COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children ages 5-11 years. Learn more.

This means anyone born in 2016 or earlier is now eligible to get vaccinated for a first or second dose of COVID-19.

Third doses are also now available for certain eligible groups. Please review the list to see if you are eligible for a third dose.

To get a COVID-19 vaccine, you can visit a Health Unit mass immunization clinic, a local pharmacy or your primary care provider to be vaccinated.

Please see below for mass immunization clinics, and links to local pharmacies.

NEW! For details on Indigenous-sponsored vaccination clinics coming up in December for urban Indigenous individuals and their family members, click here.

How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine:

  • Book an appointment in the provincial booking system:
    • Call 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007)
  • NOTE: If making a third dose appointment through the Provincial Booking System and checking you have an immunocompromised condition, be sure to bring a doctor’s note about this condition to your appointment OR a prescription for the immunosuppressant medication you are taking (click here for a current list of medications).
  • Additional clinic dates are always being added to the provincial booking system. If you do not see a clinic date for a future date, please check back in a few weeks. Please note: The provincial booking system may only show appointments 60+ days from your first day of eligibility for a third dose.
  • Please bring your Ontario Health Card if you have one. Both mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-Comirnaty and Moderna-Spikevax) are available at clinics, unless specified otherwise.
  • All children turning 5 years old by the end of 2021 are eligible to be vaccinated.. learn more.

Important Note: If a scheduled clinic does not appear in the provincial booking system, it means all appointments have been filled. Walk-ins will be accepted at all clinics between 3:30 to 4:30 pm (unless otherwise noted on the dates listed below).

Health Unit Vaccination Clinics

Vaccination clinics are open to anyone born in 2016 or earlier. Please bring your health card. Both mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-Comirnaty and Moderna-Spikevax) are available at all mobile clinics, unless specified otherwise.

Mass Immunization Clinics

COBOURG

LINDSAY

COLBORNE

MINDEN

FENELON FALLS

HALIBURTON

BRIGHTON

CAMPBELLFORD

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Pharmacy Locations

For a full list of pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccines, visit Ontario’s Pharmacy COVID-19 Vaccine page. You can search the list of participating pharmacies by community or using your postal code.

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Need a ride to your COVID-19 vaccine appointment? Click here for options in your community

Have Questions About COVID-19 Vaccine? Speak to a Health Professional

Make an appointment to talk with a doctor/nurse if you have questions or concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Access these free services:

Please note:

  • There have been a small number of reports of pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) or myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) after getting a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in Canada. Click here to learn more in this Public Health Ontario fact sheet.
  • Before your COVID-19 vaccine appointment, drink water and eat something ahead of time. Being well-hydrated and having something in your stomach reduces your risk of feeling faint after your shot.
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Additional Resources:

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COVID-19 Vaccines

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


Get Your Vaccine
  • Anyone born in 2016 or earlier is eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Click here for upcoming clinic dates and locations.
  • To learn about COVID-19 vaccine safety for youth, click here.

Video Resources

On This Page:

About COVID-19 Vaccine
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How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

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

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

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

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

Make an appointment to talk with a doctor/nurse if you have questions or concerns about receiving the COVID- 19 vaccine. Access these free services:

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Additional Resources

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

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Third Dose of COVID Vaccine

Ontario has expanded the list of people now eligible for a third dose (or booster) of COVID-19 vaccine. Read on for more details.


Booster vs. Third Dose – What’s the Difference?
Third Dose:
  • Why? Added to the standard primary series of vaccines to increase the immune response and establish an adequate level of protection for individuals who developed no or sub-optimal immune response to a two-dose primary series.
  • Who is Eligible? People with moderately to severely compromised immune system. Click here for a full list of eligible individuals.
  • When? Available two months after second dose (Note: Exact timing should be decided with the treating health care provider to optimize the immune response from the vaccine series and minimize delays in management of the underlying condition)
Booster Dose
  • When? If someone is eligible (see below), they must wait at least 168 days after their second dose of vaccine to receive their booster.
  • Why? Given to restore protection that may have decreased over time to individuals who initially responded adequately to a complete primary vaccine series
  • Who is Eligible?
    • Individuals 70 years of age and older (born 1951 or earlier)
    • Health care worker* or essential care provider
    • Individuals who received a full series of AstraZeneca /Janssen 
  • NEW! As of Dec. 13, at 8 am, people age 50+ can book an appointment for their booster dose through the provincial booking system (they must wait at least 168 days after their second dose of vaccine to receive their booster). Get more details here.

