COVID-19 and Schools

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

The State of Emergency has the following impact on schools in Ontario:

  • As of Jan. 25, the Ontario Ministry of Education has announced in-person learning will resume at all elementary and secondary schools in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Teacher-led remote learning continues until then.
  • With in-person learning resuming in local schools, new COVID-19 health and safety measures will also take effect. These measures include:
    • Mandatory masking now applies for all students in Grades 1 to 12. Mask use also applies to before- and after-school programs, as well as on school vehicles (like buses). Students in Junior and Senior Kindergarten are also encouraged to wear masks.
    • Mandatory masking outdoors where physical distancing can’t be maintained.
    • On-site confirmation of daily COVID-19 self-screening, starting Jan. 25 for all elementary and secondary staff, and effective Feb. 10, for all secondary students.

Since last fall, schools have been running with additional preventive measures in place to protect against COVID-19. The Health Unit continues to work closely with local school boards and other public health units to ensure a safe return for all students, staff and families.

On This Page

For School Board Staff

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

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

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

Guidance documents and resources:

Local School Board Resources

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


Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who will declare an outbreak at the school?

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

Examples of reasonably having acquired infection in school include:

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

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

Are masks now mandatory for all students?

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

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


Additional Resources

Click on the following for additional support:


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

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

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

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For Students

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

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

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
  • As of Jan. 13, 2021, a second State of Emergency is in effect in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. This includes a stay-at-home order. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.
  • The Ontario government is now recommending that masks or face coverings be worn outside when 2-metres physical distancing is not possible.
  • During the provincial state of emergency, Ontario’s colour-coded COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused. The entire HKPR District Health Unit region (which includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) is covered by this shutdown. Maximum public health measures, widespread closures and revised ways of doing business will now be in effect. People are also encouraged to stay home as much as possible during the shutdown. 
  • As of Jan. 25, the Ontario Ministry of Education has announced in-person learning will resume at all elementary and secondary schools in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Teacher-led remote learning continues until then. With in-person learning resuming in local schools, new COVID-19 health and safety measures will also take effect. These measures include:
    • Masks and face coverings must now be worn by Grades 1-3 students when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Requirements are also in place for mask use outdoors.
    • Enhanced screening protocols
    • Expanded targeted testing
  • The Province has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Taskforce to plan logistics for mass vaccination across Ontario when COVID-19 vaccines are available.
  • The Province is offering free and voluntary COVID-19 testing for international travellers arriving and staying in the province for at least 14 days. The tests will be available at Pearson Airport in Toronto.
  • 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.

Federal Orders 

Provincial COVID-19 State of Emergency

Current Situation

On Jan. 12, 2021, the provincial government announced a second State of Emergency is in effect in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials.

These measures are in effect for the time-being. The Province will monitor key public health indicators around COVID-19 to determine whether or not to extend the emergency. Read on for further details.


On This Page:


Key Highlights

In response to rising COVID-19 cases locally and across Ontario, the Province is declaring a State of Emergency. Strict measures are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the impact on hospitals, long-term care homes and other health care services. Failure to follow these restrictions could lead to tickets or fines.

Stay-at-Home Order

This order takes effect on Jan. 14, 2021. It requires everyone to stay at home, with the goal of reducing people’s mobility and contact with others outside their household in order to cut rising COVID-19 rates in Ontario. Do not gather with anyone outside your immediate household and only leave your home for:

  • Groceries, medicine and other essentials
  • Accessing health care services
  • Assisting others
  • Exercise (including walking the dog)
  • Essential work. NOTE: Businesses and organizations must ensure that any employee who can work from home does work from home.
  • School and child care.
  • Getting items and services needed for the health and safety of animals.
  • Gathering for a wedding, funeral, or religious service.
  • Other exemptions as outlined in the Stay-at-Home regulation (O.Reg.11/21).

NOTE: Anyone who lives alone will still be able to spend time (have close contact) with one other household to reduce the impacts of isolation.

Anyone not complying with the stay-at-home order could face fine or prosecution.

If you must leave your home to go out for essentials, ensure you follow all public health measures such as: staying 2 metres apart from others and wearing masks/face coverings (ensuring they cover your nose, mouth and chin; scarves and bandanas are insufficient).

