/bar with restrictions, such as physical distancing measures and barriers being put up between performers and patron.  Dancing may only be performed by someone working at the establishment with restrictions.
  • Physical distancing of 2-metres between patrons from different households also applies to food trucks, food courts, concession stands and tours (including tasting at wineries, breweries and distilleries)
  • For outdoor patios or dining areas, seating must be configured to allow at least 2-metres distance between tables. Patrons do not need to wear non-medical masks on patios.
  • Restaurants and bars must keep client logs (name and contact information) for every patron who frequents the business over the past 30 days. This information must be provided to the Health Unit for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes. NOTE: Food courts and cafeterias are exempt from this rule provided seating is set up to allow for 2 metre distance between patrons.
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings in restaurants/bars:
    • Patrons who come for dine-in eating must wear a mask upon entering and exiting the premises. Masks also need to be worn if they get up for anything during their meal (including using the washroom). Masks are not required when seated at a table
    • Restaurant servers who interact with customers must wear masks.
Live Shows, Performing Arts and Movie Theatres
  • Spectators at indoor events (like concerts and theatrical performances) are limited to 50 people, while a maximum of 100 people are allowed at outdoor events. Physical distancing measures must be in place, with assigned seating where possible. (NOTE: Employees/performers are not included in the crowd size)
  • Drive-through and drive-in venues are not subject to gathering limits.
  • Provide hand sanitizer in key areas like lobby.
  • In concession areas, self-serve is prohibited. Where refills are offered, a new cup/dish must be provided to reduce contact.
  • Singers and brass/wind instrument players must be separated from any spectators by plexiglass or another impermeable barrier.
  • Every performer or employees of the performing arts centre/theatre must maintain a physical distance of at least 2-metres from every other person, except for:
    • Performances and rehearsals
    • The purchase of tickets/admission, food or beverages
    • Health and safety reasons
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings:
    • Patrons and staff must wear masks in all public areas and any location in which they interact with others
    • Masks are not required to be worn outside
  • Movie theatres should stagger showtimes, encourage online purchases to reduce cash transactions, encourage guests to only arrive 15 minutes prior to the movie, remove/close off equipment and furniture to reduce loitering, and increase cleaning/disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.
  • Arcade/game rooms are prohibited.
Seniors Halls
  • Indoor gathering limits are limited to 50 people, while outdoor gatherings are capped at 100 people (employees not included).
  • Physical distancing must be in place.
  • No table games (e.g. cards, etc.) are allowed.
  • Ensure equipment (e.g. darts, etc.) is properly cleaned and disinfected between each use. Activities must not be practised or played if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • Put up posters encouraging handwashing
  • Post screening signage at entrances.
Weddings
  • Indoor weddings are limited to 50 people, while a maximum of 100 people is allowed at outdoor weddings. NOTE: These crowd limits apply if a wedding is held at a private home. If a wedding is held in a public hall, building or structure, the gathering must not exceed 30% of the capacity of the particular room
  • All wedding attendees must follow 2-metre physical distancing rules.
  • No buffet-style dinner is allowed. Guests must be seated when eating or drinking. Seating must be configured so that guests at different tables are separated by: a distance of 2 metres OR plexiglass or another impermeable barrier.
  • No one is allowed to dance, sing or perform music except if they are a hired performer, musician or entertainer. To perform, they must:
    • Be separated from guests and other performers by plexiglass or another impermeable barrier while singing or performing on a brass/wind instrument
    • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2-meters from every other person while singing or performing music
    • Clean and disinfect equipment used while singing or performing music between each use.
  • There is one exception to the dancing rule: a first dance is allowed for the bride and groom and their parents
  • Singing is not allowed during the wedding service.
  • When it comes to the use of non-medical masks or face coverings at weddings:
    • Guests must wear a non-medical mask upon entering/exiting the venue. Masks can be removed when seated.
    • Guests who need to get up for anything during the service or meal (such as going to the washroom) must re-mask.
    • The bride and groom are not required to wear a mask during wedding vows. The officiant (priest/minister) is not required to wear a mask if he/she maintains 2-metre physical distance
    • Guest are not required to wear mask outdoors if they can maintain a 2-metre physical distance
    • Servers who interact with guests must wear masks.
Personal Service Settings
  • These include businesses providing hairdressing and barbering, tattooing, aesthetics and piercing and other body modifications
  • Follow Ontario’s guidance documents for health and safety during COVID-19.
  • Oxygen bars, bath houses, steam houses and saunas are not permitted at this time.
  • Patrons must wear face coverings, except when receiving services on an area of face that would be covered
  • Staff are required to wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To find PPE suppliers, click here.
  • Ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres between patrons.
  • Increase cleaning and sanitizing of your facility. To ensure proper infection prevention and control, follow this Public Health Ontario disinfection chart.
  • Consider operating by appointment only and stagger times.
  • It’s recommended you record names and contact information of patrons in case of an outbreak

Holidays, Family Gatherings and Celebrations

Get-togethers with family and friends are important to celebrate holidays and mark birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. During COVID-19, take steps to protect your loved ones and prevent the spread of the virus.

