Last updated: July 2, 2020 at 3:45 p.m.

Certain businesses and workplaces may reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read Toronto Public Health’s guidelines for different types of organizations below. Also read the Planning Guide for Reopening Toronto Businesses and Workplaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Risk Assessment and Mitigation Guide for Community Non-Profit Services and Programs.

 

The Government of Ontario declared a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This declaration of emergency was last extended on June 24, 2020 and is currently in effect until July 15, 2020. On June 27, the Government of Ontario extended all emergency orders currently in force under this declaration until July 10, 2020. The Province has also issued temporary emergency orders to support the immediate needs of hospitals and health care workers so manage critical health care human resources during COVID-19.

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

Learn about economic support and recovery for businesses.

Download printable posters and information cards for your setting to share messages about how to stay safe during COVID-19.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Workplaces/Businesses and Employers (also available below) and Four Step Public Health Planning Guide for Reopening Toronto Businesses and Workplaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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.

Learn about supports available for businesses.

Resources


COVID-19 Guidance for Employers, Workplaces and Businesses

This document provides guidance for employers to protect employees and customers from COVID-19 in a non-health care workplace or place of business. Strategies can be adapted to meet the needs of different environments.

More information about COVID-19 can be found in the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Develop a plan to protect employees

  • Make plans to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Check the other resources listed at the bottom of this document for information specific to your sector (e.g. food processing, construction, retail, manufacturing).
  • Plans should address the following topics:
    • Attendance policies
    • Screening employees
    • Physical distancing measures
    • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    • Environmental cleaning and disinfection
    • Use of personal preventive equipment (PPE)
    • Managing cases of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • Discuss and share your plan with everyone at work, including employees, supervisors, health and safety representatives, unions, contractors, and suppliers.
  • Maintain up-to-date information for all employees, including contact information, shift assignments, attendance records, and delivery logs to assist Toronto Public Health with contact tracing if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace.
    • Daily logs of customers with their contact information (e.g. appointment or reservation lists and registration logs) will also assist with public health contact tracing.

Train employees

  • All employees should be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19. Visit our webpage to learn about the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Train employees to ensure they are aware of, and can implement plans, to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Train employees on the proper use of personal protective equipment.
  • Share information in all languages spoken by your employees, if possible.

Have flexible policies for employee attendance and hours

  • Remind employees about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor.
  • Do not allow employees who are sick to come to work. If an employee becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms while at work, they should go home right away and self-isolate.
  • Instruct employees to call Telehealth, their health care provider, and/or a visit an Assessment Centre for testing if they are sick.
  • Maintain flexible policies so employees can stay home if they are sick, if they must care for a sick family member, or if they must self-isolate because they were in close contact with a person with COVID-19.
  • Establish criteria for returning to work. In general, employees are able to return to work 14 days after their symptoms start if they had COVID-19. There are no tests of clearance that are required to return to work. Be flexible about needing a doctor’s note.
  • Non-essential work travel should be avoided.Travellers entering Canada will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after return from travel anywhere outside of Canada. Healthy individuals that cross the border and are deemed essential employees are exempt from self-isolation but must self-monitor for symptoms.
  • Make plans to operate with different levels of employee absenteeism due to illness, ill-dependants, or for child care during school closures.
  • Plan business functions, jobs, roles and critical elements within your business that have been identified to be essential or critical when restrictions are in place or if staffing levels are reduced.

Conduct screening prior to entering the workplace

  • Employees should complete a health screening questionnaire before each work shift.
  • The questions can be completed on a paper-based questionnaire, asked directly to employees and answers recorded, or completed electronically.
  • Individuals who answer YES to any of the questions must not be permitted to enter the workplace. Refer these individuals to our website to learn about assessment centres and testing.
  • Consider screening customers and other visitors prior to entry to a workplace. If this is not feasible, display posters at entrances telling people that they must not enter if they have symptoms.

Maintain physical distancing

  • Employees should keep two metres/six feet from other employees and customers as much as possible.
  • Ensure employees maintain physical distancing while in the lunch room, change rooms, meeting rooms, and other common areas.
  • Consider scheduling and administrative changes to reduce the number of employees present at the same time, such as:
    • Teleworking options, if available
    • Staggering work shifts and breaks
    • Flexible work hours and schedules
    • Virtual meetings
  • If employees are carpooling, encourage them to limit the number of passengers in their car, ensure they do not drive/ride if they are sick, and follow guidance for ride-share vehicles.
  • Manage entrance, flow and capacity of employees and customers:
    • Limit the number of people entering the building or in common areas (e.g. lunch rooms, change rooms, meeting rooms) at one time.
    • Use visual markers/cues spaced two metres/six feet apart (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) if there may be close contact between employees (e.g. on a production line) or between employees and customers (e.g. check-out lines)
      • Alternatively, a protective barrier (e.g. plexiglass) may be installed.
    • Remove surplus furniture and supplies from rooms and walkways to allow ease of movement while maintaining physical distancing.
    • Provide services by phone whenever possible.
    • Use outdoor space whenever possible.
    • Assign workstations to a single user if possible, or limit the number of users.
    • Maintain line management. Use public announcement systems or have employees remind everyone to stay two metres/six feet apart.
    • Use tap features at checkout instead of cash.
    • For mail, product or curb-side delivery, follow contact-less delivery.
  • Post Physical Distancing signs at all entrances, in employees rooms, in elevators, and in public areas (e.g. cashiers, service counters).

Support and encourage proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Educate employees on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
    • Clean hands thoroughly with liquid soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds frequently throughout the day.
    • Hand sanitizers (70-90% alcohol concentration) can be used provided hands are not visibly soiled.
    • Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer in dispensers for employees and customers to use.
  • Employers should monitor hand hygiene supplies to ensure adequate amounts of liquid soap, paper towel, hand sanitizer, tissues, and waste receptacles lined with plastic bags.
  • Post Wash your Hands, Cover your Cough, and Hand Sanitizing signage in highly visible areas throughout the workplace, and in public and employee bathrooms.

Implement enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection practices

  • Ensure cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces at least twice a day and more frequently as needed. High-touch surfaces include items such as door handles, counters, cabinet doors, elevator buttons, light switches, faucets, toilet handles, hand rails, touch screen surfaces, and keypads.
  • Equipment and tools that must be shared should be cleaned and disinfected regularly, including between users (e.g. cashier’s stations, machinery).
  • Refer to Health Canada’s list of hard surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) for information on disinfectants:
    • Disinfectants must 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 dates of products and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Educate employees on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants:
    • Required disinfectant contact times (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Safety precautions and required personal protective equipment.
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • It is strongly recommended to assign or designate employees to conduct environmental cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.

Use personal protective equipment

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) can be used to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Personal protective equipment is not a substitute for the other required preventive measures such as proper hand hygiene and physical distancing.
  • In non-health care settings, non-medical or cloth masks are strongly recommended for employees when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Wearing a non-medical mask will protect others from the wearer’s respiratory droplets and germs.
  • Employees should receive clear instructions on the proper use of masks, including when and how to safely put on and take off a mask.
  • Consider providing non-medical or cloth masks to customers if they are receiving a service where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Employees should use gloves if it is anticipated that hands will come into contact with bodily fluids, broken skin, mucous membranes, contaminated equipment or environmental surfaces.
  • Proper hand hygiene should be practiced before and after removing masks and gloves, if used.

If there is a case of COVID-19 in the workplace

  • The role of Toronto Public Health (TPH) is to:
    • Receive reports of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 from health care providers, laboratories, and institutions (e.g. child care centres, hospitals, long-term care homes).
    • Conduct an investigation to determine where the person with COVID-19 may have acquired the infection and whom they may have come into close contact with (contact tracing).
    • If the person with COVID-19 was at the workplace while contagious, TPH will interview the employee, and if necessary, the employer, to determine who the person may have come into contact with while at work.
      • Consent is obtained from the employee before disclosing personal health information to the employer.
      • If the person with COVID-19 did not work while contagious, it may not be necessary for TPH to contact the employer.
    • Manage multiple cases occurring at a workplace (outbreak), including determining whether there is ongoing transmission at the workplace.
    • Advise the employer of additional preventive measures needed to reduce the risk of infection to others in the workplace (e.g. instructions for workplace contacts to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, referral of other employees for testing, increase cleaning and disinfection).
    • Determine when self-isolation of the case and their close contacts is no longer required. Tests for clearance to return to work are not necessary.
    • Work with the employer to communicate with employees. A public notification may be required if TPH does not have the information needed to identify and reach customers who may have been exposed to a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection.
  • Role of employers:
    • Contact TPH at 416-338-7600 for further guidance if you have been notified that an employee has tested positive and/or you have concerns that employees may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the workplace.
    • Clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have been touched by the ill employee as soon as possible.
    • Provide TPH with contact information of exposed employees and customers to assist with contact tracing.
    • Follow public health guidance on additional preventive measures.
    • Support employees who are required to be absent from work due to illness or being a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    • Maintain confidentiality of employees’ personal health information.
    • Report to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) if you have been advised that one of your employees has tested positive due to exposure at the workplace.
    • Communicate with employees and business partners early and often to ensure accurate information is being shared.

More Information

Please visit our website at toronto.ca/COVID19 for updated information or call us at 416-338-7600.

Other Resources

Toronto Public Health: COVID-19: Community & Workplace Settings (includes sector-specific guidance)

Province of Ontario: Develop Your COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan

Province of Ontario: Guidance to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace (includes sector-specific guidance)

Province of Ontario: COVID-19 Support for Businesses

Government of Canada: COVID-19: Your Rights and Responsibilities as an Employee

Government of Canada: Risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety: COVID-19 Tip Sheets

 

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 related to places of worship, and follow public health recommendations for physical distancing, and to remain at home as much as possible, 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, offering drive-in services, and implementing innovative ways to connect their communities while staying physically apart. Check the website of your place of worship for more information on services and supports they are offering.

Grocery Shopping for Occasions

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
  • Practice physical distancing
  • When possible, pay with a card or phone tap rather than cash

Food Donations

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.

Non-essential Travel

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 City of Toronto is beginning a phased approach to reopening City-run licensed child care centres starting on June 29 with the enhanced health and safety measures laid out by the Province of Ontario. Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Child Care Settings (also available below and in French) and the Ministry of Education’s operational guidance for reopening child care centres for more information.

Toronto Children’s Services offers training modules and other resources to support child care centres in preparing for reopening.

Resources


COVID-19: Guidance for Child Care Settings

The following recommendations are intended to help child care operators and staff (including home care providers) working in both child care centres and home child care reduce the spread of COVID-19. The recommendations and guidance provided in this document must be used to develop infection prevention and control (IPAC) policies and procedures. Child care operators must ensure that appropriate IPAC measures are implemented and maintained in order to provide safe and healthy child care services. This document must be used in addition to Toronto Public Health’s Infection Prevention and Control in Child Care Centres Requirements and Best Practices Document. In the event of any differences between the guidance in this document and the Toronto Public Health Infection Prevention and Control in Child Care Requirements and Best Practices document, the recommendations in this document must be used.