For more on the Stay-at-Home order, read these FAQs.

Other Public Health Restrictions
  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions. The old limit had been a maximum of 10 people.
  • Indoor gatherings are not allowed at this time, except with people in your immediate household (the exception is for an indoor funeral, religious service or wedding, where up to 10 people are allowed provides public health measures are followed).
  • Individuals MUST wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open for shopping (with limited exceptions for age and medical reasons).
  • NEW: Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres. 
Business Openings/Closures
  • Most non-essential retail stores can continue to be open for curbside pickup or delivery. However, these non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, can only be open from 7 am to 8 pm.
  • Restricted hours of operation do not apply to grocery stores (including other retailers that primarily sell food), pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery. These essential businesses can remain open for in-person shopping, but must continue to follow all public health control measures, including capacity limits (maximum of 50%) and ensuring customers wear masks/face coverings and practise physical distancing.
  • Discount retailers and big-box stores that sell groceries can open for in-person shopping, as well as curbside pickup and delivery. However, they MUST ensure customers stay at least two metres apart and limit themselves to a maximum 25% capacity.
  • Restaurants/bars can remain open for takeout, drive-through and delivery. No indoor dining is allowed.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
  • All gyms, fitness clubs and recreational facilities remain closed.
  • Outdoor recreational amenities such as ice rinks, parks, playgrounds, tobogganing hills, trails (including for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing) and basketball courts can stay open, provided users follow all public health guidelines (e.g. physical distancing, capacity limits).
  • Ski hills remain closed.
  • All concert venues, theatres and cinemas are closed, including for drive-in or drive-through events.
  • Public libraries can open for contactless curbside, delivery and pickup.
  • Museums and cultural amenities remain closed.
  • Businesses must have COVID-19 safety plans in place and make them available upon request. This sample COVID-19 Safety Plan for Community Partners, Businesses and Service Providers may be of use.
  • All businesses or places that are open must do frequent cleaning and disinfecting to ensure areas open to the public are kept in sanitary conditions.
  • Workplaces must do COVID-19 screening for any workers or essential visitors entering the work premises. The screening tool should ask if staff or visitors have any COVID-19 symptoms. This screening tool could be done electronically or using a paper-based resource like the sample provided here. The Ministry of Health also has an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Employees and an online COVID-19 Screening Tool for Customers that may be of use.
Religious Services, Weddings and Funerals
  • No more than 10 people are allowed inside (or outside) for weddings, funerals and other religious services
  • For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending MUST ensure physical distancing, wear masks or face coverings that cover their nose, mouth and chin, and follow proper health and safety rules.
  • Virtual services are permitted, and encouraged especially due to Stay-at-Home order.
  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are permitted, subject to certain conditions.
Schools and Child Care Centres
  • As of Jan. 25, the Ontario Ministry of Education has announced in-person learning will resume at all elementary and secondary schools in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Teacher-led remote learning continues until then.
  • With in-person learning resuming in local schools, new COVID-19 health and safety measures will also take effect. These measures include:
    • Masks and face coverings must now be worn by Grades 1-3 students when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Requirements are also in place for mask use outdoors.
    • Enhanced screening protocols
    • Expanded targeted testing
  • Child care centres for non-school aged children will remain open.
Increased Enforcement
  • Increased education and enforcement checks/inspections for workplaces will be carried out by Ministry of Labour inspectors to ensure compliance with all COVID-19 safety rules
  • The Province is giving increased enforcement powers to the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, municipal bylaw officers, and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not obey the stay-at-home-order or do not wear a mask or face covering indoors. Businesses and companies could also be penalized for failing to follow the rules/orders.
  • Anyone who does not obey the new emergency orders could face a ticket, fine or prosecution under the Reopening Ontario Act or the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to key questions about Ontario’s State of Emergency and Stay-at-Home order:

Why is the Province issuing a stay-at-home order while also permitting curbside pickup at stores?

This question assumes every person in Ontario has easy access to online shopping or that there is a big-box retailer in their community. This isn’t the case for many Ontarians who live in rural and remote areas.

