COVID-19 and Large Gatherings/Events

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

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

Places of Worship during COVID-19

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

During the State of Emergency:

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

On This Page:


Use of Non-Medical Masks Face Coverings During Religious Services

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

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

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

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

Download and print resources below:

Service Providers Working With Vulnerable Clients

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

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

General Tips

For Homeless Shelters and Service Providers 

For Food Banks/Food Program Providers 

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

Practise Physical Distancing: 

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

Practise Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette 

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

Wear Masks/Face Coverings

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

Increasing Cleaning and Disinfecting

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

Food Distribution Considerations: 

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

Additional Resources

Download and print resources below:

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

Holidays, Family Gatherings and Celebrations

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

On This Page


Key Message: Stay Safe, Stay Home

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

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

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

Emergency Orders, Directives and Closures

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the following declarations, orders and closures from different levels of government are now in place. Please read on for further details.

On This Page:

HKPR District Health Unit

Provincial Orders
  • As of Jan. 13, 2021, a second State of Emergency is in effect in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. This includes a stay-at-home order. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.
  • The Ontario government is now recommending that masks or face coverings be worn outside when 2-metres physical distancing is not possible.
  • During the provincial state of emergency, Ontario’s colour-coded COVID-19 Response Framework will be paused. The entire HKPR District Health Unit region (which includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) is covered by this shutdown. Maximum public health measures, widespread closures and revised ways of doing business will now be in effect. People are also encouraged to stay home as much as possible during the shutdown. 
  • Teacher-led online learning will continue for both elementary and secondary school students in southern Ontario for the time-being. By Jan. 20, Ontario’s Chief Public Health Officer will advise when in-person learning can resume for students in most parts of southern Ontario, including Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. .
  • The Province has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Taskforce to plan logistics for mass vaccination across Ontario when COVID-19 vaccines are available.
  • The Province is offering free and voluntary COVID-19 testing for international travellers arriving and staying in the province for at least 14 days. The tests will be available at Pearson Airport in Toronto.
  • The Ontario government is mandating the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities and workplaces, with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services. Masks must also now be worn throughout religious services at places of worship.

Federal Orders 

Travellers and COVID-19


Travelling Abroad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mandatory Quarantine

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

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

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

Mandatory Isolation

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


Travelling in Canada

Travelling Between Provinces

During the pandemic, some parts of Canada have placed limits on travel between provinces. This includes the requirement that some people arriving must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are planning an out-of-province trip, check first with the destination you are headed to see if any travel restrictions are in place that could affect your trip.


Testing for COVID-19 – What Now?

Testing for COVID-19 is a critical step in stopping the spread of illness.  

Where and When to Get Tested 
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 
  • You MUST continue to isolate if you test positive for the virus. Public health will call you as soon as possible about your test results and ask you questions about places you have visited and people who you were in close contact. Anyone in close contact with you may be at risk from COVID-19 themselves, so must be called. Your help in answering these questions is essential to protect the health of others in the community.   
  • PLEASE NOTE: Public Health Ontario (PHO) is supporting the Health Unit’s efforts to follow up with all COVID-19 contacts in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. If a PHO contact tracer calls you, the number will appear as ‘Unknown.’ This is NOT a scam. If you have questions, call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020
  • You will receive regular phone calls from public health staff to see how you are doing and to monitor any symptoms you have. Public health staff will also ensure you are staying in self-isolation at home and can discuss any supports you need and respond to your questions. 
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and do NOT stay at home in self-isolation, you could be served with a Class Order under Section 22 (5.01.1) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order states you must stay home in self-isolation or face daily fines or imprisonment for not doing so. 
  • There are different periods for self-isolating, depending on your situation and the nature of your COVID-19 symptoms. To be safe, do not stop self-isolating until you receive the all-clear from the Health Unit.  
  • Visit the Ontario government website to learn more about COVID-19 testing. 
Close Contacts 
  • Public health staff (either Health Unit or Public Health Ontario staff) will follow up with anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. This is called contact tracing.  
  • Individuals who are considered close contacts to someone who has COVID-19 can include: 
    • Family members/people living in the same household 
    • Anyone who had direct contact with a positive COVID-19 case 
  • Public health will follow up with these close contacts and give instructions on what they need to do (like quarantining) to slow the spread of COVID-19. Public health will also do regular phone calls with close contacts to check in on them and ensure they follow public health directions. 
  • Here’s what to do if you have been in contact with someone (friend, relative, co-worker etc.) who was in contact with a COVID-19 case, but you yourself did not have a direct encounter with the positive case.

Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Spaces

Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect people in the community.

The following information provides guidance on cleaning and disinfection of public spaces and workplaces in Ontario.