NOTE: With the rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario, make an informed choice about attending family gatherings and celebrations. Currently, virtual gatherings/events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with family and friends outside your household. The fewer people you come in contact with or have at a gathering, the lower your risk of COVID-19 transmission.

FURTHER NOTE: Ontario has put a pause on social circles (or bubbles) due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province. As a result, you should only be in close contact with people within your own immediate household. Maintain two metres (6 feet) physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). Please ensure you follow this new requirement. Failure to do so could lead to fines for the event host and people attending the function. The new size limits DO not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. 

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General Tips
  • Stay home if sick. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 assessment tool to help determine if you need further care.
  • Think twice about visiting areas of Ontario with high COVID-19 transmission rates. Instead, connect by phone, social media or video-conferencing. You can also consider using platforms to hold a virtual party/celebration.  
  • Avoid hugs, kisses, handshakes and other gestures with those outside your household. Instead, wave and greet others verbally. While it may be difficult, this can protect your loved ones, especially older adults and people with compromised immune systems who are more at risk from COVID-19 complications.
  • Limit the size of family/private social gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people). Please ensure you follow this requirement, as failing to do so could lead to fines for the event host and guests attending the function.
  • Practise physical distancing as much as possible. Keep a 2 metre (6-foot) distance from anyone who is outside your household.
  • Wear a mask if inside where physical distancing is a challenge.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after attending a gathering.
  • Check ahead with the host to see what COVID-19 preventive measures are in place.
  • Before attending an event or gathering, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer recommends asking yourself these sets of questions to determine if you should go:
    • Are you at high risk of developing serious complications if you become infected with COVID-19 OR if you have to self-isolate, would this seriously disrupt your upcoming plans, priorities and responsibilities?
    • Are there people at high risk of developing serious complications of COVID-19 in your household that you could unintentionally infect?
    • Has the host made changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (such as spacing chairs, encouraging physical distancing and having guests who are visiting and not part of your household wear masks)?
    • Are you able to adjust your plans at the event (such as stepping away if it gets crowded, wearing a mask and washing your hands)?
Hosting a Gathering/Party
  • With COVID-19 cases rising in Ontario, give serious consideration to putting parties/gatherings on hold and celebrate only with those in your immediate household. Instead, consider virtual gatherings with your extended family and friends.
  • Be aware of the size limits on private parties/gatherings. No more than 10 people are allowed at indoor parties/gatherings, while 25 is the maximum amount of guests at outdoor functions. You could face a stiff fine for hosting a party that breaks the size gathering limits.
  • Remind guests to stay home if sick. Consider keeping a list of guests who attend for potential future COVID-19 contact tracing needs.
  • When entertaining, allow for physical distancing for your guests. Allow people to safely maintain a 2 metre (6 foot) distance, especially if they are outside your household.
  • Be upfront with your guests about the COVID-19 prevention measures you’re taking so they know what to expect before they arrive.
  • When possible, host your gathering outdoors. In colder weather months, go indoors but try to ensure the room or space is well-ventilated (e.g. open a window).
  • Arrange tables and chairs in advance to allow for physical distancing (if already set up, guests may be reluctant to move them).
  • People from the same household can be grouped/seated together, but should be 2 metres (6 feet) apart from other families.
  • When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact between those outside households.
  • Encourage guests to wear masks when physical distancing is difficult. Consider providing masks for guests or ask them to bring their own.
  • Ensure there is enough soap and hand sanitizer for people to use during the gathering.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Limit the number of people handling or serving food (including limiting access to where food is being prepared, such as the kitchen).
  • Avoid buffet-style meals. If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils
  • Limit contact with high-touch surfaces or shared items. If possible, clean and disinfect these surfaces and shared items between uses.
  • If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g. seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event.

Places of Worship during COVID-19

Faith groups and places of worship in Ontario are now allowed to reopen under these restrictions:

  • Physical distancing rules must be in place
  • Attendance is limited to no more than 30 per cent of the indoor building capacity and a maximum of 100 people for outdoor gatherings

Protect the health and safety of your members and congregants by taking measures to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Read on for further 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.