More information about COVID-19 can be found in the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Recommendations for Child Care Operators and Staff to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

Before Re-Opening

Develop/update administrative and infection prevention and control (IPAC) policies and procedures
  • Develop and/or update administrative and IPAC policies and procedures to include mitigation measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19-related policies and procedures must address the following topics:
    • Screening and temperature checks
    • Attendance reporting
    • Cohorting staff and children
    • Physical distancing
    • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    • Food safety practices
    • Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection
    • Requirements for the use of toys, equipment and other materials
    • Use of personal protective equipment
    • Isolation/exclusion of ill children and child care staff
    • Management of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19
    • Communication with families/guardians and other stakeholders
    • Occupational health and safety.
Train Staff
  • All child care staff must be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19. Visit our webpage to learn about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Train staff to ensure they are aware of and can implement the revised IPAC policies and procedures.
  • Train staff on proper use of personal protective equipment. Refer to Public Health Ontario
Prepare Physical Space
  • Designate drop-off and pick-up locations outside, near the main area of child care centre.
    • If this is not feasible for home child care operators, then they should arrange to use an area or space where physical distancing of two metres/six feet can be maintained.
  • Designate an area outside near the main entrance as a screening station for in-person screening.
    • The area should be clearly identifiable as the screening station.
    • Post signs in a visible location clearly explaining the screening process and the rules and conditions for entry (see the Posters for Entrances as an example).
    • The area must allow for a minimum of two metres/six feet distance between staff conducting in-person screening and the individual being screened. Alternatively, a protective barrier (e.g. plexiglass) may be equipped around the screening station.
    • Use visual markers/cues spaced two metres/six feet apart (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) to assist children and parents/guardians to maintain a two metre distance from each other if waiting to be screened.
  • Download, print and post signs in a visible location at the designated screening station to raise awareness about health and safety measures that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as:
  • In the child care centre, increase space between seating and play areas so that children and staff can main a distance of two metres/six feet apart:
    • Remove extra chairs, tables and furniture to increase space in the area to allow children to spread out.
    • Place tape, signs or other visual markers on floors, tables, seats and other play areas to help both child care staff and children visually maintain physical distancing.

During Active Operation

Conduct daily screening and temperature checks of all individuals prior to entry/drop-off
  • Remind staff and parents/guardians of children attending the child care centre/home that they must not attend the child care program when they are ill, and that they should report any symptoms associated with COVID-19 to the child care operator.
  • Actively screen and check the temperature of children, child care staff and any other individuals prior to entry/arrival to the child care centre/home child care setting.
    • If this is not be feasible for home child care operators, screening and temperature checks may be conducted prior to arrival over the telephone or by using video conferencing. These arrangements may be made in advance with the child’s parent/guardian.
    • Prior to receiving children into care, home child care operators must also conduct daily screening of other people residing in the home, regardless of whether they participate in home child care activities.
  • Screen all parents/guardians, their children, child care staff and residents where applicable prior to entry by asking about the following:
    • Do you/the child or any member of your household have any of the following symptoms: fever/feverish, new onset of cough, worsening chronic cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, decrease or loss of sense of taste or smell, chills, headaches, unexplained fatigue/malaise/muscle aches, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pink eye (conjunctivitis), runny nose/nasal congestion without other known cause?
    • Have you/the child travelled outside of Canada, including the United States, within the last 14 days?
    • Have you/the child had close contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case?
    • Have you/the child had close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been outside Canada, including the United States, in the last 14 days?
  • Record screening results daily.
    • Operators may use and/or adapt the health screening questionnaire as a screening tool and to record individual screening results.
    • Keep all screening records available onsite.
  • Make hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) available at the screening stations for individuals who have answered NO to all questions for use prior to entry.
  • Individuals who answer YES to any of the questions must not be permitted to enter the child care centre/home.
    • If any person living in a home of a home child care answers YES to any of the questions, the home cannot receive children into care.
    • Refer these individuals to visit our website to learn about assessment centres and testing.
  • Staff must escort children into the child care center/home after screening. Parents must not go past the screening area or enter the child care centre/home unless there is a specific need to do so.
Enhance attendance reporting practices for children, child care staff and all other individuals entering the child care centre/home
  • Maintain daily attendance records of all individuals entering the child care centre/home. This includes, but is not limited to, maintenance workers, cleaning/environmental staff, food service workers and government agency employees (e.g. public health inspectors, fire inspectors).
  • Records should include the following information: name, company, contact information, date, time of arrival/departure, reason for visit, rooms/areas visited, screening and temperature check results.
  • Records must be updated when a child, child care provider or staff person is absent.
  • Child care operators should follow-up with all individuals to determine the reason for any unplanned absences, and determine if the absence is due to illness to note any symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat, cough).
  • Encourage parents/guardians of ill children and ill or unwell child care staff to seek COVID-19 testing at assessment centres, and to call Telehealth or their primary care provider to determine if further care is required.
  • Non-essential visitors must not be permitted to enter the child care centre/home.
  • Monitor attendance records for patterns or trends (e.g. children and child care staff in the same group or cohort absent at the same time or over the course of a few days).
  • Attendance records must be available on-site at all times.
Assign child care staff and children into designated cohorts
  • Maximum cohort size for each room in the child care centre must consist of no more than 10 individuals if available space permits physical distancing. This includes both child care staff and children:
    • There are no changes to the maximum group size for home child care which allows for a maximum of six children, not including the home child care operator’s own children aged four years or older.
  • Child care staff and children must be assigned to designated cohorts or groups.
  • Cohorts must be designated to a specific “home room” or area.
  • Programming must be planned in a manner that prevents cohorts from mixing throughout the day and over the course of the child care program/session.
  • Stagger/alternate scheduling including:
    • drop-off and pick-up times to prevent parents/guardians from gathering or grouping together
    • snack times and lunch/meal times
    • use of outdoor playgrounds and play spaces (dedicated to the child care) by different cohorts.
  • Where different cohorts are using the same indoor area (e.g. gymnasium) child care staff must ensure that physical distancing is maintained and that the groups do not mix.
    • Consider using temporary physical barriers to prevent mixing of groups.
  • Staffing should be sufficient to have multiple staff assigned to one room consistently over the course of the day, and not need to move to other rooms.
  • Child care operators should not reassign child care staff to different centres.
  • Child care staff should avoid covering off for colleagues assigned to different cohorts or working in different rooms/areas during lunches or breaks as best as possible:
    • If a child care staff must cover off for a colleague in a different cohort/room (e.g. during breaks) they must do so in a manner that maintains physical distancing as best as possible, and they should use a non-medical face mask or face covering.
Practice physical distancing
  • Practice physical distancing as best as possible to maintain a two metre/six feet distance between staff and children.
  • Physical distancing must not compromise supervision or a child’s safety.
  • Encourage children to greet each other using non-physical gestures (e.g. wave or nod or a verbal “Hello”) and to avoid close greetings (e.g. hugs, handshakes).
  • Regularly remind children to keep “hands to yourself”.
  • Reinforce no sharing policies and procedures. This includes the current practice of not sharing food, water bottles or other personal items.
  • Limit the number and types of personal items that can be brought into the child care setting and provide individual cubbies or bins for each child’s belongings.
  • Personal items must be clearly labelled with the child’s name to prevent accidental sharing.
  • Plan activities that encourage individual play and increase space between children.
  • Avoid activities that involve shared objects or toys.
  • Avoid activities involving singing, shouting, or speaking loudly indoors.
  • Increase the distance between cots/resting mats and cribs. If space is limited, place children head-to-toe or toe-to-toe.
Practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) provided hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • Provide additional hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) stations (e.g. wall mounted hand sanitizer dispensers) in supervised areas where children cannot access it independently.
  • Child care staff must ensure that proper hand hygiene is practiced often and when necessary (e.g. before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after covering a cough or sneeze). This includes supervising and/or assisting children with hand hygiene.
  • Child care operators must monitor hand hygiene supplies to ensure adequate amounts of liquid soap, paper towel, hand sanitizer, tissues, and waste receptacles lined with plastic bags.
Modify food safety practices for snacks meals/lunch time
  • Child care operators must modify meal practices to ensure that there is no self-serving or sharing of food at meal times.
  • Meals must be served in individual portions to the children.
  • Utensils must be used to serve food.
  • Do not provide shared utensils or items (e.g. serving spoons, condiments).
  • Children must not be allowed to prepare nor provide food that will be shared with others.
  • There must be no food provided by the family/outside of the regular meal provision of the program (except where required and special precautions for handling and serving the food are put into place, e.g., expressed breast milk).
  • Ensure proper hand hygiene is practiced when staff are preparing food, and for all individuals before and after eating.
Implement enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfecting practices
  • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings fact sheet.
  • Refer to Health Canada’s lists of hard surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) for information on disinfectants:
    • Disinfectants must 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 dates of products and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Chlorine bleach solutions may also be used for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
  • Prepare chlorine bleach solutions according to the instructions on the label or in a ratio of:
    • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) bleach per cup (250 mL) of water, or
    • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) bleach per litre (1000 mL) of water.
    • Ensure a minimum of two minutes contact time and allow to air dry.
    • Prepare fresh bleach solutions daily.
  • Educate staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants:
    • Required disinfectant contact times (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • It is strongly recommended to assign or designate staff to conduct environmental cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.
  • Clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces and objects (e.g. doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, sink faucets and tabletops) at least twice a day or when visibly dirty.
  • Clean and disinfect individual items that may be handled by more than one individual such as electronic devices, toys and balls between users.
  • Cots and cribs must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Maintain logs to track cleaning and disinfecting activities for each room/area, individual/play items and sleeping equipment such as cots and cribs.
  • If the child care program is located in a shared space (e.g. a school) make arrangements with other users/stakeholders to ensure enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices can be maintained (i.e. frequency of cleaning appropriate disinfecting agents are used).
Requirements for the use of toys, equipment and other materials
  • Provide toys and equipment that are made of materials that can be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Do not use plush toys.
  • Assign specific toys and play structures to one cohort if possible:
    • Consider using identification systems to prevent the sharing of items between cohorts (e.g. colour coding).
  • Large play structures must only be used by one cohort at a time.
  • Toys and large play structures (e.g. indoor play structures, playhouses, climbers) must be cleaned and disinfected between cohorts:
    • Consider using wipes to disinfect equipment and play structures that are too large for a sink or a dishwasher.
  • Mouthed toys must be separated, cleaned and disinfected immediately after the child has finished using it.
  • Clean and disinfect toys in a three compartment sink. Toys must be washed and rinsed prior to disinfection. Using two sinks is acceptable if washing and rinsing are done in the first sink.
  • Alternatively, toys can be cleaned and disinfected in a mechanical dishwasher provided that the rinse cycle reaches a minimum of 82 degrees Celsius. Only use the dishwasher in the kitchen when it is not being used for any other purposes (i.e. washing dishes, food preparation).
  • Ensure required disinfectant contact times are achieved or alternatively allow toys to air dry.
  • Dry toys in a designated area that is separate from bathrooms, change tables and protected from sources of contamination.
  • Suspend group sensory play activities.
  • Provide individualized bins or packs for art materials and supplies for each child. Label these bins to prevent sharing.
Use personal protective equipment
  • Child care operators must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by staff when necessary.
  • It is strongly recommended that child care operators maintain a one to two week supply of PPE at all times.
  • Staff must wear a surgical mask and eye protection (e.g. goggles, face shield):
    • In the screening area, when screening or escorting children to child care area.
    • When cleaning and disinfecting blood or bodily fluid spills if there is a risk of splashing or droplets.
    • When caring for a sick child or a child showing symptoms of illness.
  • Staff must wear a mask (medical or non-medical) or face covering at other times when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including, but not limited to:
    • Providing direct care (e.g. feeding, assisting a child with hand hygiene, diapering).
    • Consoling an upset child.
    • Assisting a child with dressing or changing clothes.
  • Gloves must be worn when it is anticipated that hands will come into contact with mucous membranes, broken skin, tissue, blood, bodily fluids, secretions, excretions, contaminated equipment or environmental surfaces.
  • Use blankets over clothing if holding or carrying infants or toddlers. Change the blankets or cloths between children.
Isolate children and child care staff that become ill while attending the child care centre
  • It is recommended that child care staff and children with symptoms of COVID-19 attend an assessment centre for testing as soon as possible, and to self-isolate at home until their result is available.
  • If a child becomes ill with symptoms while in care, immediately separate them from the rest of their group in a designated room (or space in a home child care setting) and supervise the child until they are picked-up.
  • Notify parents/guardians or emergency contacts to pick up the ill child as soon as possible.
  • The designated room/space must have a handwashing sink or hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) available.
  • Provide tissues to the ill child to help support respiratory etiquette.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area if it can be done so safely.
  • Children older than two years should wear a mask (if tolerated) and they are able to use it properly (e.g. donning and doffing carefully, avoiding touching while on).
  • Child care staff supervising the ill child should maintain physical distancing as best as possible and wear personal protective equipment including surgical mask.
  • Clean and disinfect the area immediately after the child with symptoms has been sent home.
  • Child care staff and children who were exposed to an individual who became ill with symptoms (i.e. suspected COVID-19 case) must continue to be grouped together (i.e. cohorted) and monitored for signs and symptoms of illness:
    • Supervisors must inform parents/guardians of children who were exposed to the ill child, and advise that they should monitor their child for symptoms.
    • Child care staff must not work in other child care settings. They must also be advised to avoid being in contact with vulnerable person or settings where there are vulnerable persons.
  • Child care staff and children exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 must be excluded from the child care setting for 14 days:
    • These individuals must self-isolate at home and monitor for symptoms for the next 14 days.
    • Individuals who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 should get tested as soon as any symptoms develop.
    • If asymptomatic, individuals who have been exposed are also encouraged to get tested any time within 14 days of the potential exposure. They will need to continue to self-isolate for 14 days even if the test is negative.
  • Child care staff and children who are being managed by Toronto Public Health (TPH) (e.g. confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, close contacts of cases) must follow TPH instructions to determine when to return to the child care centre/home:
    • Staff must also report to their occupational health and safety department prior to return to work when applicable.
    • Clearance tests are not required for staff or children to return to the child care centre.
Report cases and outbreaks to Toronto Public Health
  • Child care centres must immediately report the following to TPH by contacting the surveillance unit at 416-392-7411 during work hours (8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday) or 3-1-1 after hours:
    • Clusters of suspected cases (e.g. two or more children or staff with COVID-19 symptoms within a 48-hour period).
    • Cases of COVID-19 among staff or child attendees that are laboratory-confirmed or probable (symptoms occurring among a staff or child who has been exposed to a person with confirmed COVID-19).
Modify and increase communication with families/guardians and other stakeholders
  • Develop and implement communication platforms to provide program information and protocols on health and safety measures (e.g. screening practices, physical distancing, staying home if you’re sick). Communication platforms may include the websites, email, or social media accounts.
  • Use telephone or video conferencing when possible for meetings between child care staff and with parents/guardians.
  • Post signs at all entrances instructing participants and their families not to enter if they are sick.
  • Communicate with stakeholders such as building owners/property managers (e.g. child care programs that operate in shared spaces in schools or apartment buildings) on a routine basis to provide updates about policies and procedures and to align any gaps or concerns regarding IPAC practices.
  • Toronto Public Health will provide further advice about information that should be shared with other staff and parents/guardians in the event there is a case or outbreak of COVID-19 in the child care setting.
Worker Health and Safety
  • Employers must provide written measures and procedures for staff safety, including for IPAC.
  • Ontario has general information on COVID-19 and workplace health and safety on employers’ responsibilities and how to protect workers at work.
  • Workers can also get information about health and safety protections at the workplace.
  • Additional health and safety guidance for employers of child care centres is available from the Public Services Health & Safety Association website.

