Last updated: June 4, 2020 at 6 p.m.

Toronto Public Health is partnering with COVID Near You to monitor the frequency of COVID-like symptoms in Toronto. Help us learn how symptoms of COVID-19 may be moving through our community by completing a short survey about your current symptoms.

Everyone should avoid non-essential trips in the community. Avoid close contact and keep a distance of 6 feet (2 metres) from others. Everyone has a role to play. The actions you take will protect you, loved ones and those most vulnerable in our community. It’s time to step up, not out.

Tips to Prevent the Spread

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed:

  • Limit non-essential trips out of your home.
  • Keep two metres/six feet distance from others.
  • Wear a mask or face covering if you can’t keep physical distance.
  • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based (70-90%) hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face 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.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell.

As we slowly return to some sense of normalcy, we need to continue physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play. The actions you take will help protect you and everyone in our community.

If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, stay home and self-isolate. Wear a mask or face covering when you are:

  • unable to keep a six feet/two metre distance from others
  • in elevators, common areas, waiting rooms or shopping
  • using transit, taxi or ride share services
  • sick and going for a medical appointment

Be respectful of others who choose not to wear a mask. Some health conditions make it hard to breathe when wearing a mask.

Reduce Your Risk When Outdoors

When exercising and playing:

  • Go out for fresh air, exercises or to garden.
  • Take your children outdoors to play.
  • Bring your own toys and sports equipment.
  • Greet others from a distance with a wave/nod.
  • Keep your activities to the same household.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Avoid gatherings with non-household members.
  • Do not arrange playdates for your kids.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Avoid playgrounds.

When shopping:

  • Create a shopping list to keep your trips short or shop online.
  • Keep to one household member when shopping.
  • Use tap to pay rather than handling cash.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Avoid crowded places. Limit the number of people in elevators (keep six feet apart).
  • Avoid touching public surfaces.

When using transit:

  • Use elbow/arm to push buttons/open doors.
  • Sit in the back when using taxi and ride share. Wear a mask and open windows.
  • Throw your garbage in a bin.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Avoid travel during peak hours, if possible.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Do not use transit if you are sick or self-isolating.

Download this information as a PDF.

Resources

Download posters and infographics for your space

Activities that Support Physical Distancing

  • ActiveTO is a program that will make more room on neighbourhood streets and major roads so that people can maintain physical distance while outside.
  • The City has also created a resource list of free, high-quality recreation, active living, arts and culture activities for all ages to enjoy while staying, playing, and learning at home.
  • CurbTO is a program to help businesses, services, and community agencies support physical distancing outside and inside their buildings while also accommodating increased demand for delivery and pickup services.
  • Once approved, the CaféTO program aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months.

Videos

Face masks and coverings do not replace the need to keep a distance of 6 feet from others, washing hands often, and staying home when sick.

Wearing a cloth face mask or face covering has not been proven to protect the person wearing it, but it can help to protect others around you, even if you do not have symptoms.

When to Wear a Face Mask or Covering

It is strongly recommended that people wear a face mask or covering when in public, especially when it is difficult to maintain a two metre (six feet) distance from others, such as on transit, in an elevator, when shopping or entering and leaving an apartment building. If sick, wear a mask when going to a medical appointment. Do not use public transit.

It is important to use and clean a mask properly. Using a mask incorrectly can accidentally spread infection to the wearer. Be respectful of people who may choose not to wear a mask. Some health conditions make breathing through a mask difficult.

Do not use N95 and surgical masks, as they are in limited supply, and urgently needed for healthcare workers.

Qualities of a Good Cloth Mask or Face Covering

A good cloth mask or face covering should:

  • Be made of at least two layers of tightly woven fabric (e.g. cotton or linen).
  • Allow for easy breathing.
  • Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops.
  • Maintain its shape after washing and drying.
  • Be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment.
  • Be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping.
  • Use different fabrics for each side of the mask, so you know which side faces in and out.

Masks or face coverings should not:

  • Impair vision or interfere with tasks.
  • Be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials.
  • Be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials.
  • Be made of materials that may fall apart easily, such as tissues.

For instructions on making a mask using fabric, a t-shirt or a bandana, visit the Government of Canada website.

