COVID-19 – Families

COVID-19 can be a stressful time for everyone. Be sure to protect the physical health and mental well-being of your family. During COVID-19, continue to frequently wash hands with soap and water, use respiratory etiquette and stay home as much as possible. If you do go out, encourage everyone – especially kids – to practise physical distancing at all times. Read on for more information and resources to stay safe.

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COVID-19 – Staying Active

Being active is a great way to engage children, while also supporting your physical and mental health during COVID-19. Getting outside is also more appealing now that the nicer weather is here. But whatever you do, stay safe! If you are self-isolating due to COVID-19, it’s essential to stay home and follow the advice of health care providers. If you are out and active, be sure to practise physical distancing and follow these additional tips.

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Buyer Beware: Garage Sales and Second-Hand Shopping During COVID-19

Does spring cleaning have you thinking about garage sales and getting rid of unwanted items? Think again.  

Garage/Yard Sales

The Health Unit strongly discourages you from organizing or attending garage sales and yard sales at this time due to COVID-19. Organizing these sales can increase your exposure to COVID-19 and lead to the spread of the virus in the community. Here’s why: 

  • Unlike in a store where health and safety measures are in place to protect staff and customers from COVID-19, a private sale does not need to take these precautions 
  • COVID-19 is spread through close contact with people. At garage sales, keeping a two-metre (six-foot) physical distance from others is difficult given that cash transactions are often required and the number of people who stop at the sale can grow unexpectedly.  
  • Many times, garage sale enthusiasts also visit multiple sale locations in the same day increasing the risk that COVID-19 can be spread 
  • The COVID-19 virus can survive on different surfaces for varying lengths of time. This means if someone touches or picks up items at a sale, they could be exposing themselves to illness  
  • While the Province’s COVID-19 emergency directives do not prohibit garage sales and yard sales, they do ban public gatherings of people. As of June 12, social gatherings of no more than 10 people are allowed.
  • While no municipal restrictions on garage sales are in place in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, some Ontario municipalities have approved bylaws to ban garage and yard sales entirely during the pandemic due to public health concerns. 

For all these reasons, do not hold garage sales or yard sales until further notice. Doing so will protect the health of you, your loved ones and the community.  

Second-Hand Items

Some online buy-and-sell groups have decided not to operate during COVID-19. For now, the Health Unit is also advising you to think twice about buying and selling second-hand items online. If you must, limit purchases to only essential items. 

Here are some more tips if you plan to buy second-hand essential items online during COVID-19: 

  • If you, or someone in your home has any symptoms of COVID-19 do not buy or sell any items.  Stay home and self isolate 
  • Stick to community-based online groups for buying and selling. Use groups or apps where it’s easier to confirm that people are who they say they are (such as linked to a personal profile of a social media account).  If in doubt, don’t engage 
  • If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for scams.  
  • Buy and sell with people that live in your community.  Avoid travel. 
  • Don’t provide your home address or visit anyone you do not know. If you do know the person, arrange for a curbside pickup or drop off. Never enter another person’s house or allow anyone to enter your home. 
  • Use digital payment services rather than cash.  
  • Drop off or pick up goods during the day and in a public location.  
  • Avoid all close contact. Practise physical distancing and stay metres (6 feet) away from others at all times.  
  • After purchasing an item, thoroughly clean and disinfect it. Avoid buying items that are difficult to clean. 
  • Don’t touch your face and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling items or cash. 

NOTE: Be aware that baby walkers, infant self-feeding devices and other items are banned products in Canada. There are also common second-hand items like car seats, cribs, helmets, playpens, strollers, children’s jewellery and kids’ sleepwear that must meet certain federal regulatory requirements before they can be bought or sold in Canada.  

Additional Resources

Community Gardens and COVID-19

Community gardens arenow allowed to open during COVID-19.

The Health Unit is offering recommendations to community gardens that operate in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes to protect the health and safety of everyone during COVID-19. Below are the minimum standards that all community gardens must have in place before opening. 

Use these standards as a starting point to begin planning and developing specific COVID-19 policies and protocols for your community garden. Be sure to communicate these plans to all garden members. You are also required to update information with the Health Unit. 