Over the past year, we’ve learned a lot responding to this pandemic, including the fact that what may be essential to someone in a small community and how they buy that item may not be essential to someone in downtown Toronto, who can easily buy items online for delivery. The Government of Ontario determining what retailers may be considered essential risks cutting off many Ontarians who don’t live in Toronto or an urban centre from access to necessary goods.

What is an essential item?

The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. Legally defining what is essential risks cutting people off from goods that may legitimately be necessary for their health, well-being and safety.

What is an essential trip?

The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations. That said, we have provided broad categories that people should consider before leaving home: food; health-care services, including medication; exercise; or work (where someone’s job cannot be done at home).

What is essential work?

The Stay-at-Home order does not define what work or jobs are essential. Rather, it now mandates that anyone who can work from home must now do so. For example, someone working in retail obviously can’t do their job from home and would be permitted to go to work.

Why hasn’t the Province defined who can or should work from home?

The Government of Ontario cannot review tens of millions of job descriptions to determine who can work from home. As such, it is relying on the best judgment and common sense of employers to determine who can do so.

At this time, if your workplace is permitted to be open and you are unable to work from home, you can leave home for work so long as your presence is required in the workplace. The Ontario government mandates that if you are able to work from home, you must.

If you believe you should be working from home, contact the Ministry of Labour to file a health and safety complaint.

Why can people still gather in groups of five outdoors?

The outdoor gathering limit of five is in recognition of the fact that some people live alone and may require the company or support of others for their mental and physical well-being. Anyone gathering outside is expected to adhere to physical distancing measures and are now strongly urged to wear a mask.

Does the five-person limit on outdoor gatherings apply to members of the same household?

No. Families living in the same home with five or more people are not covered by this rule. The limit only applies to outdoor gatherings of 5+ people who are not part of the same household.

Can people leave home to exercise? Can I go to my local playground, ice rink, trail or basketball court?

Yes, exercise is considered an essential reason for leaving your home. What that means will be unique to each individual person: some may wish to go for a walk around the block, while others may wish to go to a local basketball court with their household to shoot some hopes.

Under current regulations, outdoor recreational amenities are allowed to open. This includes parks, playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks, Frisbee golf locations, ice rinks, tobogganing hills, trails for snowmobiles/cross country skiing/snowshoeing dogsledding and others. Anyone using these outdoor amenities must maintain 2 metres physical distance from others. No team sports can be practised or played in these venues.

Please check further with your local municipality to understand what recreational amenities are open in their community. Watch for posted signs that may give further direction on use.

Can I go ice-fishing?

Yes, ice fishing is allowed. Rentals of ice huts is also permitted. Huts should be large enough to allow for physical distancing. Anyone renting huts should be screened for COVID-19 beforehand and provide contact information (in case contact tracing is needed). Ice huts can only be used by members of a single household, and cannot be used overnight.

Any rental equipment such as fishing rods should be cleaned and disinfected between uses. The maximum outdoor gathering limit is five people.

Is it OK to go skating outdoors?

Outdoor skating is allowed:

  • Stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from anyone outside your household
  • It’s now recommended to wear a mask/face covering when outdoors.
  • Wear proper-fitting helmet
  • Do not share equipment
  • Follow posted rules at municipal ice rinks, including directions on capacity limits.
  • For home or backyard rinks, limit skaters to members of your immediate family.

Can someone living alone still join up with another household?

Yes, they can exclusively join one other household. This is to support their mental health and well-being, as well as to ensure those requiring support continue to have access to essential caregivers.

Can I drop off my child to a grandparent for care?

Yes. Under the regulation, people can leave home to attend, obtain or provide child care. This can include dropping off a child at a grandparent or similar relative.

Can I leave home to care for an older family member, such as a parent or grandparent?

Yes. In this circumstance, you would be allowed to provide care or support.

Is there a time limit for how long people can leave their homes?

No. That said, we’re asking Ontarians to use their best judgment when leaving their home for essential reasons. They should limit the number of stores they go to and spend as little time outside their home as possible.

Is there a limit on the number of times someone can leave their home in a day?

No. That said, we’re asking Ontarians to use their best judgment when leaving their home for essential reasons. They should limit the number of stores they go to and spend as little time outside their home as possible.

Can people travel to their cottages or secondary residences?