Non-Medical Mask Use During Religious Services
  • The local Health Unit is now including churches/places of worship in the list of indoor public places where people are being instructed to wear non-medical masks. As of now, the Ontario government is also mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services.
  • Unless a person is exempted, non-medical masks or face coverings should be worn at all times inside public places, including places of worship. For religious services/rites or ceremonies, indoor weddings and funeral services, attendees must wear masks at all times with a secured physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others.
  • Group singing is strongly discouraged. Instead, consider using audio or video recordings.
  • Where speaking or singing is required as a part of a faith-based service, masks may be removed for the purposes of speaking where sufficient distance (greater than 4 metres) is provided between the speaker(s) and participants. In the event of loud speaking or any singing simultaneously during a speaking engagement, masks may be removed with sufficient barrier(s) required, such as glass or Plexiglas that forms a complete barrier between the speaker(s)/singer(s) and others
  • Singers (eg. choir members) or performers do not need to wear a mask while they are rehearsing or performing. Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any spectators by Plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier. Every performer and other person must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except, if it is necessary for the performers to be closer to each other for the purposes of the performance or rehearsal. During periods of rest in between performances, face coverings should be used.
Weddings and Funerals

More people are now allowed to attend wedding or funeral services. 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.

COVID-19 Preventive Measures in Places of Worship
  • Maintain physical distancing by staying two metres (six feet) apart at all times.
  • Anyone who is feeling sick should 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 of live singing or wind instruments
  • 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).
  • Encourage staff and visitors to stay home when sick. 
  • 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 During COVID-19 in Other Ways
  • Continue to offer virtual or live-streamed services to those who are unable to attend 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:

Hunting and COVID-19

Fall is a busy time for hunting in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Whether hunting moose, deer or other animals, it’s also important to take aim at COVID-19 by preventing its spread. Here how to stay safe and make the most of your hunting experience during the pandemic.

NOTE: Due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health is urging everyone to limit trips outside of home for only essential purposes like work, school, groceries, medical appointments and outdoor physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions of Ontario — especially those areas with high rates of COVID-19 transmission to places with low COVID-19 transmission rates — should only be for essential purposes as well. Please keep this in mind before deciding to go hunting.

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Hunting and COVID-19 Prevention

Before You Go

  • Do not put other hunters or individuals at risk. If you’re sick with COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and self-isolate. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool to see what to do next or call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.
  • If going to a hunt camp, follow any travel advisories. Before going out, also consider COVID-19 transmission rates in the area where you want to hunt.
  • Ensure physical distancing on the drive to the hunt camp/site. Stick to 2 people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver. Masks should also be worn on the trip. The only exception to this 2-person limit is if travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.
  • Pack supplies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Take soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, face coverings/masks, and cleaning/disinfectant supplies.

At Your Hunting Site/Hunt Camp

  • Keep hunting groups at one camp to 10 people or less to comply with Ontario’s indoor gathering limits. The exception would be if people can divide into groups of 10 or less, each with its separate accommodations such as tents, trailers, or separate buildings (and each of which would have its own specific indoor gathering limit). In this case, the maximum number of people allowed on the entire camp property would be up to 25 people (as per Ontario’s limit on outdoor gatherings).
  • Keep your distance from others. While camp life is often communal, try to maintain 2 metres (6 feet) from other hunters who are outside your household.
  • Bring your own tent/trailer in which to sleep and cook. This reduces your exposure to others.
  • If physical distancing isn’t possible, wear face coverings/masks. This applies at camp or in hunting blinds (especially if enclosed).
  • Socialize outdoors rather than inside buildings. Being outdoors reduces the spread of COVID-19.
  • Avoid buffet-style meals. Have people prepare/cook their own meals, ideally in their own tent/trailer. If eating a meal together, have one person make/serve the meal and have them wear a face covering while doing so.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water. If you don’t have access to soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect common and high-touch surfaces at the camp.
  • Do not share hunting gear/equipment or personal items (e.g. cigarettes, drinks, cutlery). It’s best to only use your own items.
  • Track the names and contact information of people in your hunting party, just in case contact tracing is needed should someone get COVID-19.
  • NOTE: Conservation Officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have the power to enforce and issue fines for breaches of COVID-19 gathering limits and other rules.

If someone develops one or more symptoms of COVID-19 while hunting, have a plan to communicate with the group and have the individual self-isolate immediately. Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, for further direction. Contact 911 if symptoms are severe.