Emergency Child Care

The City of Toronto has the authority and discretion to determine emergency child care needs. At this time, emergency child care centres are located in existing City-run child care facilities, and are operated and staffed by City of Toronto child care workers.

Community-operated child care centres cannot operate in Toronto as emergency child care. If required, the City will work closely with our provincial and community partners to determine how this service may be expanded to include other licensed child care centres that can meet Toronto Public Health and Occupational Health and Safety requirements.

Toronto’s Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers adheres to the following guidelines, policies and procedures:

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.

Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Commercial or Residential Buildings (also available below) provides recommendations to help reduce the risk of exposures to acute respiratory illness, including COVID-19, in buildings such as hotels, condominiums, apartment buildings and other similar vertical living spaces.

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 (also available in Simplified Chinese).

Read also Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Cooling Rooms in multi-unit residential buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic, and tips for staying healthy in hot weather.

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.

Communal or Shared Outdoor Recreational Amenities

The Province of Ontario has issued an order to close certain outdoor recreational amenities even on private properties. This includes outdoor playgrounds, pools, exercise equipment, and other outdoor recreational amenities landlords provide to their residents.

Learn more about current parks amenities closures and openings in Toronto.


COVID-19 Guidance for Commercial and Residential Buildings

The following are recommendations to help reduce the risk of exposures to acute respiratory illness including COVID-19 in buildings such as hotels, condominiums, apartment buildings and other similar vertical living spaces. This document may be updated as the situation is rapidly changing, and new information becomes available. For more general information about COVID-19, visit www.toronto.ca/COVID19.

COVID-19 is circulating in the community in Toronto. Owners and operators of commercial and residential buildings should consider the public health guidelines below, as well as City of Toronto and provincial requirements. Owners and operators must ensure that they stay up-to-date on and comply with any current provincial orders (e.g. limits on size of gatherings), City of Toronto orders, directives, and bylaws (e.g. maintaining and enforcing physical distancing, and mandatory mask/face coverings). For information on the opening of non-essential common areas, refer to the Reopening Ontario website.

Promote Infection Prevention and Control Practices

Provide education
Practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Make alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) available at entrances and in common areas, including, but not limited to, bathrooms, laundry rooms, gyms and playrooms, and other high traffic areas
  • Encourage staff, tenants, and visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available.
Accessing building outdoor amenities (e.g. communal gardens, BBQ/picnic areas)
  • Implement a scheduling system for use of amenities, as appropriate:
    • Schedule access through use of designated timeslots.
    • Ensure staff/residents/guests are aware of and complying with various emergency orders, directives and bylaws related to gathering sizes and physical distancing.
    • Ensure extra time between timeslots to allow for necessary cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and equipment (e.g. barbeque equipment).
    • Ensure markers (e.g. floor markings, pylons) are placed, as appropriate, to encourage appropriate physical distancing while using amenities.
  • Provide education to staff/residents/guests, in advance, about COVID-19 and when to stay home.
  • Designate and clearly mark specific, separate entrances and exits for each visitor as appropriate, and only permit entry and exit through these doors.
  • Keep doors and windows open, where possible, to minimize the touching of door handles and increase ventilation, while maintaining the appropriate security.
Use non-medical face masks and coverings
  • The use of non-medical/cloth masks are strongly recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • See our website for the proper use of masks and how to safely put on and take off a mask and for information about the City bylaw as it applies to common spaces in hotels and motels, and premises used for open houses. Buildings not covered by the bylaw such as apartment buildings and condos can develop a policy for mask usage in common areas.
Practice physical distancing
  • Physical distancing means keeping a distance of two meters (six feet) from others.
  • Property management should assess whether an impending service request is essential, and to postpone the service if it is not urgent.
  • Property management should provide advanced notification to tenant of impending work.
  • Staff carrying out essential work should do so in a separate room if the tenant is home, or keeping a physical distance between the staff and guests/tenant.
  • In house food services preparing food for room service should use single-use containers and cutlery.
  • Room service staff should not interact with hotel guests and should leave food orders at the door and be picked up by the guests.
Advice for management and staff
  • Review the guidance for workplaces, businesses and employers.
  • Ensure residents can receive deliveries of essential goods, like medications and groceries/meals, at their unit door so they can avoid non-essential trips outside. Some residents may be self-isolating, and as a result will be unable to leave their units.
  • Ensure staff stay home if sick. Employees or contracted workers who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to not come to work, and to seek appropriate medical attention.
  • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible. For example, relax requirements for sick notes, and allow staff to stay home to care for sick family members.
  • Encourage good infection control in the workplace. Encourage frequent hand hygiene and physical distancing in the work place and/or the use of a non-medical mask if social distancing is not feasible when around other workers.
  • Any required meetings such as annual general meetings, condo board meetings, or hearings that typically take place in person should be carried out using alternative methods such as video conferencing.
  • Staff should be encouraged to wear a non-medical mask during a visit into a tenant’s unit as it be an additional protective measure when indoors and if in close contact with others.
Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection:
  • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings fact sheet.
  • Refer to Health Canada’s lists of hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Building operators and staff should follow these guidelines when cleaning and disinfecting the building environment:
  • Assign or designate staff to conduct environmental cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19.
  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated. Ensure cleaning staff clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in common areas. In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty. Examples include doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, and hand rails.
  • 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.
  • In addition to routine cleaning, check with your organization for any specific protocols for cleaning COVID-19.
  • Cleaning staff should use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, according to existing policies and procedures, as well as following label directions for all cleaning products.
  • Encourage and support proper handwashing by keeping washroom facilities stocked with soap and paper towels at all times, and ensure custodian staff keep hand washing sinks in a state of good repair.
  • There is no evidence to suggest that building waste needs any additional disinfection.

Additional Considerations in Response to Current Cases of COVID-19

  • Confirmed and suspect cases of COVID-19 are reported by health care providers and laboratories to public health. Workplaces other than health care settings do not need to report to public health.
  • Maintain confidentiality of residents’ personal health information if you are aware that a resident has COVID-19 or is a close contact of a person with COVID-19.
  • Public health will perform a risk assessment for all exposures.
  • Public health will provide advice regarding any other measures that the workplace or staff may need to take to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Unless advised by Toronto Public Health through the above assessment, there are no restrictions or special measures required for contacts of suspected cases of COVID-19 in the setting.

Read Toronto Public Health’s guidance for reopening community agencies.

Toronto Public Health has developed directions for community and allotment gardens on City property to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 for individuals using these gardens. Anyone using a community or allotment garden must do so in accordance with these directions. Garden managers and gardeners must also complete this declaration, which confirms their commitment to following these Toronto Public Health directions.

Every person visiting a garden must complete the self-assessment for COVID-19 on the Ontario Ministry of Health website (also available as a PDF). If they do not pass the assessment they should not participate in community gardening until they pass the assessment and do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Toronto Public Health has developed a sample members list for garden managers.

Learn more about City of Toronto community and allotment gardens.

Community and allotment gardens on private property are also strongly encouraged to follow these directions to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 for individuals using their gardens.

COVID-19 Guidance for Community & Allotment Gardens

On April 25, 2020, the provincial government amended its Emergency Order to allow community and allotment gardens to operate. Community gardens exist on both City of Toronto and private property. Allotment gardens are permitted through the City of Toronto and are located on City property. In this document, garden member refers to gardeners at community gardens and allotment gardens.

As of April 30, 2020, there continues to be community spread of COVID-19. Toronto Public Health (TPH) has a role to protect the health of all residents, and public health measures are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This document provides interim directions for community and allotment gardens to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 for individuals using these gardens. Any person that uses community or allotment gardens must do so in accordance with these directions. While it is recognized that these instructions will take effort on the part of garden members and managers, given the current spread of infection there is risk that needs to be managed by individuals participating in community and allotment gardens. It is important that garden members and managers commit to following these directions for their own health and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the general public.

The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is greater in older adults, individuals with a weak immune system, and individuals with a pre-existing medical condition. Toronto Public Health strongly encourages residents who are at higher risk of contracting and becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 infection, such as those over the age of 70, to self-isolate, limit interaction with others, and to stay home as much as possible. If you are an older adult (aged 70+), an individual with a weak immune system, or an individual with a medical condition it is recommended that you not participate in community gardens.

Infection prevention and control measures to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 are as follows:

Reduce the risk of transmission

  • Stay at home when you are ill.
  • Practice physical distancing, and maintain a two metre (six feet) distance from others when at the garden.
  • Respect the provincial Emergency Order that prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people when at the garden.

Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Prior to entering or exiting the gardens, every person must wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds. If warm water is not available, wash your hands with cold water and soap and then apply hand sanitizer.
  • If hands are visibly soiled, handwashing with soap and water is preferred.
  • If soap and water are not available, hands must be wiped clean before applying an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Declaration from garden manager and garden members

  • Each garden manager and garden member must sign the Toronto Public Health Community and Allotment Garden Declaration, which states that garden managers and members must adhere to the interim directions.
  • Signed and dated declarations for all members of community gardens must be kept by community garden managers and must be made available to TPH upon request in order to investigate a positive case of COVID-19, should one be detected.
  • Signed and dated declarations are required before a garden member can participate in an allotment garden in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Self-screening

  • Every person visiting a garden must complete the self-assessment for COVID-19 on the Ontario Ministry of Health website. If they do not pass the assessment they should not participate in community gardening until they pass the assessment and do not have symptoms of COVID-19. Gardeners can visit the City’s website to determine if further care is required and to learn about assessment centres.
  • All garden members and managers should be aware of symptoms of COVID-19, including:
    • fever
    • cough
    • difficulty breathing
    • muscle aches and tiredness
    • sore throat
    • headache
    • runny nose
    • new loss of taste or smell

Entrance Restrictions

  • Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or has had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 cannot enter a community or allotment garden.
  • No visitors are permitted to community or allotment gardens.
  • Access to the garden is only permitted to plant, maintain and harvest food. No events, training, or other programming is allowed.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Requirements

  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect high traffic areas, and frequently touched surfaces and objects (e.g. entrances/exits, tool sheds, water spigots and hoses, waste containers, and common areas).
  • High touch surfaces and items in common areas must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • In general, regular household cleaners such as bleach, or alcohol-based solutions are acceptable.
  • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings document.

Equipment and Tools Requirements

  • Avoid sharing tools and equipment, if possible.
  • If you must share tools and equipment, disinfect after each use.
  • Do not share gardening gloves.
  • Gardening gloves should be laundered after each use.
  • Gardening gloves are recommended as a way to maintain good hand hygiene while gardening.

Required Signage

Communications

  • Community garden managers must:
    • provide information to garden members to ensure they are familiar with symptoms of COVID-19
    • create a schedule to minimize crowding at the garden and to understand who was at the garden when to assist with contact tracing, if someone develops COVID-19
    • maintain an up-to-date list of members, including contact information
    • communicate with members frequently about these guidelines.

Gardeners who become ill while at the garden

  • People who become ill with COVID-19 symptoms while at the garden should go home immediately, in a private vehicle if possible, and self-isolate. They should also review the City of Toronto website for more information about COVID-19.
  • If a garden member or manager tests positive for COVID-19, TPH will follow-up with close contacts who may include other garden members. Other garden members who came in close contact with the infected member may also be required to self-isolate.

Download this information as a PDF.

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 Cultural and Heritage Institutions and Attractions (also available below).


COVID-19 Guidance for Cultural & Heritage Institutions and Attractions

The following recommendations are intended to help operators and staff working at museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, outdoor heritage institutions (e.g. landmarks, outdoor historic sites, botanical gardens), and other establishments primarily engaged in preserving and exhibiting objects, sites and natural wonders of historical, cultural and educational value to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As every site will be different, it is ultimately the responsibility of facility operators to review their own policies, procedures and site-specific circumstances and assess their ability to operate while ensuring that the appropriate infection prevention and control measures are implemented and maintained.

Updated information about COVID-19 can be found in Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Recommendations for operators to reduce the spread of COVID-19

Screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms before work
  • It is strongly recommended that all employees complete a health screening questionnaire before each work shift.
  • Questionnaires can be administered by asking the screening questions directly to employees and recording their responses on paper, or can be completed electronically.
Implement attendance policies for staff
  • Maintain a list of the names and contact information of staff (and other service providers) that work in the museum or facility.
  • Require sick staff to stay at home.
  • Remind staff about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor/manager.
    • If a staff becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms while at work, they should go home immediately and self-isolate.
    • Staff experiencing symptoms can call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, their health care provider or an assessment centre for testing.
    • Staff who have travelled anywhere outside of Canada must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada.
  • Establish criteria for staff to return to work:
    • In general, if a staff person had COVID-19 they are able to resume working 14 days after their symptoms began.
    • For other illnesses, or if the individual received a negative COVID-19 test, they should not attend work until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
    • Clearance tests are not required for return to work
Implement measures to ensure physical distancing

Physical distancing refers to the practice of avoiding close contact by keeping a distance of two metres (six feet) from others. Plan and modify the layout of the facility to ensure enough space is provided for customers and staff to maintain physical distancing. Strategies to ensure physical distancing among customers and staff can include:

  • Limit the number of customers permitted into the museum or facility at a time:
    • Establishments should consider operating by appointment, and/or record each patron’s name and contact information, and date and time of visit, in case it is required for contact tracing by public health.
    • Position an employee at the entrance to control customer entry.
    • Monitor the number of people entering and leaving the facility.
    • Encourage customers to pre-purchase tickets online prior to arrival at facility.
    • Stagger scheduling of arrivals and departures to limit contact between customers (e.g. timed entry on tickets).
    • Once the maximum number of customers is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.
  • To calculate the maximum number of people that should be permitted in the facility at any one time, a good rule of thumb is one person per two metres square (four squared metres) of publicly accessible floor space.
    • Post signage at the entrance indicating the maximum number of customers that can be permitted at any one time.
  • Provide visible queues for customers who might be waiting in line outside the facility by placing markers such as tape, safety cones/pylons or painted lines every two metres (six feet).
  • Maintain physical distancing between people within the facility:
    • Managed visitor flow for the whole facility (e.g. creating one-way aisles with prominent signage and/or floor markings).
    • Use digital apps with maps and audio tour guides for assisting customers though facility.
    • Place tape on the floor two metres (six feet) apart for lining up at service counters (e.g. cashiers) and other areas where customers tend to stand.
    • Assign an employee to direct customers to through the various parts of the facility as they become available.
    • Space seating and activity stations at least two metres (six feet) apart, if applicable.
  • Utilize other measures in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain:
    • Set-up portable barriers around employees when managing exhibit areas.
    • Install plexi-glass dividers at cashiers or any other service counter where staff are required to be in close contact with customers.
    • Consider staggering the number ticket stations open at any given time (e.g. every other station is used).
  • Presentations in auditoriums, theatres and large demonstration halls will not be permitted until Stage 3 of the Province’s A Framework for Reopening our Province.
Practice proper use of cloth and non-medical face masks
  • Non-medical/cloth masks or face coverings are strongly recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Train staff on the proper use of masks, and how to safely put on and take off a mask.
  • Masks do not replace the need for physical distancing, hand washing, and staying home when sick.
Increase communication with customers and staff
  • Post signs at all entrances instructing customers and staff not to enter or visit if they are sick.
  • Post educational materials in high visibility areas to encourage behaviours to prevent transmission such as:
  • Provide frequent reminders over the public announcement system to customers about physical distancing and any other key messages (e.g. sanitize hands at entrance, stay home if feeling ill, no gathering/crowding in one area, ensure two metres (six feet) apart in line-ups, and that highly interactive exhibits are prohibited).
  • Information can also be communicated on the museum or other facility’s website, and through automated telephone messages, newsprint and e-mail subscriptions.
Support and encourage proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Educate staff and customers on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Remove all interactive displays and activities within the museum or facility where possible, including costumes, interactive artifacts, tools, etc.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) in dispensers near entrances, service counters and other high touch locations for customer and staff use. Monitor and refill as needed.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Post Cover your Cough, Hand Washing and Hand Sanitizing signage in visible locations.
Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection
  • Assign dedicated facility staff to complete environmental cleaning and disinfection duties.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and objects in public areas (e.g. handrails, doorknobs, tabletops) at least twice a day and when visibly dirty.
  • Educate facility staff on how to use cleaning agents and disinfectants, and ensure:
    • Required disinfectant contact times are followed (i.e. amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection).
    • Use of safety precautions and required personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Directions for where and how to securely store cleaning and disinfectant supplies.
  • Maintain cleanliness of staff/vendor washrooms and other areas as necessary.
  • Provide waste receptacles lined with a plastic bag, and empty as often as necessary.
  • Encourage use of elbows, instead of fingers, for activating buttons on displays and exhibits, when applicable.
  • Monitor and clean the parking lot daily and as necessary (e.g. for discarded gloves, masks, litter).
Practice proper glove use
  • Glove use is not a substitute for proper hand hygiene.
  • If staff use gloves, it is important to change them every hour, or more often, as necessary.
    • Hands should be washed and/or sanitized between changes.
    • Remove gloves when changing tasks.
    • When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time.

The provincial government is permitting certain summer day camps to operate during the months of July and August 2020. Overnight camps are prohibited. For more information, read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Day Camps.

Read also the Ministry of Health’s Guidance for Summer Day Camps.

Resources

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Drive-in and Drive-thru Events (also available below).


COVID-19 Guidance for Drive-in & Drive-thru Events

All existing and new drive-in and drive-thru events/venues are permitted to open as part of Stage 2 of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening, for a variety of purposes, such as theatres, concerts, and animal attractions, as well as cultural appreciation, such as art installations. In Toronto, such events/venues are not permitted to operate until the revised Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act is announced by the provincial government, and comes into effect. Please note, that announcement may contain conditions that will result in amendments to the guidance below. One exception is existing drive-in cinemas, which are permitted to open as of May 31, 2020, with restrictions (same as below, unless otherwise indicated).

The following guidance is intended to help organizers and staff of drive-in and drive-thru events/venues to plan and prepare for reopening while reducing the spread of COVID-19 among staff and customers.

For general information on reopening businesses and workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the 4-Step Public Health Planning Guide. More information about COVID-19 can be found in the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

All drive-in and drive-thru events/venues must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Operators must have procedures in place for staff to ensure that people remain in their vehicles except for using the washroom or in an emergency.
  • No food or beverages may be sold or provided to people attending a drive-in cinema until the commencement of Stage 2.
  • When permitted, the sale of food, beverages and merchandise is restricted to delivery to vehicles and drive-thru only. Refer to Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Mobile Food Premises for more information.
  • In addition to other workplace and public health measures, drive-in and drive-thru events/venues should:
    • Limit the number of vehicles and how they are parked to ensure physical distancing of two metres/six feet.
    • Ensure washrooms are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary environment.

Drive-in and drive-thru event/venue organizers are responsible for reducing the risk of infection among all those who participate in their activities (e.g. staff, volunteers, customers).

Recommendations for event organizers to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Screen event staff
  • Event organizers are required to have staff complete a health-screening questionnaire before each work shift and prior to participating in the event.
    • Questions can be completed on a paper-based questionnaire, asked directly to employees with answers recorded, or be completed electronically.
 Implement attendance policies for staff
  • Maintain a list of the names, contact information and attendance records of all staff.
  • Ensure sick staff do not come to work and/or attend the event.
  • Remind staff about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor/manager.
    • If a staff becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms while preparing for and/or attending the event, they should go home immediately and self-isolate.
    • Staff experiencing symptoms can call Telehealth, their health care provider or an assessment centre for testing.
  • Staff who have travelled anywhere outside of Canada must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada.
  • Establish criteria for staff to return to work:
    • In general, if a staff person had COVID-19 they are able to resume working 14 days after their symptoms began.
    • For other illnesses, or if the individual received a negative COVID-19 test, they should not return to work or attend the event until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
    • Clearance tests are not required for return to work.
Implement measures to maintain physical distancing

Physical distancing refers to the practice of avoiding close contact by keeping a distance of two metres/six feet from others. Plan and modify the layout of the event/venue to ensure enough space is provided for vehicles, customers and staff to maintain physical distancing. Operators must have procedures in place for staff to ensure that people remain in their vehicles except for using the washroom or in an emergency.