Entrance Restrictions/Requirements
  • Members of the public are not allowed into the gardens. Only garden members are allowed (NOTE: Please find a downloadable, printable ‘Closed’ sign to put up in your community garden)
  • Garden members cannot visit the garden if they show symptoms of COVID-19, are feeling sick from something they ate or drank, or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19
  • Post signs around the garden on COVID-19 symptoms, physical distancing, and handwashing. Policies and protocols relating to the coronavirus should also be put up at all entrances and throughout the garden
  • Events where large numbers of people gather such as flower festivals, children’s events, training, group builds etc. are not permitted
  • Use a ‘sign-in and sign-out system’ to track who is in the garden each day 
  • Update the list of current registered members, staff and volunteers involved in the community garden. Track those who have agreed to participate under COVID-19 policies and protocols
Physical Distancing
  • Only allow a maximum of five people to work in the community garden at any one time (For example, develop a schedule where plots are numbered, and odd/even numbered plots come on different days)
  • Maintain physical distancing when two or more gardeners are present. Keep at least two metres (six feet) apart from others
  • If people plan to wear homemade/personal masks in the garden, follow this Public Health Ontario fact sheet on how to properly wear and throw away mask.
  • Remember wearing rubber gloves out in public does not reduce the risk of COVID-19. Handwashing with soap/water or hand sanitizer and not touching your face offer more protection 
  • If gardeners choose to wear mask and rubber gloves, wash hands before putting on the mask/gloves and after taking them off
  • Masks and rubber gloves must be disposed of in a lined garbage bin only
Hand Hygiene/Handwashing
  • Provide handwashing or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with 60 to 90% alcohol content) stations
  • Encourage all gardeners to regularly wash/sanitize hands, especially before entering and after leaving the garden  
  • Gardeners should know that if their hands are visibly soiled, they must first wash them with soap and water or wipe them before applying alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Garden Equipment and Tools – Use and Cleaning Requirements
  • Ask garden members to bring their own tools, or assign select tools and tasks to individuals or smaller groups
  • Avoid sharing garden gloves. Gardeners should take their gloves home to wash after each use 
  • Use gardening techniques that reduce the need for frequent trips to the garden (For example: use mulch to reduce the need for watering/weeding, row covers to prevent pests, etc.)
  • Create and implement procedures to clean and disinfect all shared tools before and after garden work
  • Regularly clean gardening tools with soap and water to remove organic matter. First rinse off soap with water, then disinfect. Use either a mixture of 1 Tbsp. of household (5%) bleach and 1 litre of warm water (mix a fresh batch each day) with 10 minutes contact time OR commercial Lysol or Clorox disinfectant with contact time indicated on label for disinfecting
  • Ensure regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, padlocks, water spigots, gates handle, railings etc.
  • When bringing home garden produce, wash any vegetables and fruit under clean running water (not soapy water) before eating 
Notifying the Health Unit

You must notify the Health Unit of your plans to operate a community garden this coming growing season. Contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, or inspections@hkpr.on.ca to provide the following information:

  • Name and location of your community garden
  • Whether there are plans to open the community garden this year
  • Confirmation that you have received the Health Unit’s Checklist for Community Gardens and the Ontario’s Ministry of Health’s guidance document for operating a community garden 
  • Agreement that you will follow these directions open your garden  
Additional Resources

Food Access and Community Supports During COVID-19

Grocery Stores 

Many local grocery stores offer: 

  • Online or phone orders for contactless pick-up or delivery 
  • Special shopping hours for seniors and others at higher risk of COVID-19. 

You’re encouraged to contact your local store to determine hours, supports and services available to make shopping safer and convenient during COVID-19. 


Food Banks and Meal Options

Contact the food banks/community groups directly for more information:  

Northumberland County
  • Alderville Community Food Bank – Call: 905-352-2140 
  • Bewdley Community Works, More than a Food Bank – Call in advance: 905-797-2535 ext. 22, leave message 
  • Brighton Fare Share Food Bank – Call 613-242-4054 or 613-475-0691 
  • Campbellford Fare Share Food Bank – Call: 705 653-1930 
  • Cobourg Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank – Call 905-372-5308 
  • Cobourg Salvation Army Emergency Food Assistance – Contact905-373-9440 or text 905-375-7862 (*Note: Home Food Box Delivery Program available for residents of Cobourg, Port Hope and beyond who needs food and cannot physically come to the food bank) 
  • Cobourg Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Call: 905-373-9391  
  • Colborne Blessing Cupboard, Prospect Community Church – Call: 905-355-1578 or 905-207-0059 
  • Port Hope Salvation Army Community and Family Services – Contact 905-885-2323 or saporthope@gmail.com or text: 289-251-5758 (*By appointment only) 
  • Grafton Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Call: 905-377-3263 
  • Hastings and Roseneath Ministerial Food Bank, Hastings Trinity United Church – Call: 705-696-2780 or 705-696-1105 
  • Port Hope Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank, Port Hope United Church – Call: 905-885-6674 
  • Port Hope Community Health Centre of Northumberland – Food Cupboard – Call: 905-885-2626, ext. 212 (*By appointment only) 
  • Port Hope Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Call: 905-373-2940  
  • Warkworth 7 Hills Community Pantry, St. Paul’s United Church – Call: 705-924-2077 
Kawartha Lakes
  • Bethany/ Pontypool Daily Food Bank – Call: 705-277-2204 
  • Bobcaygeon Helps Food Bank – Contact: 705-928-8104 or 705-341-1184 (Lion’s Centre) or bobcaygeonfoodbank@gmail.com  
  • Coboconk Food Bank – Call: 705-344-4807 
  • Dunsford Community Food Bank – Call: 705-957-0989 
  • Fenelon Falls Salvation Army – Contact: 705-887-1408 or fenfallssalarmy@bellnet.ca 
  • Fowlers Corners and District Lions Club – Contact: 705-743-0325 or fcdlionsclub@gmail.com (*Note: serves Lindsay and Omemee) 
  • Frost Student Association (FSA) Food Bank – Call: 705-324-9144 ext. 3047 
  • Janetville Food Bank – Call: 705-324-4006 
  • Kawartha Lakes Centre of Hope – Contact: 705-324-7613 or lakeskawartha0@gmail.com   
  • Kawartha Lakes Food Source – Call: 705-324-0707 
  • Kinmount and area Food Bank – Contact: 705-455-3060 or kinmountfoodbank@gmail.com 
  • Lindsay Community Food Market – Contact: 705-212-9984 or lindsaycommunityfoodmarket@gmail.com 
  • Lindsay Salvation Army – Call: 705-878-5331, ext. 2 
  • Little Britain/ Mariposa Food Bank – Call: 705-340-8510  
  • Minden Food Bank – Contact: 705-286-6838 or 705-286-2990 or mindencommunityfoodbank@bellnet.ca (*Note: also serves Kinmount, Bobcaygeon and Norland 
  • Omemee Food Bank – Call: 705-799-6847  
  • Woodville Eldon Food Bank – Call: 705-879-6029 