 *A Health Care Worker is defined as any regulated health professionals and any staff, contract worker, student/trainee, registered volunteers including: 

  • Hospital and acute care staff 
  • Patient facing health care worker and staff involved in the COVID-19 response 
  • Medical First Responders 
  • Health Care Worker and designated essential caregivers in congregate settings 
  • Home and community care including: home care, birth centres, dental, primary care, pharmacies, needle exchange/syringe programs, safe consumption sites.  
  • Essential Care providers working in-person at a health care facility, including workers not providing direct patient care and are frequently in a patient environment (i.e. cleaning staff, research staff, or administrative staff) – also workers that provide service in congregate, residential or community settings outside of a health care organization setting.  

How to Get a Third Dose (Booster) Vaccine:

For help booking an appointment through the provincial booking system, contact the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY for people who are deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired: 1-866-797-0007). Available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week, in over 300 languages


  • Need a ride to your COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Click here for options in your community.

Youth and COVID-19 Vaccination

The time is right for youth to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Individuals aged 12 to 17 years (including children turning 12 years old before the end of 2021) are encouraged to get their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. This will ensure they are better protected from the virus when school resumes. Click here on where to get your vaccine.

  • COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old is now approved for use in Canada. Learn more

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in individuals aged 12 to 17 and the vaccine is available at Health Unit’s clinics.



Youth can get the vaccine the following ways:


What you need to know:

  • Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be administered for youth ages 12 to 17 years.
  • Some local pharmacies may also provide youth vaccinations and should be contacted directly to book appointments.
  • As well, primary health care providers may also offer vaccinations to their younger patients and their families.
  • In Ontario, the second dose for vaccines is now given at 28 days after the first dose for anyone 12 years and older.

Additional Resources:


Vaccination Fact and Fiction

MYTH: It is not safe for young people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine is safe for young people and Health Canada has approved use for people 12 years of age and up. Safety is based on research from scientific trials and they continue to closely monitor the vaccine as more people get it.

MYTH: There are only a few different COVID-19 vaccines.

FACT: There are 4 vaccines approved for use in Canada: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Worldwide, there are 102 COVID-19 vaccines in use and another 184 COVID-19 vaccines in progress.

MYTH: The vaccine is going to change or interact with my DNA.

FACT: The vaccine does not change or interact with your DNA. The mRNA vaccines teach your body to know the code for the COVID-19 protein spike, like a recipe that can fight COVID-19 virus. It does not alter or interact with your DNA.

MYTH: There are microchips/metal/magnets in the vaccine.

FACT: There are no metals, magnets, or microchips in the vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines include mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) which is naturally found in every cell in your body. The specific mRNA found in the vaccine is directed towards creating a protein spike that is like a recipe to help you fight COVID-19. Other ingredients in the vaccine are water, fat, sugar, sodium, and potassium. These are needed to help the mRNA deliver this recipe. Your body creates the protein spike and then no longer needs the recipe, so it breaks it down to get rid of it, leaving only the protein spike needed to fight COVID-19.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine was made too quickly for the science behind it so it can’t be safe.

FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine is very safe. The mRNA type of vaccine was developed in the early 1990s and has had 30 years of research with animal trials. This research was used in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna. They are safe and effective.

MYTH: The government is forcing people to get the vaccine.

FACT: Getting the COVID19 vaccine is completely voluntary. No one is being forced to get it. Vaccination is our best chance to end the pandemic and to get back to enjoying our lives. In the future, there might be things that only fully vaccinated people are allowed to do such as travelling to other countries or attending events with large gatherings of people, like concerts or festivals. Being vaccinated means that you and the people around you will be safer and feel less worried about catching COVID-19.