Strategies to ensure physical distancing among customers and staff can include:

Ticket sales:

  • Encourage online and/or telephone service that allows customers to purchase tickets in advance.
  • Encourage electronic payment by debit or credit card, and to tap instead of using the PIN pad.
  • Use a contact-less transaction process to exchange and/or scan tickets.
  • Equip physical barriers at the point of sale (e.g. plexiglass).

Customer admittance, flow and parking:

  • Customers must attend the event in a motor vehicle designed to be closed to the elements (i.e. not a motorcycle), and remain in the vehicle except to use the washroom or in an emergency.
  • Direct customers where to park to ensure they are separated by a minimum of two metres/six feet.
    • When all parking spaces are filled, allow one vehicle in for every one that leaves.
  • Monitor and manage customer lines:
    • Place visual markers/cues spaced two metres/six feet apart (e.g. tape on the floor/ground, pylons, signs) to encourage physical distancing and guide customers waiting in line for washrooms.
    • Assign staff to monitor the line and to make public announcements reminding customers to keep two metres/six feet apart.
    • Design a directional flow that encourages one-way movement with prominent signage and/or ground/floor markings.

Other:

  • Limit the number of employees working within a space at any one time:
    • Employees should maintain physical distancing from each other and customers, where possible.
    • Assign each employee a specific workstation and task to reduce overlap.
  • No materials may be exchanged between persons in attendance except:
    • materials exchanged between members of the same motor vehicle,
    • materials exchanged between persons who perform work for event/venue, and
    • such materials as are necessary to facilitate the purchase of admission, food and beverages, or merchandise.
  • Post physical distancing signs in highly visible areas.
Practice proper use of cloth and non-medical face masks
  • Non-medical/cloth masks are strongly recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Train staff on the proper use of masks, including how to safely put on and take off a mask.
  • Masks do not replace the need for physical distancing, hand washing, and staying home when sick.
Encourage and practice proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Educate employees on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
    • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), provided hands are not visibly soiled.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • Remind employees to avoid touching their face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations for staff and customer use (e.g. wall mounted/upright sanitizer stations). Use sanitizers with 70-90% alcohol concentration.
  • Washrooms must be provided with hand sinks that have running water, soap and paper towel for staff and customers. Refer to permit agreements for washroom facility requirements (e.g. number of washrooms required).
  • Monitor and refill hand hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap and paper towels in public areas and washroom facilities.
  • Post Cover your Cough and Wash your Hands signage in visible locations for staff and customers.
Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection
  • Avoid opportunities for the virus to spread through touch, either directly or indirectly, on surfaces and objects.
  • Assign dedicated staff to complete environmental cleaning and disinfection duties.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and objects in staff and customer areas (e.g. doorknobs, tabletops) at least twice a day and when visibly dirty.
  • Ensure washrooms and hand sinks are cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day, or as frequently as necessary to maintain a sanitary environment.
  • Provide waste receptacles lined with a plastic bag, and empty as often as necessary.
Increase communication with customers
  • Provide information to customers about event/venue operations (e.g. public health measures, available amenities) through different communication platforms (e.g. event webpage, email social media accounts).
  • Inform customers that they are to remain in their vehicle, unless otherwise necessary (i.e. using the washroom or in an emergency)
  • Communicate to staff and customers to refrain from socializing or congregating when returning to their vehicles in order to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
  • Discourage the idling of engines.
  • Post signs at the entrance indicating the conditions for entry.
  • Post signs at the entrance instructing customers and staff not to attend the event if they are sick.
  • Post educational materials to encourage healthy behaviours that reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Other resources

COVID-19 Guidance for Employers, Workplaces and Businesses

Reopening Toronto Businesses & Workplaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Four Step Public Health Planning Guide

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Guidance on Health and Safety for Outdoor Recreation and Drive-in/Drive-Thru Entertainment Settings during COVID-19

Elementary and Secondary Schools

All public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Private schools will remain closed until June 30, 2020 under the extended Declaration of Emergency.

On June 19, the Government of Ontario released its safety plan for the resumption of class for the 2020-21 school year, outlining scenarios for how students, teachers and staff can safely return to classrooms in September.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Schools on the Retrieval of Personal Property (also available below).

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

Colleges and Universities

On June 10, the Government of Ontario announced plans for the gradual and safe resumption of limited in-person education and training for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures, starting in July 2020.

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


COVID-19 Guidance for Schools on the Retrieval of Personal Property

This document provides guidance for schools for the safe retrieval of personal belongings by parents, students and staff. Strategies can be adapted to meet the needs of different school environments. Ontario schools have been closed to students and families since March 15, 2020. The provincial order that has closed schools until June 30, 2020 does allow for temporary access to schools for these purposes.

Current information about COVID-19 can be found in Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Maintain a Healthy Environment

Set-up a screening area
  • Designate an area outside, near the main entrance, as a screening station.
  • Post signs at all entrances instructing employees and others not to enter the school if they are sick.
  • Post signage in visible areas which clearly explains the screening process, and the rules and conditions for entry.
  • The screening station must allow a minimum of two metres/six feet distance between staff conducting screening and the individual being screened.
  • Alternatively, a protective barrier (e.g. plexiglass) can be installed around the screening station.
  • Make hand sanitizer available at the screening area.
Screen staff, students, and parents for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the school
  • It is strongly recommended that all school staff, students and parents complete a COVID-19 symptoms screening questionnaire before entering the school. The questions can be completed on a paper-based questionnaire (asked directly to employees and answers recorded), or can be completed electronically.
  • Ensure individuals maintain two metres/six feet from others while waiting in line to be screened.
Scheduling
  • People should be scheduled for access in designated timeslots to minimize the number of people in the building or waiting to access the schools; fifteen minute time slots are recommended.
  • Anyone waiting for their designated time slot should be directed to a waiting or line up area with appropriate physical distancing makers (e.g. floor markings, pylons) spaced two meters/six feet apart.
  • Consider designating the first appointments to vulnerable populations (e.g. seniors, people with an underlying medical conditions that you are made aware of).
  • Keep a list of contact information of individuals entering the school, including the date and time. This list will help Toronto Public Health with contact tracing if there is an individual who attends the school that is diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after attending the school.
Entrances and exits
  • Schools should designate and clearly mark specific, separate entrances and exits for each visitor as appropriate, and only permit entry and exit through these doors.
  • Individuals should be required to sign in upon entry and sign out upon exit from the school.
  • Anyone entering the building should clean their hands prior to entry and upon exit. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) should be provided.
  • Where possible, doors and windows should be kept open to minimize the touching of door handles and increase ventilation, while maintaining the appropriate security.
Measures to ensure physical distancing
  • Provide visible queues for parents/students who might be waiting in line outside the school by placing markers such as tape, safety cones/pylons or painted lines every two metres/six feet.
  • Consider designing a flow for the school (with prominent signage and/or floor markings).
  • Traffic flow and physical distancing markers should be visible throughout the school.
  • Limit the number of people permitted in the school at any one time:
    • position a school employee at the entrance to control visitor entry
    • monitor the number of people entering and leaving the school
    • stagger entry into the school
    • once the maximum number of parents/students is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.
  • People should be directed to stay only within the area(s) of the school they need to access and to refrain from lingering.
  • Where possible, encourage the use of stairs. Where required, elevator use should be limited to one person or members of the same household.
  • Use of washrooms and drinking fountains should not be permitted.
  • It is strongly recommended that a face mask or non-medical face covering is used when individuals are unable to maintain a two metre/six feet distance from others.
  • People should not be permitted to gather in groups on the school premises.
Packing and receiving personal property items
  • Encourage individuals to bring their own reusable bags or boxes to pick up items.
  • Provide clean carry-out bags if schools are packing up belongings for others.
  • Returned items should be cleaned and disinfected if they need to be moved or used within three days. Otherwise, returned items should be left in the designated area for a minimum of three days before they are used or moved. After three days, the virus does not survive on paper and plastic surfaces.
  • When receiving items that are outside of the school setting, wash hands regularly prior to and after handling items and avoid touching face, nose and mouth with hands.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not possible. Washing with soap and water is preferred, and if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Glove use is not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. If staff use gloves, it is important that:
    • Hands are washed and/or sanitized between changes.
    • Gloves are removed when changing tasks.
  • When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time.
If individuals become ill at the school
  • School staff who become ill should be sent home immediately, and directed to this webpage to learn what to do next.
Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection
Workplace health and safety

 

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Re-opening Places of Worship (also available below).

Resource:


COVID-19 Guidance for Re-opening Places of Worship

Faith communities have continued their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with the exception of in-person gatherings at their place of worship, since these were prohibited by provincial order as part of an unprecedented effort to contain the spread of the virus. In-person gatherings for prayer and worship are now permitted with certain conditions, as described in this guidance document. Faith community leaders should carefully consider how and when to re-establish face-to-face activities. Faith communities may have many members who are older and/or have chronic medical conditions, and therefore more vulnerable to the virus that causes COVID-19. This guidance document reflects the current need for protection from COVID-19 in Toronto. As the spread of infection is brought under further control, revised guidance will be issued.

Many faith communities operate drop-ins, lunch programs or other services for people who are homeless as well as other vulnerable people. Specific guidance is also available for these programs. Checklists for specific faith community rituals and practices will also be available in the coming days. However, the general guidance below will still apply. Please check our website periodically for updates.

All places of worship must adhere to the following requirements:

General Guidance

  • Suspend all communion-related activities as advised by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Suspend all social gatherings, including those that occur before or after the service, as advised by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • Suspend food services at this time.
  • Participation of religious services is limited to no more than 30% of the capacity of your premises.
  • Maintain a distance of two metres/six feet between all people, as much as possible.
  • Suspend regular childcare and children’s programming.
  • Encourage the use of masks, and require that masks be worn when, in rare circumstances, physical distancing is not possible.
  • Suspend indoor singing activities and choir service.
  • Suspend the sharing and distribution of the following materials and objects: books, communion objects, microphones, prayer mats, prayer shawls, water, chalices, collection plates (please note: this is not an exhaustive list).
  • Discontinue use of the holy water stoup.
  • Avoid opportunities for the virus to spread through touch, either directly or indirectly through surfaces and objects, including objects that may be used in rituals or ceremonies.
  • Perform more frequent and enhanced cleaning and disinfection.

Faith community leaders and organizers are responsible for preventing the risk of infection among staff, volunteers, community members, and visitors who participate in their organization’s activities.

Preparation for Services

  • Consider adding COVID-19 information to your organization’s website.
  • Consider alternative ways to include individuals who are at greater risk of serious consequences from COVID-19.
    • To support your members that are 70+ years old and/or have chronic medical conditions, it is recommended that virtual or drive-in services be made available. Holding an exclusive and dedicated service for vulnerable individuals may also be an option
  • Plan how to ensure physical distancing (two metres/six feet) by calculating 30% of the capacity of the available space. This is the maximum number of participants allowed. The reduced capacity number includes all participants except children under two years of age.
  • If the calculated reduced seating capacity (30%) is less than the anticipated number of attendees, consider creating a new schedule of services to provide more, but smaller, services.
  • Cohort (i.e. group) individuals and families. For instance, organize attendance so the same individuals/families go to the same service each day/week to minimize the potential impact of mixing different individuals/families.
  • Consider developing a system to RSVP planned attendance to specific services or events. This may be an opportunity to also pre-screen, however, it is also recommended that members self-screen upon arrival.
  • Remove seating, or if seating is fixed, mark or rope off a two metre/six foot distance as being unavailable between rows and seats
  • Plan how to manage entry and exit within your building to create a two metre/six foot distance between members.
    • If it is anticipated that crowds will form outside or in a vestibule, consider having a two metre/six foot distance markings on the ground, and someone to manage the crowd and remind members about physical distancing while entering and exiting.
  • Separate entrances and exits may not be necessary as participants usually enter and exit within distinct time periods.
  • Ensure all water systems (e.g. drinking fountains, taps) are safe to use after a prolonged building shutdown to minimize risk of diseases associated with stagnant water. If drinking fountains are available, ensure they are used safely and frequently cleaned and disinfected throughout the service.
  • Develop and implement a schedule for increased routine cleaning and disinfecting. Allow for adequate cleaning and disinfecting of prayer and high traffic areas between services.