Kawatha Lakes Meal Options 

Haliburton County
  • Cardiff Food Bank – Call: 613-334-0803 or 613-339-2704 
  • Haliburton 4Cs Food Bank – Call: 705-457-3010 
  • Highlands East Food Hub – Call: 705-448-9711 or 705-935-1956 
  • Kinmount Food Bank – Call: 705-455-3060 
  • Minden Community Food Centre – Call: 705-286-6838 
  • SIRCH Community Services – Contact: 705-457-1742 or 1-888-405-5555 or info@sirch.on.ca (*Free frozen meal pick-ups available on weekends) 

Errands Pickups and Companion Check-in Services 
Northumberland County 

For Errands:  

For Social Connection Companion Check-in: 

Kawartha Lakes 

For Errands:  

For Social Connection Companion Check-in: 

  • Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes – Offers ‘reassurance calls’ program for seniors and those with developmental challenges. Calls: 705-324-7323 or -800-461-0327, ext. 231 
  • EarlyON Centres Kawartha Lakes – Offers friendly check-in calls. To register, contact: 705-324-7900 or admin@oeyc.ca. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to noon, speak to a staff person about any questions/concerns about children ages 0-6 years. You can also follow: www.facebook.com/oeyc.haliburtonvictoriabrock  
Haliburton County 

For Errands and Social Companion Check-in:  

Home Gardening and COVID-19

Want to learn a new hobby while practising physical distancing? Home gardening is great for keeping distance and a rewarding pastime for you to do while at home during COVID-19. 

There are many benefits to gardening. You can:  

  • Get outside and be active   
  • Enjoy a fun, family-friendly activity 
  • Find a sense of purpose 
  • Grow your own fresh, nutritious food meaning fewer trips to the store 
  • Reduce consumer demand on food resources  
  • Support your mental health during an uncertain time. 

Like any new hobby or project, knowing where to start can be a challenge. But by giving it a try, you may find a life-long hobby that benefits both mind and body and helps you be more self-sufficient.  

How to Start: 

  • Research how to start a garden. This Better Homes and Gardens article on Vegetable Gardening for Beginners offers pointers.   
  • Re-purpose yogurt cups, milk cartons or paper cups as containers to start your seeds 
  • Connect with your local nursery or garden centre for advice and options, including online ordering and curbside pickup 
  • Join an online gardening group to connect with others 
  • Choose seeds or transplants that are easy to grow and fast to harvest (like carrots, green beans, leafy greens, radishes, cucumbers, summer squash, and herbs) 
  • Plant flowers in or around your garden, including ones that benefit bees and other pollinators 
  • If you have limited space around your home, try container gardening. This Quick Guide to Container Gardening from Gardening Know How can help you  get started 
  • Keep organics like shredded leaves and grass clippings and use as mulch to help limit weed growth in your garden.  

To Consider:

Additional Resources 

Sharing Custody of Children During COVID-19

Co-parenting – or sharing custody of children with your former partner – can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone during COVID-19. Worries about increased exposure risk to the virus in one home or whether proper precautions are being taken by your former partner can weigh on your mind. 

A recent Ontario Superior Court decision offers some guidance on how to approach shared custody during a pandemic. According to the court: 

  • Existing parenting arrangements and schedules should continue with modifications to ensure COVID-19 precautions, such as physical distancing, are being followed
  • In some cases, parents may have to give up their time with a child if they have to self-isolate because they’ve become ill, they’ve travelled abroad, or they’ve been exposed to someone with the illness
  • There is zero tolerance in the eyes of the court for any parent who recklessly exposes a child (or members of the child’s household) to any COVID-19 risk.
  • Due to COVID-19, changes may need to be made to transportation, exchange locations, or any terms of supervision

For the sake of the child, all parties must find ways to maintain important parental relationships. But above all, everyone needs to find ways to do it safely. 