MYTH: People get sick or get COVID-19 after they get the vaccine.

FACT: The mRNA vaccine is not a live vaccine and does not contain any COVID-19 virus so it cannot give you COVID-19. After you get the vaccine, it can cause a short-lived response as your immune system builds the protein spike or recipe needed to fight COVID-19. Side effects can be feeling tired, headache, sore arm, or not feeling well. The COVID-19 vaccine is over 90% effective against the virus once you have had 2 doses, but that is not 100%. In rare situations, a fully vaccinated person could get sick with COVID-19 and their symptoms might be milder than if they were not vaccinated.

MYTH: I don’t need to be vaccinated because I already had COVID-19.

FACT: It is important to get your COVID-19 vaccine even if you have already had COVID-19. Although you might have some immunity to the virus from having had COVID-19, it is unknown how long that will last or if your antibodies will recognize new COVID-19 variants.

MYTH: I have allergies/a health condition/take medication, so it isn’t safe for me to get the vaccine.

FACT: There are hardly any reasons for someone not to get the vaccine even if they have a health condition and take medications. Sometimes health conditions and medications can make a person at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 so getting the vaccine is even more important for them. Prior to giving you the vaccine, the vaccinator will ask questions to find out more about your health, medications, and allergies. As far as allergies go, the mRNA vaccines do not contain many of the components found in other vaccines that can lead to allergic reactions, such as pork, egg, or gluten. If you have concerns, consult with your family doctor.

MYTH: Kids who get COVID-19 only have mild symptoms, so they do not need to be vaccinated.

FACT: Kids can get sick from COVID-19 and rarely, even be hospitalized. Kids need to be vaccinated because even though they might not get as sick from COVID-19, they can spread it to other people who can get extremely sick. Vaccinating youth helps our whole community. It will be a key step towards ending this pandemic.

MYTH: Only getting 1 shot of the COVID-19 vaccine will be good enough protection for me.

FACT: The mRNA vaccine was designed as a 2-dose set. The first shot teaches your body to make the protein spike which is a recipe your body follows to fight COVID-19. Your body’s immune response to the 1st shot rises, but scientists believe that decreases over time. The 2nd shot reminds your body of that protein spike recipe to give you longer-lasting protection.

MYTH: Once I get the vaccine, I can stop wearing my mask and start hanging out with friends and family again.

FACT: No, not yet. As a population we need enough people to be vaccinated with a full 2 doses before we can relax our current safety measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, hand sanitizing/cleaning and staying home as much as possible. Once case numbers are low and the percentage of people who are fully vaccinated increases, we will be able to make changes to our current safety measures. In the meantime, encourage your friends and family to get the vaccine.


Speak to a Health Care Professional For More Advice

Make an appointment to talk with a doctor/nurse if you have questions or concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Access these free services:

Mask Use during COVID-19

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

NOTE: The Ontario government is mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions. For complete details, click here.

The Province now recommends wearing a mask or face covering outdoors when you can’t maintain 2 metres physical distance from others outside your household. 

Medical Masks (like surgical and N-95):
close up White protective hygenic mask isolated backgrounds for doctors and patient from virus biological infection and PM2.5 dust, pandemic news

Medical masks provide extra protection to stop the spread of tiny droplets when you cough or sneeze. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends medical masks be worn by:

  • Anyone who has tested for or has symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People caring for someone who has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People who live in an overcrowded setting with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19.
  • People who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19.
  • People who are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their living situation.

Masks MUST be put on, taken off and thrown out properly. If you need to wear a mask, be sure to clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When wearing a mask, follow this Public Health Ontario fact sheet  on how to properly wear and throw away one.


Homemade (Cloth) Masks:

The Ontario government is now mandating that masks have to be worn in all indoor public places across the province (with some exceptions).

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 and
  • A third (middle) layer made of a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene.