Prevent COVID-19 Outbreaks

  • Encourage visitors to use the online self-assessment tool before every visit to the place of worship and/or set up screening station away from the entrance to avoid crowding.
  • If anyone has even one symptom of COVID-19, they should get tested and stay home or return home
  • Consider creating a list of the names and contact information (phone number and/or email) of the staff, volunteers, members and visitors that attend your services in the event there is a case of COVID-19 who was contagious while attending services. Toronto Public Health will use that list to notify and provide instructions to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Options include keeping a record of online RSVPs, having someone observe and record names, having members sign in through a safe method (i.e. do not provide a pen that can passed between people), or providing a list of members upon request.
    • Public health will advise of any additional cleaning and disinfecting measures needed to reduce the risk of spread in the setting.

Establish Policies for Health Screening of Staff and Volunteers

Staff and volunteers must inform their faith community leader, and stay home if they are sick and/or unwell. Staff and volunteers must be screened before starting their duties. Persons who become ill while in the building must go home right away and self-isolate. It is advised to call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, their health care provider or a COVID-19 Assessment Centre for more information and guidance about testing.

Training

  • Staff and volunteers should use a mask/face covering at all times while providing services.
  • Instruct staff and volunteers on proper hand hygiene techniques and respiratory etiquette, when to use masks, the proper use of mask, and how to clean or discard single use masks appropriately.

Print and Post Signs

During Services

  • Remind members and visitors who become ill or experience symptoms of COVID-19 while in the building that they must go home right away and self-isolate. It is advised to call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, their health care provider or a COVID-19 Assessment Centre for more information and guidance about testing
  • Modify all activities during the service to ensure that there is a two metre/six foot distance between leaders, staff, volunteers and visitors at all times.
  • Children should remain with their parents.
    • Exclusive children’s activities should be suspended.
  • Encourage visitors to bring their own non-medical mask/face coverings.
    • Cloth masks can be made with household items such as a T-shirt or bedsheet, or a bandana may be used. Physical distancing is still required even when using a mask.
  • Avoid any physical contact with others from different households.
    • Encourage people to greet each other with a smile, bow or wave. For example, upon arrival, during exchange of the Peace, or at the end of services.
  • Rituals involving close physical contact (e.g. baptism, circumcision) or shared items (e.g. chalices, utensils, plates, receptacles, washing facilities) are strongly discouraged at this time.
    • If rituals involving close physical contact must be performed, considerations need to be made to perform them safely such as use of appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Discontinue the use of holy water rites.
  • Do not pass offering plates.
    • Consider a designated touchless area to offer donations or use online/e-transfer or debit/credit card tap machines.
  • Encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette with hand sanitizer stations (70-90% alcohol concentration). Young children should be supervised when using hand sanitizer
    • Promote good respiratory etiquette. Cover the mouth and nose with elbow when coughing or sneezing or use a tissue then discard tissue in waste bin. Wash or sanitize hands afterwards.
  • Avoid use of items that are difficult to clean, sanitize or disinfect.
    • Do not hand out or share items that cannot be cleaned and sanitized before and after use (e.g. books, hymns, prayer mats).
    • Use printed service leaflets and discard after the service, or use projection or audio-visual systems.
  • Do not share microphones. Clean and disinfect microphones according to manufacturer’s instructions after each use.

Singing

  • Respiratory droplets and aerosols generated during singing, loud speech or the use of wind instruments may travel further than two metres/six feet.
  • The Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends that indoor singing be suspended.

Instrumental music

  • Do not use wind instruments (flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, horns)
  • If multiple non-wind instruments are being played, ensure physical distancing between musicians, unless they are from the same household.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Educate staff on the proper use of cleaning agents and disinfectants, including required disinfectant contact times (amount of time that the product will need to remain wet on a surface to achieve disinfection). Understand safety precautions and requirement for use of mask and gloves.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation when using products (e.g. open windows, doors, or use fans).
  • Ensure ventilation systems are operating properly, and replace filters as scheduled or sooner.
  • Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces (e.g. toilets, sinks, door handles, light switches, remote controls, and microphones) twice a day or more, and when visibly dirty.
  • Ensure washrooms are always stocked with liquid soap and paper towels.
    • Antibacterial soap is not required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Disinfectant kills germs on surfaces. Remove surface dirt first in order for the disinfectant to work.
  • Most regular household cleaning products are effective at eliminating the virus.
  • Cleaning and disinfectant products should have an 8-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN) to confirm it is approved for use in Canada. Check the expiry dates of products and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep products away from children.
  • Cleaning/disinfection wipes should only be used for surfaces, and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water immediately after cleaning the setting.

Note: Disinfectant wipes may have a combined cleaning and disinfectant in one solution, but depending on how dirty the surface is it may need to be pre-cleaned as disinfectants may become ineffective when dirt is present. Check instructions on the product’s label.

Indoor Weddings, Funerals, Religious Service, Rite or Ceremony

All of the above requirements, including not providing food or drink, apply to weddings, funerals, religious services, rites or ceremonies. In addition, all social gatherings, including before and after these events, are suspended.

If a wedding, funeral or other ceremony is occurring in a place of worship, the maximum number of participants permitted is 30% of the capacity of the building.

Outdoor Weddings, Funerals, Religious Service, Rite or Ceremony

If a wedding, funeral, religious service, rite or ceremony is occurring outdoors, there must be no more than 50 people in attendance. All people attending the gathering must remain at least two metres/six feet apart from each other, and from the persons conducting the wedding, funeral, service, rite or ceremony, unless they are members of the same household.

Drive-in Religious Gatherings

  • Only members living in the same household can be in one vehicle.
  • Discourage people from leaving their vehicles during the service, except when using the washroom.
  • Vehicles must be parked two metres/six feet apart or more. Discourage the idling of engines.
  • No more than five people can conduct the service at one time from outside a vehicle, and they must stay at least two metres/six feet apart from each other.
  • If faith community leaders, staff or volunteers are to approach a vehicle to provide service to its occupants, everyone is encouraged to wear a mask.

Other Businesses on Premises

Places of worship that offer free or rented spaces to other groups or businesses must abide by the emergency orders of the provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health, and all applicable public health guidance documents.

More information

Please visit our website at toronto.ca/COVID19 for updated information or call us at 416-338-7600.

See also the Province of Ontario documents, A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 2 and Advice for Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies.

Read Toronto Public Health’s guidance for food premises, including farmers’ and fresh food markets, food stores, mobile food premises and restaurants.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Funeral Homes and Guidance for Visiting Cemeteries.

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

The presence of COVID-19 in Toronto has introduced new challenges for people who use drugs, and programs providing harm reduction services. Toronto Public Health has developed resources to support people who use drugs and harm reduction workers:

Read also the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Guidance for Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS).

Read the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Guidance: Congregate Living for Vulnerable Populations. Homelessness services (e.g. shelters) and congregate living settings can read about COVID-19 preparedness and prevention and outbreak management in the Public Health Ontario COVID-19 Preparedness and Prevention in Congregate Living Settings Checklist and the Public Health Ontario Managing COVID-19 Outbreaks in Congregate Living Settings Checklist.  

Homelessness service providers who want to report an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, or who have questions related to an individual with suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, can contact the TPH Shelters Intake Line at 416-338-1521 or e-mail TPHshelters@toronto.ca between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. After-hours, please contact 3-1-1.

Learn how Toronto Public Health works with shelters to help control and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 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.

Learn about current shelter operations, as well as sanitation and washroom services that have showers, washrooms, and drinking water, for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Resources for Shelters & Homeless Service Providers

Physical distancing posters

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Shelter Settings

Long-term care homes in Ontario are part of the provincial health care system, and are licensed, regulated and inspected by the Ministry of Long-Term Care. The majority of long-term care homes in Toronto are operated privately, some are non-profit, and 10 are City-run, not-for-profit facilities.

During any infectious disease outbreak in a long-term care home it is important to institute measures to prevent and control the spread of the infection in the facility, while balancing the daily life of the residents in the home. Usually, when an outbreak is declared in a particular unit or floor, infection prevention and control  measures are implemented in that area to prevent the spread to other areas of the building.

When a long-term care home has one reported a positive case of COVID-19, an outbreak is declared and a Toronto Public Health investigator is assigned to work with the facility to ensure outbreak control measures are put in place, in accordance with provincial guidelines.

Learn more about the role of Toronto Public Health in long-term care homes during the COVID-19 outbreak and how we work with long-term care homes to help control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in these settings.

Access data about active COVID-19 outbreaks in Toronto long-term care homes on the COVID-19: Status of Cases in Toronto page.

Visiting Parks

Residents are encouraged to go outside for fresh air and exercise. However, you still need to practise physical distancing, including in parks.

Tips for keeping everyone safe when visiting a park:

  • Stay home if you are sick, even with mild symptoms.
  • Keep a distance of two metres/six feet from people outside your household at all times.
  • Use a cloth mask or face covering, in situations where it is hard to maintain physical distancing.
  • Avoid crowded places, and try to visit when the park is less busy.
  • Do not gather with people outside your household.
  • Do not arrange playdates for your children.
  • Step aside or pass others quickly and courteously on walking paths and trails.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), including before going out, after touching public surfaces, and when you return home. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Bring your own sports equipment and toys for your children to play with.
  • Clean toys with soap and water thoroughly when you return home.

Dog Off-leash Areas

Outdoor play for dogs and their owners is encouraged to stay active and healthy. Keep everyone safe, including your dog, by keeping your dog on a leash when outdoors, and by following these tips when visiting a dog off-leash area:

  • Stay home if you or your dog are sick, even with mild symptoms.
  • Keep a distance of two metres/six feet from other owners and dogs.
  • Avoid the area if it is crowded, and come back another time.
  • Wear a cloth mask or face covering if it is difficult to maintain physical distance.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), including before going out, after touching public surfaces (e.g. gates), and when you return home. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Clean any dog toys thoroughly with soap and water when you return home.

For more information, read the Use of Dog Off-Leash Guidelines.

Golf Courses

Follow these safety tips for golfing to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Stay home if you are sick, even with mild symptoms.
  • Reserve your tee time. Walk-ons are not permitted at this time.
  • Arrive no more than 20 minutes before tee time, and leave after your round.
  • Keep two metres/six feet distance from others at all times.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), including before going out, after touching public surfaces, and when you return home. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share clubs, balls or pull carts with other players.
  • Do not touch flagsticks. Play concludes when the ball hits the cup.
  • Wipe down and clean your equipment when you return home.

For more information, read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Golf Courses.

Tennis Courts

Keeping everyone safe when using tennis courses:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Book court time in advance, when possible.
  • Bring your own equipment, towel, hat, water bottle and sun screen.
  • Mark your tennis balls and handle only the ones that belong to you.
  • Do not share equipment with others.
  • Singles play only. No doubles.
  • Stay on your side of the court. Cross at opposite sides of the net when changing sides.
  • Keep a two metre/six feet distance from others outside of your household.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), including before going out, after touching public surfaces (e.g. gates), and when you return home. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Leave the court and the facility after your game.
  • Wipe down and clean your equipment when you return home.

For more information, read the Use of Community Club Tennis Courts Guidelines and the Use of Public Tennis Courts Guidelines.

Washrooms

Read the guidelines for using public washrooms during COVID-19.

 

Read Toronto Public Health’s guidance for personal service settings including hair salons and barber shops, nails and aesthetic services, and tattooing and body piercing.