Caring for Your Pet During COVID-19

Pets can support your happiness and well-being, especially in stressful times like COVID-19. If you are feeling well and not self-isolating due to COVID-19, walking your dog or spending time with your pet can keep you both healthy. Just remember to follow physical distancing rules when out in public by staying at least two-metres apart from others. 

Veterinary Care During COVID-19  

The Province is letting all veterinary services to resume on an appointment basis. It’s best to call your vet first to see what services are available before you visit. Do not see your vet if you are currently ill.  

Don’t have a vet and require care for your animal? Use the CVO’s Find a Veterinarian Search Tool.  

Other Animal Services

As of May 19, the Province is also allowing services for animals and pets to resume. This includes pet care services like grooming, pet sitting, and pet training services. You are encouraged to call your pet care provider first for specific information. Please be sure to take precautions by practising physical distancing and other preventive measures as well.

Effective May 16, 2020, businesses that board animals (e.g., stables) can allow allow boarders to visit, care for, or ride their animal.

Can Pets Get or Spread COVID-19?  

According to the World Organisation for Animal Healththere is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 in any way to people. However, there have been limited reports of animals becoming infected with COVID-19. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommends individuals with COVID-19 symptoms, or those self-isolating due to contact with a COVID-19 case, should take similar precautions around animals as they would around people. These steps include:  

  • Avoiding close contact with animals during your illness. Do not snuggle, kiss or let them lick you 
  • Practising good handwashing and avoiding coughing and sneezing on your animals 
  • Not visiting farms or coming in contact with livestock 
  • If possible, getting other members of your household to care for your animals. If this is not possible, be sure to: 
  • Always wash your hands before and after touching animals, their food and supplies 
  • Limit your animal’s contact with other people and animals outside your home until your illness clears up 

Additional Resources 

How to Care for Pets and Other Animals – Public Health Ontario  

Ontario Veterinary Medical Association 

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association  

Preventing Family Violence During COVID-19

Domestic Violence

While physical distancing, self-isolation and staying home are important messages during COVID-19, homes are not always safe places to be. For women and children living at risk of domestic violence, the coronavirus is creating further barriers to accessing help. 

What You Can Do 
  • Stay in touch with neighbours or friends who you know, or suspect may be at risk of domestic violence. Social media chat functions or texting are another, easier way to maintain contact 
  • Learn about community supports that you can access, or refer others to, in the event domestic violence takes place  
  • In an emergency, contact 911 
Community Supports 

City of Kawartha Lakes 

Outreach Services and Family Court Support Services – These are offered through a virtual response. Outreach counsellors are available to provide support to current and new referrals. Call: 705-878-4285  

Northumberland County 

Haliburton County 

  • YWCA Peterborough Haliburton – YWCA’s 24-Hour Support and Crisis Line is available and answered by skilled, empathetic staff. Call: (705) 991-0110. 
Additional Resources 
  • Assaulted Women’s Helpline – 24/7 crisis counselling and referrals to shelters, legal advice and other help in over 200 different languages, including 17 Indigenous languages. Toll free (Ontario) 1-866-863-0511, 1-866-863-7868 TTY. Mobile (Fido, Rogers, Bell, Telus) #SAFE (#7233). 
  • Legal Aid Ontario – Toll-free number remains open to provide assistance during COVID-19. Call: 1-800-668-8258 

Child Abuse and Neglect

Financial stress, school and daycare closures and social isolation are all putting extra pressure on families. This in turn, could increase the risk of neglect and physical, emotional, sexual abuse for children.  

Children who had support from teachers or other adults in their daycare/school community may now find themselves cut off from help. 

How You Can Help: 
  • Report suspected child abuse to your local Children’s Aid Society (hyperlink to section below) 
  • Stay connected with the children and teens in your life. Text, call and let them know you care about them 
It’s the Law:  

In Ontario, everyone (including members of the public and professionals who work closely with children)  is required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. If you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection, you must report it to a Children’s Aid Society (CAS).  

Contact your local CAS: 

Keep Prevention in Mind, When Active Outdoors

With the nicer weather here, it’s normal to want to get outdoors enjoying the nicer weather. But given the current COVID-19 situation, you also need to keep public health measures in mind every step of the way to slow the spread of the virus.

Self-Isolating 
  • You must stay home if you are self-isolating for 14 days because you recently returned to Canada, have COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 

Physical Distancing
  • Enjoy the sunny days of spring, but practise physical distancing. By doing so, you can get the mental health benefits of being outdoors and enjoy being active with your family – all while staying close to home.
  • If not self-isolating, you can go outside but avoid crowds and maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) from others. Be sure to step aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks.  