What you should know
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Click here for a specific list of hard-surface disinfectants that are known to be effective against COVID-19.
  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated.
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Check the expiry date of products you use and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Follow these public health guidelines for cleaning/disinfecting public washrooms
Icon image of a tub of cleaning supplies
Clean frequently touched surfaces twice per day
  • In addition to routine cleaning, high-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.
  • High-touch surfaces can include: doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads.
  • In addition to routine cleaning, check with your organization for any specific protocols for cleaning for COVID-19.
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 when handling cleaning products including wipes
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer.
Watch our video on YouTube

This information is based on the Public Health Ontario fact sheet: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings

Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

Local COVID-19 Testing & Assessment Centres

Download the COVID Alert Tracing App

On This Page:

COVID-19 Assessment Centres

Below are locations of the specific COVID-19 Assessment Centres in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Please note that all COVID-19 Assessment Centres are now by appointment only (no walk-ins are allowed). Effective immediately, you are only asked to use these assessment centres if you are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit
  • Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Please Note: If you are having difficulty accessing your COVID-19 testing results, please follow up with the Assessment Centre where you were tested.

City of Kawartha Lakes

Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Lindsay

The RMH COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now located inside Ross Memorial Hospital. To get tested:

  • Visit the Ontario COVID-19 website to see if you qualify for testing under the current provincial guidelines.
  • Call 705-328-6217 or request an appointment online.
  • Do not leave multiple messages or submit multiple forms
  • Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 9:30-5:15 pm
  • You will receive a call back within 1-2 business days

When arriving for your appointment:

  • Arrive to the hospital at your appointment time. (NOTE: When making your appointment, you will be given instructions on where to park and which hospital entrance to use for testing)
  • Wear a mask
  • Bring your health card and identification
  • Maintain physical distancing from others awaiting testing
  • Your results should be available online within five days of testing. If unable to access your results online after five days, call (705) 328-6217 and leave a message.

If symptoms are severe, including difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion or losing consciousness, you should be seen in the Emergency Department immediately.

Northumberland County

Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Cobourg

NHH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre (1000 DePalma Dr., in Cobourg) is now located in new trailer space immediately outside hospital’s Emergency Department entrance. A dedicated entry/exit is available to the new asessment centre.

NHH’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now operating on an appointment-basis only. Walk-ins will no longer be accepted. To book an appointment, call 905-377-7783. The assessment centre is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm for pre-booked appointments.

The NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre will screen patients, test (if deemed appropriate) and direct patients to proceed as required. Through a temporary arrangement with the Northumberland Family Health Team, the Community Health Centres of Northumberland, and local primary care physicians, the NHH COVID-19 Assessment Centre is now able to offer patients the option to see a primary care provider (family physician or nurse practitioner) in addition to receiving a COVID-19 test.  Learn more details by calling the centre.

Canton COVID-19 Testing Centre (Municipality of Port Hope)

A new COVID-19 testing centre is now open at the Port Hope Community Hub (formerly Canton Municipal Hall) located at 5325 County Road 10, just north of Canton. The testing centre will be available for individuals without active COVID-19 symptoms. Hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (8 am to 4 pm) for virtual screening by phone or pre-scheduled appointments only. To book an appointment, call 905-377-7783.

Trent Hills COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Campbellford

The centre is open Mondays to Thursdays from 9 am to 5 pm (closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). To book an appointment for COVID-19 test, call the local Assessment Centre directly at 705-395-1801. Please do not go to the Assessment Centre without first calling to book an appointment. Please do not call Campbellford Memorial Hospital either.

The Trent Hills COVID 19 Assessment Centre is located at Campbellford Memorial Hospital on the basement level in the former paramedic bay and offices. Access to the site will be a drive-through, drive-up centre. All visitors are to remain in their cars, and Assessment Centre staff will provide assessment/testing to you while you remain in your vehicle.

For days the Assessment Centre is not available, contact the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020.

NOTE: Test results are now being managed differently. Only individuals with a positive COVID-19 test result will be contacted by a member of the Infection Control Team. All other individuals can check their results online. A handout with this information will be provided to each person attending the Assessment Centre.

Haliburton County

Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre

To book an appointment for testing, call the Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre at 705-457-1212 (press 6) during regular business hours. You can seek an appointment if you are a Haliburton County resident and meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have at least one COVID-19 symptom.
  • You are concerned you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 because you were in contact with a confirmed or suspected case
  • You are at risk of COVID-19 exposure because of your employment (e.g. health care worker, grocery store employees, other front-line workers)

PLEASE NOTE: if your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 and alert the dispatcher to your symptoms.