 

Follow these tips for keeping everyone safe when using public transit:

  • Stay home and do not use public transit if you are sick, even with mild symptoms, or are self-isolating.
  • Avoid travelling during peak hours, if possible.
  • Keep a distance of two metres/six feet from people outside your household.
  • Wear a cloth mask or face covering in situations where it is hard to maintain physical distancing.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), including before going out, after touching any surfaces, and when you reach your destination.
  • Do not touch your face, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Dispose of any garbage or recycling in designated bins.

Download the Using Public Transit during COVID-19 infographic.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Recreational Water Facilities (also available below).


COVID-19 Guidance for Recreational Water Facilities

Recreational water facilities including, public pools, spas, wading pools and splash pads, are required to operate according to Ontario Regulation 565 – Public Pools. The following recommendations are intended to help owners and operators of these recreational water facilities reduce the spread of COVID-19. As every facility will be different, it is ultimately the responsibility of owners and operators to review their own policies, procedures and site-specific circumstances, and assess their ability to deliver aquatic programs and activities while ensuring that the appropriate infection prevention and control measures are implemented and maintained.

Recreational water facilities are currently subject to the Province of Ontario’s Emergency Order made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. On June 24, 2020, certain categories of businesses and facilities will be permitted to reopen when Toronto enters Stage 2 of Ontario’s Reopening Framework. However, it is important to note that all indoor and outdoor spas and water slides will not be permitted to open at this time. Owners and operators should prepare their facilities to comply with these public health guidelines and/or other provincial requirements such that they are ready to reopen safely.

More information about COVID-19 can be found in the Toronto Public Health (TPH) COVID-19 Fact Sheet.

Before Re-Opening

Notification of facility opening or re-opening
  • Owners and operators of public recreational water facilities are required to notify TPH before opening/reopening a facility after any closure that lasts for more than four weeks, or before a facility is put into use after construction or alteration.
  • Notification must be received at least 14 days prior to the intended date of opening and can be completed online using TPHs Recreational Water Facility Opening Notification Form.
Train staff
  • All lifeguards and other recreational water facility staff must be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Train staff on the proper use of personal protective equipment, when required. Refer to Public Health Ontario
  • Train staff on safety measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission during first aid and resuscitation. For additional information, consult industry experts such as the Lifesaving Society and the Red Cross.
Prepare the recreational water facility
  • Owners and operators should assess the layout and available space within the facility. Facilities should allow for all staff, bathers and spectators to maintain a two metre (six feet) distance from each other.
  • Determine the facilities reduced capacity limit at any given time (i.e. bather load) that permits adequate physical distancing.
  • Post notices indicating the facility capacity limit in visible locations throughout the facility (e.g. entrances, at pool/spa, deck, changerooms and showers).
  • Reduce the capacity of the resting areas and in spectator areas:
    • Provide furniture (e.g. chairs, benches, picnic tables) to accommodate the reduced facility capacity.
    • Arrange furniture a minimum of two metres (six feet) apart, and place signs/notices in fixed seating spaces such as spectator areas.
    • Mark furniture locations so that they may be repositioned easily (e.g. tape/paint on the floor).
  • Provide physical cues or guides for people by placing markers such as tape, stickers, safety cones or painted lines every two metres (six feet), where appropriate (e.g. entrances, service counters and showers).
  • Tape off and temporarily decommission high-contact aquatic features such as slides, diving boards and climbing structures.
  • Consider installing cues such as stickers or signs at frequently touched surfaces (e.g. splash pad water feature activation buttons) to encourage persons to avoid directly touching with their hands (e.g. use your elbow or the back of your hand).
  • Increase ventilation and air flow in areas, if possible.
  • Download, print and post signs in a visible location at the entrance and other appropriate areas in the facility to raise awareness about health and safety measures that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as:
Screening considerations for recreational water facilities
  • For facilities with a Class A or Class B pool that is supervised:
    • It is strongly recommended that owners and operators of facilities with a Class A or Class B pool that is supervised conduct active in-person health screening for all staff, bathers and spectators entering the facility.
    • Designate an area outside, near the main entrance of the recreational water facility as a screening station for in-person screening.
      • The area should be clearly identifiable as the screening station.
      • Post signs in a visible location clearly explaining the screening process and the rules and conditions for entry (see the Posters for Entrances as an example).
      • Post signage containing information on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
    • The area must allow for a minimum of two metres (six feet) distance between staff conducting in-person screening and the individual being screened.
    • Alternatively, a protective barrier (e.g. plexiglass) may be equipped around the screening station.
    • If physical distancing or a barrier is not possible, staff conducting the screening may consider wearing personal protective equipment (e.g. mask, eye protection).
    • Use visual markers/cues spaced two metres (six feet) apart (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) to assist staff, bathers and spectators maintain a two metre distance from each other if waiting to be screened.
  • For facilities with an unsupervised Class B pool, spa, wading pool or splash pad:
    • For unsupervised facilities, where in-person screening cannot be conducted by staff on-site, encourage staff, bathers and spectators to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and exposures prior to entry.
Modify the facility to promote physical distancing
  • Temporarily decommission showers immediately adjacent to each other.
  • Limit lockers available by blocking certain lockers from use.
  • Use other engineering controls such as plexiglass, tables or barriers where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

During Active Operation

Stay home when you’re sick
  • Remind staff, bathers and spectators to stay at home and not attend the recreational water facility if they are sick.
  • Visit our webpage to learn about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Implement an attendance reporting policy for staff
  • Daily attendance records should be maintained and updated when a staff member is absent.
  • Owners and operators should follow-up with staff to determine the reason for any unplanned absences.
  • Determine if a staff person’s absence is due to illness, and note any symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat, feeling unwell).
  • Refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms.
  • Advise staff to call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, or their primary care provider to determine if further care is required. COVID-19 testing is readily available at assessment centres.
  • Monitor attendance records for patterns or trends (e.g. staff on the same shifts or over the course of a few days).
Staff that become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 while at work
  • Staff who become ill while at work should be sent home immediately, and directed to our website for more information about COVID-19.
  • Staff exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be excluded from work for 14 days.
    • These individuals should also self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for the next 14 days. They should be advised to avoid contact with vulnerable persons or settings where vulnerable persons reside (e.g. long-term care homes).
  • Staff with symptoms of COVID-19 should call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, their health care provider or an assessment centre to determine if they need testing.
  • Symptomatic staff who test negative for COVID-19 must be excluded from work until 24 hours after symptoms have stopped.
  • Staff who are being managed by TPH (i.e. confirmed cases of COVID-19, household contacts of cases) should follow TPH instructions to determine when they can return to work.
  • Staff should also report to their Occupational Health and Safety Department prior to return to work.
  • Tests for clearance to return to work are not necessary.
Screen staff, bathers and spectators for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • For facilities with a Class A or Class B pool that is supervised:
    • Actively screen staff, bathers and spectators upon arrival or prior to the start of a shift. See TPHs sample screening form that can used.
    • Individuals can be asked the screening questions or can complete a screening form prior to entry.
    • Make alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) available for use at the screening station for individuals who have answered NO to all questions prior to entry into the facility.
    • Individuals who answer YES to any of the questions should not be permitted to enter the facility.
    • Encourage individuals with symptoms to visit TPHs website to learn about assessment centres, and to help determine if further health care is required.
  • For facilities with an unsupervised Class B pool, spa, wading pool or splash pad:
    • For unsupervised facilities, where in-person screening cannot be conducted by staff on-site, encourage staff, bathers and spectators to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms and exposures prior to entry.
Maintain logs of staff, bather and spectator contact information
  • It is recommended that facilities with a Class A or Class B pool keep logs of the name and contact information for staff, bathers and spectators, with a date, check in and check out time.
  • If there is a case of COVID-19 who was contagious while at the facility, public health will use that list to notify the staff and customers.
Manage the flow of people in the facility to promote physical distancing
  • Monitor to ensure adherence to the reduced capacity limit.
  • Where appropriate, design and implement a walking flow for the facility, such as creating one-way routes with prominent signage and/or floor markings to prevent crowding (e.g. showers, changerooms, pool deck).
  • Establish and monitor capacities for changerooms at any given time to prevent crowding.
  • Design and implement a swimming flow for the pool to encourage physical distancing between staff, bathers and spectators such as creating one-way swimming lanes with prominent signage and/or deck markings for lane swims.
  • Stagger the flow of people entering and exiting the facility to prevent crowding.
  • Stagger times for lap swims, practices and other activities or programs.
  • Aquatic activities such as fitness classes and swim lessons must be in line with physical distancing measures. For example, only other household members can assist bathers with physical contact.
  • Consider implementing appointments or time limits for the use of the facility so that facility capacity is more easily controlled.
Practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration), provided hands are not visibly soiled.
    • Encourage staff, bathers and spectators to practice hand hygiene prior, during and after use of the recreational water facility.
    • Remind staff, bathers and spectators to avoid touching their face, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
  • Ensure that staff, bathers and spectators have the ability to practice hand hygiene often, and when needed:
    • Provide hand sanitizer in dispensers near entrances, service counters and other high-touch locations for staff, bather and spectator use.
    • Monitor supplies to ensure adequate amounts of liquid soap, paper towel (air dryer if paper towels are not available), hand sanitizer, tissues and waste receptacles with lined plastic bags.
Practice physical distancing
  • Physical distancing means keeping a distance of two meters (six feet) from others who are not part of your household or social circle.
  • Remind staff, bathers and spectators not to share items, including food, water bottles, equipment, toys, and supplies and encourage everyone to keep their distance as best as possible.
  • Staff, bathers and spectators must maintain physical distancing in all areas of the facility (e.g. in the water, on the deck, in showers).
  • Discourage crowding by advising facility users to return at another time if physical distancing is difficult or not possible.
Consider using cloth masks or face coverings
  • Cloth masks or face coverings are strongly recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Masks can be worn on the deck or other areas of the facility.
  • Masks do not replace the need for physical distancing, hand washing, and staying home when sick.
  • Masks should not be worn in the water, placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Enhance environmental cleaning and disinfection
  • Implement enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection policies and procedures.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and objects such as ladders, doorknobs, handrails, light switches, deck fixtures, etc., at least twice a day and when visibly dirty.
  • Ensure locker rooms, change rooms, showers and washrooms are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary environment.
  • Rescue equipment (e.g. throwing-aids, reaching poles) and shared equipment (e.g. lifejackets, flutter boards, clip boards) should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings fact sheet.
  • Refer to Health Canada’s list of hard-surface disinfectants for information on disinfectants effective against COVID-19.
  • Maintain a log to track cleaning and disinfecting activities.
Lifeguards and water safety
  • Physical distancing must not compromise safety supervision or the bathers safety (e.g. rescues, first aid).
  • To ensure the safety of all spectators, lifeguards who are actively providing safety supervision should not be expected to monitor adherence to measures outlined in this document (e.g. physical distancing, screening). These responsibilities should be assigned to another staff member.
  • For additional information, consult industry experts such as the Lifesaving Society and the Red Cross.
Provision of personal protective equipment
  • Lifeguards and other recreational water facility staff should wear personal protective equipment (e.g. face mask, gloves) appropriate for the work being performed (e.g. first aid).
Maintain water filtration and disinfection systems
  • Adequate filtration and disinfection of water should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Ensure the facility’s water filtration and disinfection systems (i.e. with chlorine or bromine) are maintained and operating properly.
  • Where required, disinfectant levels in public pools, spas, wading pools and splash pads must be maintained according to Ontario Regulation 565 – Public Pools.
Maintain heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Ensure the HVAC system(s) for the facility, deck or relevant area(s) are adequately maintained.
  • Increase the introduction and circulation of outdoor air by opening windows and doors, the use of fans, or other methods, where possible. However, do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety risk to staff, bathers or spectators.
  • If fans are used, they must be positioned to provide an upward movement of air.
Increase communication with staff, bathers and spectators
  • Develop and implement communication platforms to provide information about programs, health and safety measures (e.g. screening, physical distancing, staying home when sick) with spectators and staff through the facilities website, email or social media accounts.
  • Designate a point of contact (e.g. supervisor) who will be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns form staff, bathers and spectators.
Workplace health and safety
  • Employers must have written measures and procedures for staff safety, including for infection prevention and control.
  • Ontario has general information on COVID-19 and workplace health and safety, where employers can learn about their responsibilities and how to protect workers at work.
  • Workers can also get information about health and safety protections at the workplace.