Activities to Try

(Many sports fields, playgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities are still closed. As of June 12, outdoor splash pads, wading pools and swimming pools are being allowed to reopen. Tennis courts can also be used. Check with your local community to see what is accessible, and if you go out, continue to take precautions at all times)

  • Rake your garden and lawn. Consider helping a neighbour in self-isolation by taking care of their yard work.
  • Bike rides, walks, runs or even rollerblading as a family are great ways to be active and maintain physical distance from others. If your route or trail is busy with other people, change course and look for new areas to explore. Be sure to wear the proper protective equipment to reduce the chance of injury.
  • Be creative on a walk or make it more fun. Bring binoculars to watch birds or take a list for a scavenger hunt along the route.
  • If you have a backyard, the possibilities are endless. Try a backyard game of soccer, catch, badminton or try a skipping competition to get the heart pumping. Unstructured play can also be fun.  
  • Use chalk and a ball or beanbag to turn your driveway, sidewalk or empty parking lot into a game of hopscotch or four-square.
  • For more activity ideas, visit:

Questions to Ask to Ensure Activities Are Responsible
  • Will I come within two metres of people outside of my family?
  • Does this activity put me at risk for potential injury (especially when local health care resources are already stretched)?
  • Will this activity put me in close contact with people more at risk of COVID-19, like older adults and people with compromised immune system?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, find something else to do.


Cycling Tips
  • If self-isolating, do not ride a bike
  • Wear a proper helmet
  • Stick to riding with family members. Group rides or social rides with friends are not advised
  • Practise physical distancing. Keep two metres (six-feet) apart from others. That’s roughly the length of a bike
  • Before going out riding and upon your return home, wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face, especially if you are trying to adjust your helmet
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (E.g., bicycle handlebars, brake levers and gear shifters)

Tips for Planning a Drive During COVID-19 

As the weather improves, going for a drive seems like the perfect COVID-19 outing. Cars allow you to maintain physical distancing while getting out of the house. But remember that anytime you leave your vehicle, you increase your risk of spreading COVID-19, so take precautions. 

  • Stay close to home. Travel should be limited to essential trips only. 
  • If going out for a drive, take what you need with you so that you don’t need to make any unnecessary stops.   
  • Pack supplies such as hand sanitizer and cloth face masks. Use them as needed. 
  • Plan ahead. 
  • If you have a destination in mind, call ahead and find out what is open and closed.  
  • Finding public washrooms that are open may be a challenge. Don’t assume that restaurants or public parks will have washrooms open for you to use. Keep this in mind if planning a trip. Stay close enough to home so you do not need to use public washrooms or do research in advance to confirm the availability of public washroom where you’re heading.  
  • Avoid crowds and any situation where physical distancing will be a challenge.  
  • If you leave the car, stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others  

Additional Resources:

Holiday, Celebrations and Special Events

Getting together with family, friends and other to celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions is common. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, it’s not business as usual and large gatherings can do more harm than good.

Currently, everyone must follow Ontario’s order that forbids large gatherings of people. As of June 12, social gatherings are limited to more than 10 people. Also as of June 12, places of worship are being allowed to reopen, but with strict restrictions.

Being limited to seeing loved ones during birthday, holiday or other special event is difficult. Keeping up your emotional and mental well-being is important during these difficult times, and support is available to help

What You Can Do

  • Take advantage of technology. Hold a virtual party using an online platform. You can see and hear each other… and even sing a celebratory song!
  • Send a gift to someone celebrating a special milestone, or order a take-out meal from a local restaurant that can be delivered to their doorstep.
  • Connect with loved ones, friends, and vulnerable members of the community online or by phone. This can help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.
  • If you are a place of worship, consider these ideas to connect with your members too.
  • If you plan a special meal for someone in your household, and need to get groceries for it, consider the following:
    • Shop only one day per week and buy only what you need for up to two weeks
    • Respect store hours dedicated to seniors, vulnerable persons, and essential service workers (normally the first hour stores are open)
    • Have a list of items, shop efficiently, and do not casually browse
    • Do not touch food or products you’re not intending to buy
    • If possible, pay with a card or phone tap rather than cash
  • Get into the spirit of the birthday, holiday or other special event. Instead of gift-giving, donate to a local food bank or help a neighbour who cannot get out (like an older adult) with grocery shopping or yardwork
  • Be aware that more people are now allowed to attend wedding or funeral services. For indoor ceremonies, the number of people allowed to attend a funeral or wedding can now be a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue. Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice. The number of people allowed to attend receptions afterwards remains at a maximum of 10 people. Please plan accordingly if you are attending any of these functions.
  • Avoid non-essential travel, including for holidays. Such travel to and from Canada is currently banned. Anyone who does enter the country, including Canadians returning from travel, is required by law to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Multi-Unit Dwellings/Apartment Buildings

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.
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 (to five or less) gathering in shared spaces, and move furnishings like chairs further apart to create more space. Please note: the Ontario government is currently banning public gatherings of more than five people.
  • All playgrounds and outdoor play structures are currently shut down by order of the Ontario government. Put up signs reinforcing this closure message. Access to shared outdoor space should also be limited and physical distancing enforced. 
  • 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 14 days 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 for 14 days 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. 
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Prevention poster for tenants
Prevention for Tenants