Right now, we are asking people to stay home and only leave their home for essential purposes, which could include emergency maintenance at a secondary residence. In the spirit of the Stay-at-Home order, we are not recommending inter-provincial travel.

Can places of worship be open during the State of Emergency?

Yes. Religious services, weddings and funerals are still allowed — with restrictions. Click here for more details.

What should I do if I have been in contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19?

Public health reaches out to anyone who is considered a high-risk contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Public health staff will give you direction on what to do next.

If you are reporting a potential exposure, stay at home to isolate and monitor for symptoms. The Health Unit recommends you go for testing at least 5-7 days after your last exposure, or sooner if COVID-19 symptoms develop. For further guidance, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577m ext. 5020.


Additional Resources

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



Winter Activities and COVID-19

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Exercise is one of the reasons people can go out. If you are taking part in outdoor activities, try to find trails or rinks near your home and follow all public health measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

On This Page
In General
  • Do not go out if you are feeling sick. Stay home instead and use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Assessment Tool for further direction.
  • Stay close to home by accessing nearby trails, hills and parks . Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Follow COVID-19 guidelines, especially practising physical distancing.
  • NEW: Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres from others outside your household. 
  • If possible, only do outdoor activities with people in your immediate family/household. If you are out with others, ensure you stay 2 metres apart.
  • The new limit on outdoor gatherings is no more than five people.
  • Obey any municipal gathering limits that may be in place at the hill, rink or trail that you use. It’s always important to keep apart from others outside your immediate household.
  • Wear appropriate helmets and safety gear.
  • Dress in layers to stay warm. Layer up based on the current weather conditions.
  • Download the free ParticipACTION app to access resources/suggestions on how to be active in the winter months.
Outdoor Skating
  • Follow all COVID-19 guidelines and directions when using a municipally-run outdoor skating rink. For municipalities, the following COVID-19 Guidance for Outdoor Ice Surface/Rinks and Outdoor Skating Trails is provided for your use.
  • For your own outdoor rink:
    • During the state of emergency, only allow members of your immediate family/household to use it.
    • Wear proper-fitting helmets when skating. Do not share equipment.
Tobogganing
  • Tobogganing is allowed, but only in areas and on hills where it is permitted. Avoid doing any risky manoeuvres such as sliding down the hill head-first.
  • Only toboggan with those in your immediate family or household.
  • Ensure you practise physical distancing at the tobogganing hill by staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others (excluding those in your own household)
  • If the tobogganing hill is too busy to maintain physical distancing, come back at another time when there are less people there.
Skiing
  • Cross-country skiing is allowed on designated trails. It’s best to only cross-country ski with people in your own immediate family or household. Try to pick trails close to your home.
  • Ensure you stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others outside your immediate household.
  • Wear proper helmet and safety gear.
  • Do not linger or socialize in parking lots.
  • Under the provincial COVID-19 shutdown, ski hills are closed.
Snowmobiling
  • Do NOT travel to places outside your region. Only use designated and available snowmobiling trails in your area. Visit the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) website for more trail information and openings.
  • Wear proper helmet and safety gear.
  • Ideally, only snowmobile with members of your immediate family/household.
  • If traveling in groups with people outside your household, practise physical distancing by staying at least 2 metres apart. Do not share food with each other and do not congregate on trails. Remember that the current limit on outdoor gatherings is only five people (failure to follow this could lead to fines).
  • Follow OFSC Ride Smart 2021 protocols to stay safe during COVID-19.
  • Plan ahead. Be aware that food may not be readily available during provincial COVID-19 shutdown. There may also be no places to warm up or use washrooms during your day.
Snowshoeing
  • Snowshoeing is allowed, but try sticking close to home. Go snowshoeing in your backyard or use parks/trails near your home.
  • Follow all COVID-19 guidelines that may be posted for trail use.
  • Limit snowshoeing with only those in your immediate family or household.
  • Practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others (except those in your immediate household)
Winter Trail Use
  • Follow guidelines for trail use.
  • Only use trails with people in your immediate family or household.
  • Do not gather in groups on the trail
  • Do not linger or socialize in parking lots
  • Maintain a 2-metre physical distance from other trail users.
Ice Fishing
  • Ice fishing is still allowed.
  • Rentals of ice huts is permitted. Ice huts should be large enough to allow for physical distancing.
  • Anyone renting ice huts needs to be screened for COVID-19 beforehand and provide contact information (in case contact tracing is needed).
  • Ice huts must only be used by members of a single household, and cannot be used overnight.
  • Any rental equipment (fishing rods) must be properly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • Maximum outdoor gathering limit is 5 people under the current State of Emergency. 
  • NEW: It’s now recommended that masks or face coverings be worn outdoors if you can’t maintain physical distancing.
Parks and Playgrounds
  • Stick to parks and playgrounds near your home.
  • While parks and playgrounds are allowed to open during the provincial COVID-19 state of emergency, please check with your local municipality to see if you can still access them.
  • Ensure you practise physical distancing by staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others (except those in your immediate household).