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

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

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

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

Click here for specific information on mask use regulations currently in effect in Ontario.


Double Masking

Double-masking means wearing one face mask on top of another. An example is wearing a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. This resulted in new CDC guidelines for Americans on improving mask fit, which includes adding layers of material to a mask (either by using cloth masks with multiple layers of fabric, or by wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask).

This change comes as new, more contagious COVID-19 variants are circulating. So far, the Public Health Agency of Canada has not changed its recommendations on mask use in Canada. In November 2020, PHAC did update its recommendations to say non-medical masks should be made of at least three layers, with the middle layer being a filter-type fabric.

Currently in Ontario, you must wear a non-medical mask or face covering that covers your nose, mouth and chin inside any business or public place. Properly wearing a mask inside public spaces and maintaining 2 metres physical distance from others are important measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Masks will not stop you from getting COVID-19, but can help protect others.

While there is no instruction to ‘double mask’ in Canada, consider doing so if it makes you feel more comfortable (taking care to ensure it does not make breathing difficult). Add an extra layer to your cloth mask or try wearing a cloth mask over a disposable mask.

The best advice to prevent COVID-19 remains staying home as much as possible and avoiding contact with other people you do not live with.


How to Properly Use a Homemade Mask/Face Covering:  
  • Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (use good hand hygiene while wearing it too)
  • Masks should fit snugly, but comfortably against your face (non-gaping) allowing you to breathe without restriction. Masks should be secured with ties or ear loops and have multiple fabric layers
  • Do not share cloth masks with others
  • Remember not to touch or rub your eyes while wearing it
  • Avoid moving, adjusting or touching your mask while using it, as it could become contaminated on the outside. 
  • Change face coverings if they get slightly wet or dirty
  • Wash the cloth mask after each use as it can get damp or dirty:
    • Put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • Cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water after putting the mask into the laundry.
  • Homemade masks that cannot be washed should be thrown out in a properly lined garbage bin as soon as they get damp, dirty or crumpled. Do not throw used masks on the ground or in a shopping cart. Immediately after wash your hands with soap and water.
  • For ideas on making your own homemade cloth masks, visit this Public Health Agency of Canada masks resource page.

Summary Do’s and Don’ts for Using Homemade Masks/Face Coverings

Do:

  • Wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask
  • Practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering
  • Make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth
  • Avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • Avoid touching the covering while using it
  • Change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do Not:

  • Share face coverings or face masks with others
  • Place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing
  • Use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask

General COVID-19 Video Resources

COVID-19 Resources

Get COVID-19 prevention tips by watching these videos. You can also click here for links to workplace-specific prevention videos.


On This Page


COVID-19 Vaccines

Testing Positive for COVID-19 – What To Do Videos

General COVID-19 Prevention Videos

Physical Distancing

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

Current Situation
  • Click here for current COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario.
  • Capacity limits are removed for any outdoor organized event (such as outdoor parades, outdoor memorial services and other similar events), but masks must be worn if a two-metre physical distancing cannot be maintained with others outside your household.
  • Currently, up to 100 people are allowed at outdoor social gatherings. Be sure to maintain 2 metres physical distance from anyone you do not live with. You must wear a mask if you are within 2 metres of a person who is not part of your household.
  • Currently, small indoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed (including those from different households). Consider wearing masks, especially depending on your comfort level and the vaccination status of attendees.
Tips for Physical Distancing:
  • Keep a minimum two-metre (six-foot) distance between yourself and others. That’s roughly the length of a hockey stick or a pool noodle.
  • When out in the community, practise physical distancing.
  • Wear masks inside all public places. Consider mask use outdoors too, when unable to maintain physical distance from those outside your household.
  • Get outside to exercise and be active, but try to maintain a physical distance of at last 2 metres (6-feet) from others.
  • Get both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine when eligible.
  • Greet people with a wave, bow or nod, instead of handshake or hug. After being outside, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Work from home if possible. Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about options. Cancel in-person business meetings. Instead, look at teleconferencing or video chat options.
  • If you are sick, stay home and use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Screening Tool to see what additional care you may need.
  • Sanitize/wash your hands when entering or exiting building. Avoid long lineups. Use tap to pay instead of handling money.
  • Do NOT use public transit if you are sick. Self-isolate at home right away.
  • If you must use public transit, wash hands often, keep a two-metre distance between other passengers, wear a non-medical mask and aim to travel in non-peak hours.