The Haliburton County COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre is staffed by health care providers who will complete a phone assessment and advise as to appropriate next steps, which may include self-monitoring instructions, self-isolation instructions, or further assessment and testing in the drive-through facility. The Centre is for all residents of Haliburton County, regardless of whether you have a family doctor.

COVID-19 Testing at Pharmacies

The Ontario government is now allowing some pharmacies to provide COVID-19 testing, including some in the local Health Unit area. Testing at pharmacies will be free, by appointment, and available ONLY to people who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms. Pharmacies will also be doing COVID pre-screening of anyone seeking a test. Click here to find pharmacy testing locations in your area (you can search by community or postal code).

Printable COVID-19 Resources

Download and print resources below:

Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Staff AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Staff
Poster

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

Image of Attention Shoppers AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Attention Shoppers AODA compliant poster – click to download

Attention Shoppers
Poster

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

Attention Visitors
Poster

Image of AODA compliant 'Keep Your Distance on Elevators' poster - click as a link
Image of AODA compliant ‘Keep Your Distance on Elevators’ poster – click as a link

Keep Distance on Elevators
Poster

Prevention poster for customers or visitors to a workplace
Prevention Customers

Prevention for Customers
Poster

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

Prevention in the Community
Poster

Prevention poster for tenants
Prevention for Tenants

Prevention for Tenants
Poster

Image of AODA compliant 'Stay Home During COVID-19' poster - click as a link
Image of AODA compliant ‘Stay Home During COVID-19’ poster – click as a link

Stay Home During COVID-19
Poster

Image of AODA compliant 'Doctors Orders' poster - click as a link
Image of AODA compliant ‘Doctors Orders’ poster – click as a link

Doctor’s Orders
Poster

Temporary Foreign Workers and COVID-19

The local Health Unit works closely with area farmers to ensure temporary (or migrant) workers can work safely during COVID-19.

Section 22 Order For Agriculture Farms Employing Migrant Workers

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has issued a Section 22 Class Order to all owners and operators of agricultural farms that employ migrant farm workers, participate in the federal Temporary Farm Worker (TFW) or operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations. The order applies to these agricultural farms in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes.

The Order is effective from 12 pm (noon) July 9, 2020 and will remain in effect until the local Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required. The Order requires all owners and operators of agricultural operations to take additional steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for farm workers and local residents. Please read this Fact Sheet for more detailed information on the Order.


FAQs

Is this Order limited to seasonal housing accommodations for migrant workers or Temporary Farm Workers (TFWs) only?

This Section 22 Class Order applies to all owners and operators of agricultural farms that employ migrant farm workers, or participate in the federal Temporary Farm Worker (TFW) or operate any model of seasonal housing accommodations, including seasonal housing for non-migrant workers, which may include local residents, students or others.

Does this Order restrict a migrant worker from working at more than one farm or if they are staying in a seasonal accommodation at one of the farms they are working on?

Yes. Note that local workers such as students are also included in this Order and should only be working at one farm.

By working ‘exclusively at one workplace,’ does this Order prohibit a migrant worker from working at a roadside stand or farmer’s market?

No. The migrant worker would still be considered as working in the same workplace, just a different location (such as a different field). The intent is they are not working with other workers from a different farm. This is especially important to remember if working at a farmer’s market. Migrant and local workers from one farm should not interact with those from another agricultural operation.

Is there a difference between single unit accommodations versus group or multiple persons residing in the same accommodation?

No. They mean the same thing.


Additional Resource

Advice for Agricultural/Farm Owners and Operators – HKPR District Health Unit

Working With Farm Operators to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 on Farms – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Health Unit Role

The Health Unit works to protect the health of workers and the well-being of the entire community by preventing the spread of the virus. This ensures area farms operate safely and by the rules, while allowing our local communities to stay well-fed and have access to quality, locally-produced food items.

During COVID-19, the Health Unit follows provincial directives and federal guidelines for temporary foreign workers. Throughout the growing season, our Public Health Inspectors work directly with local farmers and migrant workers to ensure these guidelines are followed to the letter of the law. Some of the provisions include: 

  • Regular housing/accommodation inspections
  • Requiring temporary workers to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada
  • Doing ongoing screening of workers for COVID-19 symptoms and putting in place provisions that they fully isolate themselves from others if they get sick
  • Making sure farmers do their part to protect the health of workers. This means: providing appropriate hygiene facilities/supplies, promoting physical distancing measures (such as making sure worker accommodations allow for at least 2-metre distance), and regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces.  