COVID-19 and Large Gatherings/Events

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

Under the State of Emergency, a Stay-at-Home order is also in effect. This means you cannot gather with anyone outside of your household to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please follow these measures and put off any large gatherings until further notice.

Places of Worship during COVID-19

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

During the State of Emergency:

  • Weddings, funerals and religious services are still allowed. A maximum of 10 people are allowed inside (or outside) for these types of services.
  • People can leave home to attend a wedding, funeral or religious service that follows all public health measures.
  • Anyone attending an indoor and outdoor ceremonies MUST ensure physical distancing, wear masks or face coverings that cover their nose, mouth and chin, and follow proper health and safety rules.
  • Virtual services are permitted, and encouraged especially due to Stay-at-Home order.
  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are permitted, subject to certain conditions.

On This Page:


Use of Non-Medical Masks Face Coverings During Religious Services

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

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

During the province-wide COVID-19 State of Emergency, a maximum of 10 people are currently allowed inside (or outside) for weddings, funerals and other religious service For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety rules.

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

Download and print resources below:

Reducing Harm When Using Drugs

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Resources  

Service Providers Working With Vulnerable Clients

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

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

General Tips

For Homeless Shelters and Service Providers 

For Food Banks/Food Program Providers 

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

Practise Physical Distancing: 

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

Practise Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 

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

Wear Masks/Face Coverings

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

Increasing Cleaning and Disinfecting

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

Food Distribution Considerations: 

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

Additional Resources

Download and print resources below:

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

Apartments and Multi-Unit Dwellings

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

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.

COVID-19 and Daycares

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

During the Province’s State of Emergency, all child care centres for non-school aged children will remain open. 


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

On This Page:


For Child Care Providers

Child care providers must follow various COVID-19 prevention measures to protect children in their care. These measures include:

  • Ensuring all child care staff and other adults wear medical masks and eye protection (i.e. face shields) at all times while inside the child care premises, including in hallways
  • Conducting frequent and thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the facility. Frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, water fountains, light switches, tabletops, electronics and toilet/faucet handles should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day as they are most likely to become contaminated.
  • Carrying out daily COVID-19 screening of children, staff and visitors before they can enter a childcare facility
  • Maintaining attendance records to allow for COVID-19 contact tracing and coordination if needed
  • Encouraging frequent hand washing and proper hand hygiene for children and staff
  • Following clear and rigid case management protocols should a staff member or child become ill or test positive for COVID-19.

For specifics on what is required, child care providers should consult the following resources:

Ontario Government

HKPR District Health Unit


For Parents

Return to Child Care Protocol for Children with COVID-19 Symptoms

Screening Your Child for COVID-19 Symptoms


Health Unit Support

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

Holidays, Family Gatherings and Celebrations

IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.

On This Page


Key Message: Stay Safe, Stay Home

While get-togethers with family and friends for special holidays or celebrations are not unusual, you are being asked to put these festivities on hold during the provincial State of Emergency. No matter where you live in Ontario, you must:

  • Avoid all unnecessary travel in and outside Ontario.
  • Avoid gatherings for holidays or special celebrations.
  • Only celebrate in-person with those in your immediate household. If you live alone, you can celebrate with one other household.
  • Celebrate virtually or connect by phone with other family and friends. Do not attend/organize big parties, large family dinners and similar-style festivities. These are not allowed under the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown.