Hunting Safety Rules
  • All hunters must wear solid hunter orange clothing (minimum 400 square inches above the waist) and a hunter orange head cover during gun seasons for deer, moose and elk. Outside the gun season for deer, moose and elk, these requirements also apply to bear hunters who are not hunting from a tree stand.
  • Handle firearms with care and attention at all times. 
  • Never shoot unless you are absolutely sure of your target and what lies beyond it. 
  • It’s illegal to shoot from a vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle.
  • It is illegal to discharge a firearm from or across the travelled portion of a right of way for public vehicular traffic. 
  • Never drink alcohol and hunt.
  • If you hunt from a tree stand, always wear a safety harness and use a rope to raise and lower your unloaded firearm.

Source: Ontario Provincial Police

General Safety Tips
  • Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will be returning.
  • Know the weather conditions in your hunting area and dress accordingly.                      
  • In an emergency, stay calm and stay put.
  • Avoid hypothermia. Know how to treat it if it strikes.
  • Keep rested, hydrated and well-nourished.
  • Carry a survival kit and a small first aid kit with you at all times.
  • Know how to build a fire in all weather conditions and carry the supplies to start one.
  • Carry a map and compass or GPS unit and know how to use them.
Additional Resources

COVID-19 and Large Gatherings/Events

It’s extra important to prevent COVID-19 when in close contact with other people, especially at large gatherings.

NOTE: With the rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario, make an informed choice about attending large gatherings. Currently, virtual gatherings/events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people outside your household. The fewer people you come in contact with or have at a gathering, the lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

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Limits on Large Gatherings

Limits on large gatherings in Ontario have recently changed. The Ontario government is now limiting the size of private social gatherings to no more:

  • 10 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors (the two gatherings cannot be combined to host 35 people).
  • In both cases, individuals must maintain physical distancing by staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from other attendees who are outside their household.

The new size limits do NOT apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.

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

Non-Medical Mask Use Inside Public Spaces

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

Weddings/Funerals

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

Places of Worship

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

General Tips for Event Planning During COVID-19

Be aware of the new limits on private social gatherings (maximum of 10 people for indoor events and up to 25 people for outdoor event). Anyone hosting or attending a private event that is over the size limits could face stiff fines and penalties.

NOTE: Social circles (or bubbles) are now on pause in Ontario, meaning you should only have close contact with others in your immediate household. You must maintain 2 metres (6 feet) physical distancing from anyone else.

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

Organizers
  • Discourage anyone from attending if they are sick; instead, encourage them to stay home.
  • Each event is different, so assess the type, size, scope and need for it. Consider the number of people who may attend too.
  • Consider specific COVID-19 prevention guidelines that are in place for events, including limits on the number of attendees. For further direction, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.
  • If you still plan to hold an event, assess the risk and take steps to reduce the spread of illness. Consider things like:
    • Reducing the number of participants or changing the venue to prevent crowding
    • Thinking about who will attend. If they are older or have weak immune systems/pre-existing health conditions, they may be at higher risk of getting sick from illnesses like COVID-19
    • Staggering arrivals and departures
    • Implementing one-way entrances and exits.
    • Providing packaged refreshments instead of a buffet
    • Increasing access to handwashing stations
    • Promoting personal protective practices (hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, staying home if ill)
    • Offering virtual or live-streamed activities
    • Ensuring physical distancing of 2 metres (6-feet) as much as possible, including arranging seating in advance to appropriately space household groups.
    • Changing the event program to reduce high risk activities such as those that require physical contact between participants.
  • These resources offer further guidance to assess risks and take steps to reduce spread of illness at events:
Attendees
  • Avoid events/gatherings if you are sick. Stay home, except to get medical care. Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed.
  • Use precautions if attending a large event. Wash hands frequently with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand sanitizer). Cover cough/sneeze. Keep a two-metre (6-foot) distance from others as much as possible. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
  • Remember, the more people you come in contact with… the greater the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

COVID-19 and Daycares

Licensed child care centres are now open and operating at full capacity, but under strict protective measures due to COVID-19.

Child care providers must do the following:

  • Ensure child care staff wear masks at all times
  • Conduct frequent and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the facility
  • Carry out daily COVID-19 screening of children, staff and visitors before they can enter a childcare facility
  • Maintain attendance records to allow for COVID-19 contact tracing and coordination if needed
  • Encourage frequent hand washing and proper hand hygiene for children and staff
  • Follow clear and rigid case management protocols should a staff member or child become ill or test positive for COVID-19.

The Health Unit is working with local licensed child care centres to ensure they follow proper protocols to protect the safety of children, families and staff during the pandemic. If you have questions or concerns, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

Additional Resources

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