Prevention for Tenants
Poster

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

Prevention in the Community
Poster

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

Attention Visitors
Posters

Making the Most of Food During COVID-19

The current COVID-19 situation is creating many challenges, especially knowing what to do about food. The need to practise physical distancing while shopping is essential, but a visit to the grocery store can also lead to additional problems due to empty shelves and limited food selection. Knowing how to make the most of the food you buy and have at home is important so try these tips: 

Storing/Using Food at Home
  • Properly store vegetables and fruits to help them last longer. For example, root vegetables prefer cool, dark places, while apples are best kept in the fridge crisper. Click on the resources below to learn more:  
  • Use food scraps in other recipes. For example: 
    • Bones from meat can be used to make a soup stock 
    • Limp/ wilted vegetables can be put into soups  
    • Stale bread could be made into breadcrumbs or it could be microwaved and turned into croutons
    • Bake potato peels with a little bit of oil and seasoning and turn them into a snack
  • See beans and pulses in a new light, with these ideas:
    • Toss chickpeas, beans and or lentils with any vinaigrette for an easy protein-packed bean salad. Add some rice to make it a complete protein.
    • Ground dried chickpea and turn it into chickpea flour. Substitute half the amount of all-purpose flour with chickpea flour in your recipes
    • Purée chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and tahini to make a quick and tasty hummus, which can be used as a dip or spread
    • Add beans, lentils or chickpeas into soups
    • Mix chickpeas with your favorite spices for a delicious side or snack
Buying Food at the Store

If you need to buy groceries, just get enough supplies for what you need so everyone has enough. Plan ahead: see what you need and come up with meal ideas for the coming week to save you time at the store. Here are suggested items to get:

  • Vegetables and Fruit:
    • Fresh veggies with a longer shelf like include: beets, carrots, parsnips, turnip, potatoes, squash and onions
    • Fresh fruit with a longer shelf life include: apples, melon, oranges and grapefruit
    • Frozen and canned vegetables/fruit, dried fruit, applesauce and tomato sauce 
  • Whole-Grain Choices include: rice, couscous, quinoa, bread (with longer shelf life), tortillas, pasta, dry and hot cereals, bread rusks, crackers, granola bars
  • Protein Choices:
    • Frozen/canned meat and fish
    • Low-sodium canned soups/stews
    • Yogurt, eggs, hard cheese, non-refrigerated milk
    • Canned/dried beans chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds, nut butter
  •  Other Pantry Items: 
    • Whole grain flour, oil, non-hydrogenated margarine, coffee, tea, spices, condiments
    • Meal replacements (if taken for specific medical conditions)

Keep Food Safety in Mind

Currently, there are no reports of COVID-19 transmission through handling groceries or similar items.  But as always, it’s a good idea to wash your hands frequently (including before and after handling groceries), and practise food safety. This includes:

  • Washing your hands BEFORE and AFTER handling food
  • Perishable foods should be properly stored or refrigerated to stop bacterial growth and to reduce the risk of foodborne illness
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under cold running water. It is not recommended to use household and body soap on food that you will eat. If you choose to use a cleaning product on food, only use food-grade cleaners directly on food and follow label instructions
  • Ensure foods are cooked and reheated to the proper internal temperature to avoid foodborne illness 
  • Get more advice about food safety during COVID-19 here.
Additional Resources: 

Provincial and Federal Benefits and Income Supports

Getting Help

Worried about your job, income or housing due to COVID-19? Do you own a business or employ staff in an operation affected by COVID-19?

All levels of governments are taking steps to support and protect people and businesses affected by coronavirus. The following information is current at the time of this posting. Please check official government websites for the most recent updates (Do not visit offices. Access services on-line or call in advance to confirm whether offices are open).  

NEW! – Click on the Financial Relief Navigator to see if you’re eligible for COVID-19 emergency benefits and financial support from governments, banks, utility, telecom and internet providers. It’s the one-stop access point to quickly see what’s available.


Federal Support Programs

For Workers/Employees

Visit Service Canada for full details or access the Find Financial Help During COVID-19 Online Tool to see what federal supports are available to you. Read further for more specific program supports: 

Temporary Wage Top-Up for Low Income Essential Workers – All provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost-share wage top-ups for their essential workers.

Increasing Canada Child Benefit – An extra $300 per child is available through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family. This benefit will be delivered as part of the scheduled CCB payment in May.

Special Goods and Services Tax Credit Payment: A one-time special payment will be available by early May through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.  

Mortgage Support: Canadian banks have committed to work with customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. For more information visit  tools to lenders.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): This new taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months is available to eligible workers who meet certain conditions. Learn more here.

CERB is accessible through a secure web portal. Applicants can also apply via an automated phone line or via a toll-free number. Call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041 or 1-833-699-0299. This benefit replaces the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

Employment Insurance: If you have lost your job through no fault of your own and qualify for Employment Insurance benefits, you can submit your request today.  