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

Current Colour Code for Local COVID-19 Restrictions – On Pause as of Dec. 26

NEW – Provincial Shutdown to Start Dec. 26

As of 12:01 am on Saturday, Dec. 26, a province-wide lockdown will come into effect for all of Ontario to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The affected area includes the entire HKPR District Health Unit region (which includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes). Maximum public health measures, widespread closures and revised ways of doing business will now be in effect for the next 28 days. People are also encouraged to stay home as much as possible.

Provisions in the Yellow-Protect category will be put on pause during the province-wide shutdown, as the tougher provincial lockdown measures take effect. Click here for full details on the Province-Wide Shutdown.

Current COVID-19 Colour Code for HKPR Area – Yellow (to be paused as of Dec. 26, 2020)

As of 12:01 am on Monday, December 7, the HKPR District Health Unit region, which includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, will be moved into the Yellow-Protect category. This means strengthened measures are in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

Please consult the resources below or read further down this page for further details on how this affects you and your business. If you have further questions, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 ext. 5020, or email: covid19@hkpr.on.ca

Resources:


On This Page:


Ontario’s Colour-Coded COVID-19 Framework

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

5 colour framework for COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario

Watch this video to learn more from local Medical Officer of Health about the switch to Yellow-Prevent COVID-19 category.


What Stays Closed in Yellow-Protect Category:

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

  • Buffet-style food service
  • Oxygen bars
  • Camps that provide supervised overnight accommodation for children
  • Steam rooms, saunas and bathhouses
  • Amusement parks and waterparks
  • Night clubs (they can only open for purpose of serving food or beverages to patrons)
  • Dancing and table games (cards, etc.) are prohibited.

General Public Health Measures in Yellow-Protect Category (Gatherings, Workplace Requirements and Face Coverings)

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

  • Limit for social gatherings at private homes, backyards or parks is 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors (cannot be combined)
  • Gathering limits for organized public events in staffed businesses and facilities are 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. If an event is both outdoors and indoors, it falls under the 50-person limit.
  • Gathering limits at places of worship for religious service , weddings and funerals remains at 30% capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Schools and child care centres remain open.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained within establishments. Capacity limits are based on the ability of patrons to maintain at least 2-metres (6 feet) from others up to a maximum of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors (unless otherwise indicated for specific settings).
  • Patrons and staff must wear a mask or face covering when indoors in public areas that covers their nose, mouth and chin (unless exempted from regulation).
  • If staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than 2 metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth. At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection (NOTE: This is also a requirement of the Ministry of Labour).
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand rub when handwashing not available.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect common areas such as washrooms
  • Employees must be screened prior to entering the workplace. The screening tool should ask if staff have any COVID-19 symptoms. This screening tool could be done electronically or using a paper-based resource like the sample provided here. The Ministry of Health also has a COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces to use.
  • Music volumes must be lowered in establishments to allow for normal conversation to occur
  • Most businesses must have COVID-19 safety plans in place. A copy must be posted prominently and made available upon request.
  • Offer employees the option from working from home.
  • Use virtual gatherings or events to recognize occasions
  • For sector-specific requirements, please see the current Provincial legislation or scroll further down this page.

Sector-Specific Guidelines

Restaurants/Bars
  • Require patrons to be seated; 2-metre minimum between tables
  • Limit of six people can be seated together at one table
  • Restaurants/bars must be closed from 12 am to 5 am, except for: takeout/drive-through/delivery, providing access to washrooms and dine-in eating for staff
  • No alcohol can be sold or served after 11 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between midnight and 9 am
  • Dancing, singing and performing music is permitted, with restrictions
  • Karaoke permitted, with restrictions (including no private rooms)
  • Require contact information for all seated patrons
  • No buffet-style food services
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place and no one needs to shout
  • Night clubs only permitted to operate as a restaurant or bar
  • People lining up or congregating outside an establishment must stay at least 2 metres apart and wear a mask or face covering that covers their nose, mouth, and chin (unless exempted by regulation). Mask use and physical distancing also continue to apply inside these establishments.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking only.
  • If staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than 2 metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth. At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection
  • Limit the volume of music to a level that allows a normal conversation to occur
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required, and must be made available upon request