Other Resources

 

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Retail Settings (also available below) and Guidelines for Malls and Shopping Centres (also available below).


COVID-19 Guidance for Retail Settings

This document contains guidance for retail operators to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they re-open their premises. For related information please refer to Guidance for Malls and Shopping Centres.

As every retail setting is different, it is ultimately the responsibility of the operator to review their own site-specific circumstances and assess their ability to implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures. For information about how to assess COVID-19 risks in your setting and to plan risk modifications, please refer to the Toronto Public Health Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation Guide for Businesses during COVID-19.

COVID-19 transmission

Respiratory transmission: COVID-19 is an illness that is spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact from respiratory droplets of someone with COVID-19. The respiratory droplets can travel up to two metres/six feet when we cough, sneeze or talk.

Contaminated surfaces: It is possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. This new coronavirus can survive on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 72 hours.

Protective measures to keep everyone safe

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Offer alternative shopping methods such as online, delivery and/or curb-side pick-up.
  • Keep a two metre/six feet distance from others, when possible.
  • Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wear a face mask or covering when you are in an enclosed, public setting.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Protect and monitor employee health

  • Every business owner should develop and communicate staff policies concerning staff health and safety, including attendance policies and staff screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Every business owner should be aware of what to do if there is a case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Please refer to Guidance for Employers, Workplaces and Businesses.

Stay home when you are sick

  • Post signs on the front door explaining COVID-19 symptoms and the conditions for entry.
    • Those with symptoms should not enter the store to avoid spreading the virus.
    • Invite customers to return when they are symptom-free.

Facilitate physical distancing

  • Walk through the store to identify areas needing adjustments to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Estimate the number of customers and staff allowed onsite to have ease of movement while maintaining two metres/six feet of distance from others.
  • Monitor entrances to control staff and customers entering the store.
  • Rearrange store layout and remove non-essential furniture/items, to allow ease of movement for physical distancing.
  • Establish directional aisles to manage customer flow for foot traffic,
  • Post physical distancing signs at all entrances, by cashiers or service counters.
  • Provide visual cues such as tape, stickers or safety cones every two metres/six feet for customers lining up when waiting to enter and when waiting to cash out.
  • Staff should remind clients to stay two metres/six feet apart, as much as possible.
  • Use every other check out station if less than two metres/six feet apart.
  • Shipping and deliveries should be completed in a designated area, away from customers and most staff, if possible.
  • Consider customer appointments and coordinate them to allow adequate space to maintain physical distancing between customers and staff.

Install transparent barriers

  • Consider installing plexiglass or other physical barriers where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • To be effective the barrier must be large enough to create a shield between the breathing zones of the people on either side.
  • Download more information about installing effective barriers.

Proper use of cloth masks and face coverings

  • Cloth masks and face covers should be worn by customers and staff.
  • Download and post signs about how to safely wear a mask.
  • Consider providing disposable masks for customers who have not brought their own.
  • Not all customers will be able to tolerate a mask. Alternative ways to provide service to these individuals should be considered. For example, providing service at the end of the day, with no other customers in the location, and keeping a two metre/six foot distance as much as possible.

Support and encourage proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Wash hands with liquid soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds frequently, including before and after the handling of personal protective equipment (e.g. masks, gloves), and after each customer interaction. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol based hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration).
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer in a dispenser for staff and customers to use, and place throughout the store (e.g. entrance/exit, check-out).
  • Cover cough or sneeze with the elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash hands.
  • Post Cover your Cough and Hand Sanitizing signs in visible locations.

Implement enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection practices

  • Ensure cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces before opening, at least twice a day, and more frequently as needed. High-touch surfaces include items such as door handles, counters, cabinet doors, elevator buttons, escalator handrails, touch screen surfaces, and keypads.
  • Store shopping carts and baskets must be sanitized between each customer. Those which cannot be easily sanitized should not be provided (e.g. cloth bags).
  • Business hours may need to be adjusted to accommodate enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices.
  • When scheduling appointments, allow additional time between clients for proper cleaning and disinfecting of workstations and equipment.
  • Place signs and information to discourage customers from handling items they do not intend to buy.
  • Do not hand out any coupons, samples, testers, or flyers.
  • Remove magazines and soft/porous items such as cushions and rugs that are difficult to sanitize.
  • Refer to Health Canada’s list of hard surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) for information on disinfectants:
    • Disinfectants must 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 dates of products and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Chlorine bleach solutions may be prepared and used for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
  • Ensure a minimum of two minutes disinfectant contact time and allow to air dry.

Additional considerations

Product displays
  • Consider stocking shelves and arranging product displays when the store is closed to customers. Where stocking or product display arrangements are needed during operating hours, define safe practices for workers. Consider closing aisles while restocking or using signs to remind customers to stay two metres/six feet apart.
  • Workers should wash their hands before and after stocking/rearranging shelves or product displays.
Assisting customers
  • Consider stopping, reducing or modifying your customer interaction, demonstration, and assistance practices to reduce contact intensity and number of contacts. Maintain a two metre/six foot distance when providing service face-to-face. Ensure both customer and staff are wearing a mask.
  • To minimize physical contact with customers, offer online or telephone orders with delivery or pick up services as alternatives to shopping in person.
Checkout and returns/exchanges
  • Customers who bring their own reusable shopping bags should pack their own bags at checkout.
  • Use tap features at checkout instead of cash, where possible.
  • Returns should only be allowed for merchandise that can be wiped down or quarantined for 72 hours before re-sale.
Fitting rooms
  • Fitting rooms may be used if compliant with the following conditions:
    • The fitting room stalls must be equipped with a solid door that may be closed.
    • Patrons must not be permitted to occupy adjacent fitting room stalls at any one time.
    • The fitting room stalls must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Remove unnecessary or decorative objects from inside the fitting rooms.
  • Do not hand customers tokens or number cards. Consider other options to count or limit the number of items brought into a fitting room.
  • Ask customers to leave unwanted items in a designated location, including hangers.
  • Items that have been tried on should be quarantined in a sanitized bin or space for at least 24 hours before returning to the rack.
Increase communication with customers

Other Resources


COVID-19 Guidelines for Malls and Shopping Centres

This document contains guidance for operators of mall/shopping centre to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they reopen their premises. For related information please refer to Guidance for Retail Settings.

As every mall and shopping centre is different, it is ultimately the responsibility of the operator to review their own site-specific circumstances and assess their ability to implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures. For information about how to assess COVID-19 risks in your setting and to plan risk modifications, please refer to the Toronto Public Health Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation Guide for Businesses during COVID-19.

COVID-19 transmission

Respiratory transmission: COVID-19 is an illness that is spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact from respiratory droplets of someone with COVID-19. The respiratory droplets can travel up to two metres/six feet when we cough, sneeze or talk.

Contaminated surfaces: It is possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. This new coronavirus can survive on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 72 hours.

Protective measures to keep everyone safe

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Keep a two metre/six feet distance from others, when possible.
  • Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wear a face mask or covering.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Protect and monitor employee health

  • Every business owner should develop and communicate staff policies concerning staff health and safety, including attendance policies and staff screening for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Every business owner should be aware of what to do if there is a case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • Please refer to Guidance for Employers, Workplaces and Businesses for tools and resources to use.

Stay home when you are sick

  • Post signs at entrances explaining COVID-19 symptoms and the conditions for entry.
    • Those with symptoms should not enter the mall to avoid spreading the virus.

Facilitate physical distancing

Shared Mall Space
  • Adjust operating hours to control the number of people permitted in the mall at one time.
    • Consider ways to support vulnerable populations such as dedicated mall hours.
  • Assign employees or security to assist with ensuring physical distancing in high-traffic areas.
  • Monitor entrances to control the number of people entering the mall at any given time.
    • Restrict and/or direct the flow of people into, throughout and exiting the mall (e.g. designate some doors for entry or exit to avoid two-way traffic, designate some hallways for one-way traffic with signs and floor decals).
    • Encourage visitors to exit the mall as quickly as possible following completion of their shopping/transactions.
  • Place additional hands-free garbage bins with removable linings at all entrances and exits.
  • Post signs encouraging people to dispose of used masks safely in garbage bins.
  • Remove or spread apart seating in shared spaces, at least two metres/six feet.
  • Close off or remove all furniture in food courts.
  • Food courts seating areas are to remain closed during the Phase 2 reopening, but food vendors can be open for takeout.
    • Limit the number of people in washrooms at a time.
    • Close toilets or urinals that are less than two metres/six feet apart without barriers between them.

Retail Settings and Stores

For public health guidance on safely reopening individual retail settings and stores, refer to the Toronto Public Health document Guidance for Retail Settings.

Install transparent barriers

  • Consider installing plexiglass or other physical barriers where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as at information kiosks.
  • To be effective the barrier must be large enough to create a shield between the breathing zones of the people on either side.
  • Download information about installing effective barriers.

Proper use of cloth masks and face coverings

  • Cloth masks and face covers should be worn by visitors and employees.
  • Download and post signs about how to safely wear a mask.
  • Consider providing disposable masks for those who have not brought their own.
  • Not all customers will be able to tolerate a mask. Alternative ways to provide service to these customers should be considered, such as providing dedicated hours of service for vulnerable populations, with no one else present in the mall.

Support and encourage proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer rub (ABHR) with 70-90% alcohol concentration in dispensers outside the entrance to the mall and in multiple locations throughout the mall, particularly near high-touch services such as bank machines, touch-screen signs, elevators, escalators, stairs, and food courts.
  • Encourage everyone to use ABHR when they enter the mall.
  • Continue to top up the supply of ABHR in dispensers throught the day.
  • Post Hand Washing, Cover your Cough and Hand Sanitizing signs in high visibility locations.
  • Wash hands with liquid soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds frequently.
  • Cover cough or sneeze with the elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash hands.

Implement enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection practices

  • Business hours may need to be adjusted to accommodate enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices.
  • Ensure cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces before opening, at least twice a day, and more frequently as needed. High-touch surfaces include items such as door handles, counters, cabinet doors, elevator buttons, escalator handrails, touch screen surfaces, and keypads.
  • Refer to Health Canada’s list of hard surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) for information on disinfectants:
    • Disinfectants must 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 dates of products and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Chlorine bleach solutions may be prepared and used for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.
  • Ensure a minimum of two minutes disinfectant contact time and allow to air dry.
  • Employees should use gloves if it is anticipated that hands will come into contact with bodily fluids, broken skin, mucous membranes, contaminated equipment or environmental surfaces.
  • Proper hand hygiene should be practiced before and after removing masks and gloves, if used.
  • Discourage use of touch screens for wayfinding.
  • Shopping carts and baskets must be sanitized between each customer. Those which cannot be easily sanitized should not be provided (e.g. cloth bags).
  • Do not hand out any coupons, samples, testers, or flyers.
  • Remove soft/porous items that are difficult to sanitize such as upholstery, cushions and rugs.

Increase communication with customers

  • Communicate to visitors, tenants and employees about the changes you have made to protect them against COVID-19 through multiple platforms (e.g. signs, website, social media, voice mail)
  • Use public announcement systems frequently to deliver key messages to mall visitors (e.g. physical distancing, sanitizing hands at entrances, no gathering/crowding in one area).
  • Post signs at the entrance instructing vistors, tenants and employees not to enter if they are sick.
  • Post educational materials to encourage healthy behaviours that reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Other Resources

 

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Taxi and Ride Share Vehicles.

For information in French about COVID-19, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website and Public Health Ontario portal.