For more information on Health Unit efforts, call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

Advice for Agricultural/Farm Owners and Operators

How to Reduce the Spread of Illness
  • Workers should be educated on how to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Encourage regular hand hygiene by following proper handwashing and hand sanitizing methods.
  • Post hand hygiene signs in visible locations (like in washrooms, above sinks, dispenser holders).
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHR) onsite should have an alcohol concentration between 70%- 90%.
  • Liquid handsoap, paper towels and ABHR dispensers should be checked regularly to ensure they are full. Single-use, disposable products are preferred. If using refillable dispensers, ensure they are cleaned first followed by disinfection between refills.
  • Post additional posters as needed in high-visible locations to reinforce the message not to spread germs and cover your cough. Find printable resources here.
  • Practise proper respiratory etiquette. This includes coughing/sneezing into your sleeve or a tissue (not your hand). Wash hands with soap and water or ABHR immediately afterwards.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces regularly and more often when someone is ill. These include doorknobs, light switches, handrails, faucets, fridge handles, keyboards, and phones.
  • Never share items that come into contact with the mouth or nose such as toothbrushes, eating/drinking utensils, or cigarettes/smoking devices.
  • Personal grooming items should not be shared (like hand towels, combs, brushes, shaving equipment, and nail cutters). Personal items should be kept separate for each worker.
  • Only allow one person at a time to use shared spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom or TV room. If necessary, create a schedule for workers to use common spaces in shifts to maintain physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet apart from others). Reconfigure common spaces so seating ensures physical distancing. These areas should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Workers should not eat together unless physical distancing is possible. Try to get them to eat at different times or have workers eat meals in their own rooms. Be sure to clean all surfaces between meal seatings.
  • Remove shared food containers from dining areas (like pitchers of water, salt and pepper shakers).
  • Encourage workers to remain in their room as much as possible. If rooms are shared, workers should keep as far apart from each other to maintain the 2 metre (6 foot) distance requirement.
  • Arrange for the delivery of groceries and other personal items to reduce the need for workers to leave the farm.
  • Contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, if any of your workers screen positive for COVID-19 during your daily active screening.
  • Notify the Health Unit immediately if any migrant worker needs to leave the farm/isolation location for ANY reason during the 14-day isolation period. This could include seeking medical attention.
What To Do if a Worker Becomes Ill
  • If a worker reports or shows symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with the virus, immediately
    • Separate and self-isolate the individual from others
    • Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, for further direction
  • The worker must be isolated for 14 days in separate, dedicated quarters used for isolating sick employees
  • If a private accommodation is not possible, a symptomatic individual must have his/her own private bedroom and bathroom. Ensure:
    • The room has good airflow (open windows as weather permits)
    • The ill worker can be kept 2 metres away from others who are not sick
    • Workers wear a surgical/procedure mask if they are to leave their room.
    • Meals are brought to sick workers. If possible, use single-use cutlery or dishes and properly dispose of them in a garbage bag. If re-usable cutlery or dishes are used, avoid touching the items directly (such as placing them on a tray). Wash your hands with soap and water and immediately wash the dishes as well
    • Hand sanitizer is present in the room. If the room must be shared by more than one individual with confirmed COVID-19, they are not required to wear masks.
  • If the worker must be tested at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre, arrange private transportation by having the worker wear a surgical/procedure mask, sit alone in the backseat and open the car windows if possible. The driver should wear a mask.
  • In most cases, sick individuals can recover on the farm. They should be monitored several times a day to ensure symptoms do not worsen.
  • If the unwell worker gets worse and needs to go to the hospital because of severe symptoms (like severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up, confusion, loss of consciousness), call 9-1-1 and let responders know the person is suspected of having COVID-19.
Additional Recommendations for Agricultural Workplaces
  • Screen all workers upon arrival each day using screening criteria. Isolate any person with symptoms and conduct a further assessment.
  • Stagger meetings and breaks to minimize the number of workers in one place.
  • Designate travel paths so workers do not have to pass each other closely or have workers call out before entering a shared space.
  • Hold meetings outside or in a large area to allow people to stay apart 2-metres (6-feet).
  • Provide access to handwashing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers in prominent locations throughout the site. If hands are visibly dirty, they must be washed with soap and water.
  • Clean offices, washrooms, lunchrooms, trailers, workspaces and other shared spaces at least once a day. Focus on commonly touched surfaces such as pens, tools, radios, tables, chairs, handles, handrails, kettles, microwaves, and light switches.
  • Clean shared tools with alcohol or disinfectant wipes. Wear gloves if cleaning is not practical.
  • Assign one driver/operator per vehicle if possible. Clean and disinfect vehicles between uses (steering wheel, gear shift, controls, interior/exterior door handles, etc.)
  • Ensure farm employees are assigned to the same team/group/work pod that is separated from other individuals and teams.
  • Within the team/work pod, workers should maintain a 2 metre (6-foot) physical distance from others as best as possible. The need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be based on a risk assessment. Speak to the Health Unit for more guidance on PPE.

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