Download the Qualities of a Good Cloth Mask infographic.

Putting on a Mask or Face Covering

  • Wash your hands before putting on a mask.
  • Keep hair away from your face.
  • Place the mask over your mouth and nose snugly. There should be no gaping.
  • Be sure it fits comfortably and that it’s easy to breathe, to avoid adjusting the mask while using it.
  • Avoid touching your face and mask while using it.
  • Do not share your mask with others.
  • Do not leave your mask around your neck, hanging from your ear, or on your forehead.
  • Do not put your used mask in your pocket because it is contaminated with germs. Put it in a plastic bag until you can wash it.

Download the How to Safely Wear a Cloth Mask or Face Covering infographic.

Taking off a Face Mask

  • Change your mask as soon as it gets damp or soiled.
  • Remove the mask without touching the outside of the mask.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth when removing the mask.
  • Put the mask directly in the laundry or a lined bin to be cleaned.
  • Wash cloth masks after each use, in the laundry with other items using the hot cycle.
  • Discard non-reusable masks in a lined garbage.
  • Clean surfaces that a dirty mask touches.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after removing your mask.

Download the How to Safely Wear a Cloth Mask or Face Covering infographic.

People Who Should Not Use Face Masks

  • Children under the age of two.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing.
  • Anyone who cannot remove the mask without assistance.

Wearing a Mask at Work

Follow instructions provided by your employer regarding the option of choosing to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

Download this information as a PDF.

Resources

Videos

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread by food or food packaging. Wiping down containers or packaging is not necessary. In general, you can lower your risk of infection by following safe food handling practices.

It is important to:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling groceries, take-out bags & containers
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces after handling groceries and packaging
  • Wash reusable shopping bags
  • Wash vegetables and fruit under cold running water

Tips for grocery shopping:

  • Shop once a week and make a list to keep your trip short
  • Stay 6 feet from others during lineups and when shopping
  • Wear a cloth mask when keeping your distance is difficult
  • Use tap to pay instead of handling cash
  • Clean your hands after you leave the store

Read Toronto Public Health’s guidance on shopping for essentials.

Resources:

Consensual sex can be a way of dealing with anxiety or fulfilling and expressing our needs for intimacy. It can also be pleasurable and help pass the time when isolated indoors. But is it safe to have sex during COVID-19? Sexual contact with new partners or persons who are not in the same household is not recommended at this time.

Safer sexual practices may prevent unintended pregnancy and STIs, but it will not prevent infection from COVID-19. COVID-19 can spread through close physical contact.

Reduce the spread of COVID-19 and still enjoy sex:

  • Your safest sex partner during the COVID-19 pandemic is yourself.
  • Consensual sexting, virtual sex, video dating, or chat rooms.
  • Have a consensual partner that you are living with in the same household.
  • If you usually meet sex partners online, are polyamorous with people who are not living in the same house, or make a living having sex, consider video dates, sexting or chat rooms instead of meeting people in person.

Protect yourself when having sex:

  • Wash your hands before and after having sex, whether alone or with a partner.
  • Use condoms or a glove or condom cut open to reduce contact during oral or anal sex.
  • Use condoms to protect from sexually transmitted infections.
  • Clean sex toys and consider covering them with a condom. Do not share sex toys with others.
  • Avoid kissing and having sex with a partner, if feeling unwell, or if you have COVID-19.
  • Avoid having sex if one partner has a health condition that can lead to more severe illness from COVID-19.

Learn more about safer sex during COVID-19.

 

On December 31, 2019, Chinese health authorities identified a new (or novel) coronavirus (referred to as COVID-19) through a series of reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. It is thought that this new coronavirus originated in animals.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that circulate both in humans and animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illness, similar to the common cold and spread easily between people. There are however, strains of coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans which have caused more severe illness in humans in the past, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). These tend to have more difficulty spreading from person to person.

COVID-19 spreads through the direct contact with the respiratory droplets of someone who is infected with the virus through their cough or sneeze. These droplets can spread up to 2 metres, or 6 feet. It may also be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

covid-19 mostly spreads from close contact

Resource

Know the Law

Learn how emergency orders, directives and bylaws impact you, including the Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health’s directives for residents of Toronto issued on April 1.