Sports/Recreational Facilities

  • Maintain 2 metre physical distancing, unless engaged in a sport or activity
  • Increase spacing between patrons to 3 metres in areas with weights or exercise equipment and in exercise/fitness classes
  • Capacity limits are adjusted to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors in fitness or exercise classes OR
  • Capacity limits apply on a per-room basis if operating in compliance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Maximum of 50 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment.
  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Teams or individual sports must be modified to avoid physical contact. Maximum of 50 people per league.
  • Exemptions are in place for high-performance athletes and parasports
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place, avoiding the need for instructors and participants having to shout at each other. Instructors are required to use microphone to avoid loud talking
  • Face coverings required, except when exercising.
  • Contact information for all people entering the facility is required.
  • Require reservation for entry; one reservation for teams
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required, and must be made available upon request
  • Continue to clean and disinfect equipment, as well as public washrooms, locker rooms, showers or similar amenities, as frequently as possible to maintain a sanitary condition.

Meeting and Event Spaces

  • Limit of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors (exception for court/government services)
  • Gathering limits for religious services, weddings and funerals remains at 30% capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Booking multiple rooms for the same event is not permitted
  • Maximum of 50 people indoors per room, where 2-metre physical distancing can be maintained if the venue operates with the approved plan from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Establishments must be closed from 12 am to 5 am. Liquor cannot be sold or served after 11 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between midnight and 9 am
  • Contact information required for all seated patrons
  • Limit of six people can be seated together
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place and no one needs to shout
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required, and must be made available upon request

Retail Settings

  • Fitting rooms must be limited to non-adjacent stalls
  • Line-ups and patrons congregating outside store must maintain a 2-metre distance and wear face coverings
  • Limit music volume so that a normal conversation can take place and no one needs to shout
  • For malls, a COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Personal Care Services

  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, and whirlpools closed
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be posted in a visible place and made available upon request.
  • Staff must continue to wear Personal Protective Equipment while providing services

Casinos, Bingo Halls and Gaming Establishments

  • Capacity cannot exceed 50 persons.
  • Table games are prohibited.
    OR
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and gaming establishments operate in accordance with a plan approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Liquor cannot be sold or served after 11 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between midnight and 9 am
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Cinemas/Movie Theatres

  • Limits in facility and area:
    • 50 indoors
    • 100 outdoors
      or
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times except when eating or drinking only
  • Drive-in cinemas permitted to operate, subject to restrictions
  • Liquor cannot be sold or served after 11 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between midnight and 9 am
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Performing Arts Centres

  • Maximum of 50 spectators indoors and 100 spectators outdoors with 2-metre
    physical distance maintained
  • Singers and players of wind or brass instruments must be separated from spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier
  • Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
  • Performers and employees must maintain 2-metre physical distance except for purposes of the performance
  • Drive in performances permitted.
  • Liquor cannot be sold or served after 11 pm
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed between midnight and 9 am
  • Contact information for all patrons is required
  • A COVID-19 safety plan is required and must be made available upon request

Additional Resources

Click on the following links for additional support:



Travellers and COVID-19


Travelling Abroad

NOTE: As of midnight on Jan. 7, the federal government is requiring that anyone five years of age and older (regardless of citizenship) flying into Canada MUST provide proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 to the airline prior to boarding a flight. The test must be conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada. Click here for full details.

All non-essential travel within and outside Canada is NOT recommended at this time.

If you have travelled abroad and are returning to Canada, you MUST immediately isolate or quarantine and stay home for 14 days. This time-period is when you’re still at risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms and infecting others. The mandatory isolation/quarantine measure was put in place by Canadian government through an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act.

These measures apply to all travelers arriving in Canada and are aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. The only exceptions are essential workers, including those who ensure the continue flow of goods and essential services across the border.

Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

Federal government staff will screen you upon your arrival in Canada and let you know if you need to quarantine or isolate.

Mandatory Quarantine

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

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

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

Mandatory Isolation

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


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.


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 (3-Layer) Cloth Mask Video – HKPR District Health Unit Video

Mask Use during COVID-19

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

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: The Ontario government is now 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 (PHAC) advises that putting on a homemade mask can help protect others around you if you’re ill with COVID-19 and do not yet know it. PHAC is also recommending that masks or face coverings should be made of at least three layers, including:

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

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

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

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

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

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