If you are sick, quarantined or have been directed to self-isolate, the federal government will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs): The required minimum withdrawals from RRIFs are being reduced by 25% for 2020

Support for Low-Income Seniors: A one-time, tax-free payment of $300 is being given to seniors who qualify for Old Age Security. An additional $200 will also be paid to seniors who currently receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement. This measure would give up to $500 in one-time payments to eligible seniors. Payments are expected to be made in early July.

Canada Student Loans: Effective March 30, the federal government is placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all student loan borrowers. No payment will be required, and interest will not accrue during this time. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

Canada Emergency Student Benefit – This provides support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance, or who are unable to work this summer due to COVID-19. The benefit provides $1,250 per month for eligible students or $2,000 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. This benefit is available from May to August 2020.

For Businesses/Employers – Federal

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: This subsidy program covers 75% of an employee’s wages for eligible employers of all sizes and sectors. This program is in place until August 29.

Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy: This three-month measure allows eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deduction required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Extending Work-Sharing Program: This support program is extended from 38 to 76 weeks. It provides income support to employees eligible for EI who agree to reduce their normal working hours due to COVID-19.

Temporary Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program: Employers can receive up to 100% of the provincial/territorial minimum hourly wage to hire student employees under this program. The end date for employment under this program is now extended to Feb. 28, 20201.

Other sector-specific business support programs may also be available. Learn more here.

Small Business COVID-19 Hotline – Is your small business facing pressing financial needs? Call this support hotline operated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week (8 am to 8 pm).


Provincial Support Programs

For Individuals/Workers:
  • Evictions:  No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice. Enforcement of current eviction orders will be postponed  
  • Protected Leave:  Employers must ensure protected leave for workers who have to be off work due to COVID-19. This includes workers who are: self-isolating, getting treated, following medical direction or caring for a loved one. 
  • Medical Notes: Employees do not need to provide a doctor’s note to take unpaid sick leave 
  • Support for Families – Learn about funding that families can apply for if they have children who are not in school or child care due to COVID-19. Eligible parents will receive a one-time payment of: $200/child ages 0-12 years; $250/child or youth aged 0-21 years with special needs. Note: If you are already receiving Support for Parents payments, you will automatically be eligible for this program and do not need to apply for it.
  • Doubled GAINS payments for seniors: If you are a senior receiving monthly Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments, we will be doubling your payment, making it up to $166 per month for individuals and up to $332 per month for couples. If you are a GAINS recipient, you will receive this extra support automatically for six months, with the first payment on April 24, 2020.
  • Ontario’s Community Support Program to assist low-income seniors and people with disabilities during COVID-19.
  • Additional funding for supplies is now offered to current recipients of Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program. Funding of up to $100 for single individual and up to $200 for families is available.
  • Help for electricity bills is here. Through the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, low-income consumers can get direct support to pay bills and ensure electricity and natural gas services are not cut off during COVID-19. If you are behind on your payments and face having your service disconnected, you could qualify for $500 in relief for electricity bills ($600 if your home is heated by electricity) and $500 for natural gas bills.

Extensions on validations and deadlines:

OSAP Payments:

Learn more about the temporary deferral of  OSAP  payments. 

  • From March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020: 
    • You do not need to make any loan payments 
    • Interest will not be added to your student loans 
    • If your loans are in good standing, visit the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC) or the Canada student aid page for more information.  If your  OSAP  debt is in collections, contact the Ministry of Finance at 1-877-535-0554 or the private collection agency assigned to your account to discuss your options. 

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance: 

  • If you are not currently getting social assistance 
  • If you need help paying for food and housing and are not already on Ontario Works or ODSP, you can  apply for COVID-19 emergency assistance

Click here to apply for any of the following provincial programs:

For Businesses/Employers – Provincial

The Ontario government is providing various relief programs to support businesses, including interest and penalty relief, tax relief, WSIB payment deferrals and reduced electricity bills.


Local Support Programs

For Businesses/Employers – Local

Getting Help To Apply For Programs 

The Help Centre and Legal Centre of Northumberland: The Help Centre and Legal Centre provide free services to residents of Northumberland County on the topics of income, employment and housing.   


Additional Resources

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

Support for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

If You are Pregnant:
  • Reduce your exposure to COVID-19 and seek immediate medical care if experiencing symptoms like fever, cough or difficulty breathing. 
  • There is currently no evidence that pregnant women are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. There is also currently no evidence that a developing child could be negatively affected by COVID-19.
  • Learn more on Pregnancy, Childbirth and Caring for Newborns (COVID-19) from the Public Health Agency of Canada

If You are Breastfeeding:
  • Continue to breastfeed if you’re well.  Antibodies and immune factors in breastmilk protect your baby against many infections. 
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in breast milk and it’s unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted while breastfeeding.
  • Remember to wash your hands before contact with baby. 
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms but are well enough to breastfeed, wear a mask during feeding. Wash hands before and after contact with baby and disinfect surfaces. 
  • If you are too ill to breastfeed, try to express milk. Wear a mask when around baby, wash your hands and disinfect surfaces
Additional Resources:

Helping Children Cope with COVID-19 Fears

The COVID-19 is constantly changing, posing a health risk for all ages. In particular, it can be an anxious time for children. Along with continuing to practise physical distancing and taking other preventive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, consider these tips to support your children:


  • Help children find positive ways to express their fear and sadness in a safe, supportive environment. 
  • Maintain family routines as much as possible, keeping in mind the importance of staying at home. Create new routines if necessary.  
  • Encourage children to continue playing and socializing within the family.  Do not organize play dates with other families; instead, get children to connect with their friends by phone or online.
  • In stressful situations, children can be demanding and seek more attention. Be understanding. Discuss COVID-19 in an honest and age-appropriate way 
  • Be a good role-model. Children will look to adults for cues on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and manage emotions during difficult times 
  • Limit children’s screen time  
  • Seek additional mental health support

Download and print resources below:

Keep Your Family Healthy

It’s essential to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to your family. For now, this means practising physical distancing and only going out for essentials like groceries, medicine and to access health care. 

If your child feels unwell

If anyone in your family starts to feel unwell with these symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately. 

Use the Ontario’s Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool  to determine if you need to seek further care.  Based on the self assessment results, contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020 for further guidance  

Activities to try

Image of sneakers walking along a path outside

No Gym, No Park, No Problem – ParticipACTION

Spend time outside, but close to your home. If you’re out, maintain a two-metre (six-foot) distance from others 

Try new crafts and games together 

Replace screen time with family time and these activities 

Connect with friends and family via phone, email or video chatting  

Check out resources to keep learning while at home

Click on the Ontario Ministry of Education website for more resources to help students learn at home

Access this Public Health Agency of Canada resource on Parenting During COVID-19

Access UNICEF’s Parenting Tips During COVID-19 Factsheet for more help on supporting and engaging your children during this pandemic.

Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy – Video
Additional Information:

Remember: While you may not feel sick, and being at home may not be ideal, these measures are essential to slow the spread of COVID-19 to those who are most vulnerable. 

Be a Good Neighbour During COVID-19

Looking after each other during COVID-19 is important. Not only does this mean staying home and practising physical distancing as much as possible, it also means being neighbourly.

While most people who become ill with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, older adults and people with existing medical conditions (like heart disease, respiratory diseases, diabetes or cancer) and compromised immune systems can face more severe illnesses. 

Even if they don’t become sick, the COVID-19 pandemic can also have a devastating effect on: 

  • Individuals with low income or unstable jobs 
  • People who find it hard to read, understand or communicate 
  • Those who are isolated socially or geographically 
  • People who live in poor housing conditions or are homeless 
  • Individuals who do not have transportation  

For these groups, the need to self-isolate or maintain physical distance due to COVID-19 can be stressful. They may: live alone, have no nearby family support; have no paid sick leave; be unable to go out because they have young children at home; lack Internet access to get current information; or do not have enough money to stock up on supplies and pay for transportation to get around.  

What You Can Do 

You can be a good neighbour, even during this time of physical distancing. Consider how you can help others in your community – being sure to protect your health as well: 

  • Donate to your local food bank. Currently, there is increased demand as more people must stay home from work and may not get paid. 
  • Call your neighbour who lives alone and provide a friendly voice of reassurance and support. 
  • Offer to pick up groceries and other supplies for a neighbour in need. Practise physical distancing by leaving items on their porch or by the front door where your neighbour can easily retrieve it.    
Additional Resources

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

Cleaning and Disinfecting During COVID-19

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


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

Select products

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

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings”

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

Guide for Caregivers

Older adults and those with compromised immune system are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Do your part to protect their health!

If you are caring for or living with someone who has the virus, you are considered a ‘close contact’. Follow these tips on how to care for someone. If you have questions, or you start to feel ill, contact your health care provider, Telehealth 1-866-797-0000 or the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020. You can take a self-assessment online from the Government of Ontario.

Here’s what you can do:
Wash your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water after each contact with the infected person.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Icon image of hands washing under running water
Wear mask and gloves
Icon of surgical mask and gloves
Dispose of gloves and mask after use
  • Take the gloves and mask off right after you provide care and dispose of them in the wastebasket lined with the plastic bag.
  • Take off the gloves first and clean your hands with soap and water before taking off your mask.
  • Clean your hands again with soap and water before touching your face or doing anything else.
Icon image of a garbage can
Limit the number of visitors in your home
  • Only have visitors who you must see and keep the visits short.
  • Keep seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, lung problems, and immune deficiency) away from the infected person.
Avoid sharing household items
  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with the person under investigation.
  • After use, these items should be washed with soap or detergent in warm water. No special soap is needed.
  • Dishwashers and washing machines can be used.
  • Do not share cigarettes.
Clean
  • Clean your home with regular household cleaners.
  • Clean regularly touched items such as toilets, sink tap handles,
  • doorknobs and bedside tables on a daily basis.
Wash laundry thoroughly
  • There is no need to separate the laundry, but you should wear gloves when handling.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water immediately after removing your gloves.

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Self-isolation: Guide for caregivers, household members and close contacts”

Additional Resources:

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

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

Download and print resources below:

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