Last updated: July 7, 2020 at 9:50 a.m.
This page provides guidelines for reopening community agencies.
This is general guidance is for community, non-profit and voluntary sector service organizations as they re-open service settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. This general guidance is appropriate for services and programs delivered to groups and individuals in non-clinical and non-residential settings. Tailored resources are available for specialized community and workplace settings. As every organization will be different, it is ultimately the responsibility of management and staff to review their own policies, procedures and site-specific circumstances, and to assess their ability to deliver programs and activities while ensuring that the appropriate infection prevention and control measures are implemented and maintained.
For information about how to assess COVID-19 risks and to plan risk modification for your service setting, please refer to the Toronto Public Health Four Step Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation Guide for Community Non-Profit Services and Programs. Stay up to date with current Emergency Orders issued by the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto, and guidance provided by Toronto Public Health (TPH) at www.toronto.ca/COVID19.
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, talk or sing.
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.
At-Risk populations: The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is greater for older adults, and people with an underlying medical condition or a weakened immune system (e.g. due to a medical condition or treatment). People living on a low income, people who are under-housed or experiencing homelessness, and those who live in congregate settings such as retirement homes or rooming houses may also be disproportionally impacted by the virus. Organizations should consider the vulnerability of employees, volunteers, clients and visitors when planning their services and programs.
Toronto Public Health regularly publishes new guidance to support community and workplace settings to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check the website regularly for new information. The following resources may be relevant for your organization:
This is a summary checklist of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while providing non-clinical community services and programs. For more information see Toronto Public Health’s Four Step Risk Assessment and Mitigation Guide for Community Non-Profits and Guidance for Community Non-Profit Services and Programs.
COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus and can cause acute respiratory illness. In general, these viruses are spread when a sick person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 is spread person-to-person through large respiratory droplets (e.g. coughing, sneezing) that can travel up to two metres (six feet). It may also be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. The majority of people with COVID-19 develop a mild illness, which may include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. For more general information about COVID-19, visit www.toronto.ca/COVID19.
Food banks/donation centres should continue to operate and receive items from community members during this time. The following recommendations provide guidance to donation centres that deliver food and other items to members of the community regarding risk reduction.