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


Additional Resources:

Download and print resource below:

Use of Masks and Face Coverings Inside Public Spaces

Currently, masks and face coverings must now be worn inside all public places across the province, including businesses, facilities and workplaces. Limited exemptions are in place, including for age, medical reasons, and special accommodations.

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

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

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


Who is Affected?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masks can also be temporarily removed for:

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

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

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

Why are masks and face coverings required inside public places?

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

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

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

If staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than 2 metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), masks and other appropriate Personal Protective Equipment must be worn to ensure proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth.

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

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

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

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

You can also temporarily take off your face covering to:

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

What happens if patrons don’t wear a mask?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why can’t mask use be a voluntary decision?

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

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

How is this being enforced?

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

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

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

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

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

What are the fines?

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

Are both businesses and customers subject to fines?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do restaurant servers need to wear masks?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are face shields allowed?

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

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

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

What is the proper way to use a non-medical mask or face covering?

  • Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (use good hand hygiene while wearing it too)
  • Masks should fit snugly, but comfortably against your face (non-gaping) allowing you to breathe without restriction. Masks should be secured with ties or ear loops and have multiple fabric layers
  • Do not share cloth masks with others
  • Remember not to touch or rub your eyes while wearing it
  • Avoid moving, adjusting or touching your mask while using it, as it could become contaminated on the outside.
  • Change face coverings if they get slightly wet or dirty
  • Wash the cloth mask after each use as it can get damp or dirty:
  • Put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
  • Cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after putting the mask into the laundry.
  • Homemade masks that cannot be washed should be thrown out in a properly lined garbage bin as soon as they get damp, dirty or crumpled. Do not throw used masks on the ground or in a shopping cart. Immediately after wash your hands with soap and water.

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

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

Double-masking means wearing one face mask on top of another. An example is wearing a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask.

In early 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. This resulted in new CDC guidelines for Americans on improving mask fit, which includes adding layers of material to a mask (either by using cloth masks with multiple layers of fabric, or by wearing a disposable mask under a cloth mask).

This change comes as new, more contagious COVID-19 variants are circulating. So far, the Public Health Agency of Canada has not changed its recommendations on mask use in Canada. In November 2020, PHAC did update its recommendations to say non-medical masks should be made of at least three layers, with the middle layer being a filter-type fabric.

Currently in Ontario, you must wear a non-medical mask or face covering that covers your nose, mouth and chin inside any business or public place. Properly wearing a mask inside public spaces and maintaining 2 metres physical distance from others are important measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Masks will not stop you from getting COVID-19, but can help protect others.

While there is no instruction to ‘double mask’ in Canada, consider doing so if it makes you feel more comfortable (taking care to ensure it does not make breathing difficult). Add an extra layer to your cloth mask or try wearing a cloth mask over a disposable mask.

The best advice to prevent COVID-19 remains staying home as much as possible and avoiding contact with other people you do not live with.


Additional Resources

Posters For Businesses/Commercial Establishments

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

How to Self-Monitor

It’s important to take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19. That’s why it’s essential to watch — or ‘self-monitor’ — for symptoms of COVID-19. Here’s what to do:

Monitor for Symptoms

Self-monitor for symptoms for at least 10 days after exposure for fever, cough or difficulty breathing

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

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

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

What to do if you develop these or any other symptoms?
  • Self-isolate immediately and contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, your health care provider or take a COVID-19 online self-assessment.
  • To isolate you will need:
    • Soap, water and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands
  • If you visit your health care provider, avoid using public transportation such as subways, taxis and shared rides. If you cannot avoid this, wear a mask and keep a two-metre distance from others or use the back seat if in a car.

