Last updated: April 7, 2020 at 3:06 p.m.

During Passover, Easter and Ramadan, please find creative ways to stay connected with family, friends and faith-based communities without visiting in person. Plan ahead for grocery shopping and consider donating to a local food bank.

The Government of Ontario has extended the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces, effective April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with possible extension as the situation evolves. Read the updated list of essential businesses.

Ontario businesses who have questions about the emergency order can call the province’s toll-free line: 1-888-444-3659.

Holidays, celebrations, and faith-based observances are normally an opportunity to spend time with family, friends, and the wider community and may include hosting a big meal, visiting extended family, or attending an important faith service.

Everyone is urged to follow provincial orders to close places of worship and restrict gatherings, and follow public health recommendations to remain at home, leaving only for essential reasons.

Spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being is important during these difficult times. Connect with loved ones, friends, and vulnerable members of the community online or by phone. Those feeling isolated or anxious are encouraged to seek mental health support.

Many places of worship are hosting services online and implementing innovative ways to connect their communities while staying physically apart. Check the website of a place of worship for information on online services and supports.

Those planning to mark an occasion with a special meal for members of their household should be mindful of the current situation in the wider community.

General advice for grocery shopping remains:

  • Grocery shop only one day per week and buy only what you need for up to two weeks
  • Respect store hours dedicated to seniors, vulnerable persons, and essential service workers (normally the first hour stores are open)
  • Have a list of items, shop efficiently, and do not casually browse
  • Do not touch food or products you are not intending to buy
  • Practise physical distancing
  • When possible, pay with a card or phone tap rather than cash

There are also many opportunities to foster the spirit holidays and special occasions through donations to local food banks. Residents who are able are encouraged to donate non-perishable food to food banks or drop off food donations at local fire halls.

The Government of Canada has prohibited foreign nationals, including U.S. nationals, from entering Canada for non-essential travel, which includes holidays and celebrations. Anyone that does enter the country, including Canadians returning from travel, is required, by law, to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether they have symptoms of COVID-19.

The Government of Ontario has ordered licenced child care centres to remain closed until April 13, 2020, according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time. Select centres designated to support frontline health care workers and first responders will remain open.

The Planning Guide for Day Nurseries identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

Toronto’s licensed child care system has more than 1,000 centres and 18 home child care agencies, including City-operated child care centres (Toronto Early Learning & Child Care Services) and community-operated child care programs. Learn about affected City-operated Children’s Services.

The Planning Guide for Colleges and Universities identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

Read Toronto Public Health’s General Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Practice and Disinfection Guidance for Commercial or Residential Buildings.

Health and Safety Measures for Landlords and Condo Boards

Landlords and Condo Boards are urged to adopt new health and safety measures to protect residents from COVID-19. Large residential buildings with a high number of units should adopt new practices and a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent viral spread.

Building operators and staff should follow these guidelines to protect residents in vertical communities:

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer or a hand washing station with soap and water should be placed at all building entrances.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be available in all common areas that remain open, such as laundry rooms.
  • Close non-essential common areas such as bathrooms, gyms, playrooms, playgrounds and other high traffic areas.
  • Routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in common areas, including doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screen surfaces and keypads, with common household cleaners and disinfectants.
  • Organize the building to accept deliveries of essential goods, like medications, for residents to avoid non-essential trips outside.
  • Post signage limiting the number of residents allowed in common areas, including laundry rooms and elevators, to ensure that individuals are able to maintain a two-metre distance. Consider allowing a maximum of three residents at a time in elevators.
  • When showing units or suites for sale or lease, practice physical distancing – keep a safe distance of two metres from the resident and wash hands with soap and water, and or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, before and after the visit.

Toronto Public Health has created visuals to educate residents and building staff about what physical distancing is, exercising physical distancing on elevators and in shared laundry rooms.

Landlords Entering a Rental Unit

Landlords are encouraged to request entry only in urgent situations (e.g. emergency repairs). When entry is still required, exercise physical distancing guidelines at all times and ensure proper hand hygiene before and after services.

Learn more about the provincial recommendations regarding entering a rental unit under current circumstances.

Closing of Communal or Shared Outdoor Recreational Amenities

The Province of Ontario has issued an order to close all outdoor recreational amenities even on private properties. This includes condo parks and gardens, benches, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, outdoor exercise equipment, and other outdoor recreational amenities landlords provide to their residents.

The Planning Guide for Community Agencies identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

The Planning Guide for Correctional Facilities identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Food Banks and Donation Centres.

Further guidance for food premises is available on the Ontario Ministry of Health’s website.

Read the Ontario Ministry of Health’s guidance for funeral and bereavement services.

In addition to the enhanced Infection, Prevention & Control (IPAC) and cleaning measures in City-owned facilities, Toronto Public Health (TPH), Support & Housing Administration (SSHA) have provided sector partners that operate shelters, respites, and drop-ins with interim guidelines to respond to COVID-19. See also the infection prevention and control tips for homelessness service setting providers.

The Planning Guide for Housing Service Providers and Shelters identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

The Government of Ontario has ordered all public schools closed until May 4, 2020 at which time the situation will be reassessed. Private schools will remain closed until April 13, 2020 according to the Declaration of Emergency, which only allows closures to be extended for one 14-day period at a time.

The Planning Guide for Schools identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Workplaces/Businesses and Employers and the World Health Organization’s Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19 fact sheet.

The Planning Guide for Businesses identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.

Read also Public Health Ontario’s guidance on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.