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet COVID-19 How to Self-Monitor

Additional Resources:

How to Self-Monitor Video – HKPR District Health Unit

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

Download and print resources below:

Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download

Are You Sick?
Poster

Handwashing and Hand Hygiene

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

Step 1

Wet hands with warm running water.

Step 2

Apply soap, any type will clean your hand effectively.

Step 3

Rub hands palm to palm

Step 4

Lather the backs of your hands

Step 5

Clean thumbs

Step 6

Wash fingernails and fingertips

Step 7

Rinse hands

Step 8

Dry with a single use towel

Step 9

Use the towel to turn off the faucet

Additional Resources
Watch our YouTube video

Respiratory Etiquette

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

Cover Your Cough

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

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

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

Mask

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

Wash Hands

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

Woman washing hands.
Watch our video on YouTube
Additional Resources

How to Cover Your Cough – Public Health Ontario

Download and print resources below:

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 “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, ext. 5020.

Mental Health and COVID-19

COVID-19 can feel overwhelming. While it’s important to reduce the risk of the virus, you also need to look after your mental health at this time. Here’s what to do: 

  • Maintain routines as you’re able, keeping in mind the importance to take precautions such as physical distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Earn peace of mind by getting both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, to ensure you are fully protected against the virus.
  • Seek professional help. If you’re overwhelmed, talk by phone to a health professional or counsellor. If you have coverage for a counsellor through work, access your Employee and Family Assistance Plan.  
  • Eat well 
  • Stay active: Doing fun and healthy activities outdoors makes it easier to keep physical distance.  
  • Get enough sleep 
  • Look back at challenging situations and see how you successfully coped with them 
  • Limit your daily dose of COVID-19-related news to reduce anxiety and worry. Fight fear with facts about the pandemic by turning to credible sources of information. 

Supporting Others 

  • COVID-19 affects everyone, so be kind to others – regardless of gender, ethnicity, income or age. 
  • Reduce stigma. Use supportive language like: “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID19”, or “people who are recovering from COVID-19”. Don’t define others  just because they’re affected by the coronavirus.   
  • Be neighbourly and assist others where possible, being sure to protect your health as well. 
  • Share positive and inspiring stories of what your community is doing to pull together during this time.  
  • Be patient and recognize the role caretakers and health care workers are playing in supporting people affected with COVID-19.  
If You Are Self-Isolating 
  • Stay connected with friends and family by phone, social media or video calls. 
  • Ask for help from friends, family and neighbours to deliver necessities to your door. Many community groups (e.g. churches and service clubs) have volunteers to help those who are isolated. 
  • Even if isolating or in quarantine, keep up your personal daily routines at home or create new ones.  
  • Stay healthy. Be active, eat well and get enough sleep.  
If You Have Mental Health and Addiction Issues

It’s extra important to control your anxiety and maintain your mental wellness during COVID-19:

  • Consider and accept that some fear and anxiety is normal
  • Seek credible information provided by experts and reputable sources
  • Assess your personal risk
  • Seek support
  • Get proper rest and sleep
  • Stay active
  • Access this Mental Health and COVID-19 Pandemic resource from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Additional Resources:  

Four County Crisis – If you’re in crisis please call 705-745-6484 or toll-free 1-866-995-9933. By phoning these numbers, you can access 24-hour, free, confidential crisis support.

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.

Centre for Addition and Mental Health  

Bounce Back – A guided self-help program for adults and youth aged 15 and over using workbooks with online videos and phone coaching support.

Guidance for Mental Health Resources for Camp Operators and Staff (Ontario Ministry of Health) provides a list of resources on how to talk to children and youth about the COVID-19 pandemic and seek mental health supports.

Kids’ Help Phone – 24/7 virtual support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals as well as volunteer-led, text-based support to young people. Services available in both English and French by calling 1-800-668-6868.

Good2Talk – Free, confidential mental health support service providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to postsecondary students in Ontario

Wellness Together Canada – Mental health and substance use support.

World Health Organization 

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