Last updated: January 14, 2022 at 8:10 p.m.

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.

Owners and operators have a responsibility to assess the risks associated with their facility and operations, and their ability to mitigate these risks. They are responsible for implementing measures to reduce the risk of infection among all those who participate in their activities (e.g. staff, volunteers, patrons). See Provincial Orders O. Reg. 263/20 for more information.

The aim and purpose of this document is to assist individuals and businesses with information related to the Ontario Government’s reopening framework as well as Toronto Public Health requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is important to know that breaches of some of these directions will constitute offences under provincial regulations or other public health legal requirements. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.

Protective Measures to Keep Everyone Safe

  • Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Keep a two metre distance from those you don’t live with, 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 indoor public spaces, and when you cannot maintain a two metre distance outdoors.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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

What is Permitted (O. Reg. 263/20)

Indoor museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions are closed.

Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions may open for outdoor activities if they comply with the following conditions:

  • The number of members of the public in the outdoor seated event or activity within the attraction at any one time must not exceed 50 per cent capacity.
    • This can be calculated by taking 50 per cent of the maximum occupant load of the business or facility, or part of a business or facility, as applicable, as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
  • No member of the public may attend a seated event or activity within the attraction unless they have made a reservation to do so.
  • No member of the public may be permitted to enter any indoor premises of the attraction, except,
    • to access a washroom,
    • to access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route,
    • to purchase admission,
    • to engage in retail sales, or
    • as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
  • If a concert, event, performance or movie is held at the attraction, specific conditions apply. See COVID-19 Guidance for Indoor and Outdoor Events for more information.
  • Every person on an amusement ride or tour vehicle must wear a mask or face covering during any period in which they come within two metres of another person, unless entitled to an exception.
  • The person responsible for the attraction must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which they are permitted to operate and the capacity limits of any seated event or activity within the attractions.

Encourage COVID-19 Vaccination

Measures for All Workplaces, Organizations & Businesses

Review the Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace to plan and implement protocols to keep staff and patrons safe. Operators must also consider the following:

  • Health screening for staff and patrons
    • Staff must be actively screened prior to their work shift.
    • Patrons must self-screen prior to entering the premises.
    • Post signs on the front door explaining the conditions for entry, including screening.
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    • Provide hand sanitizer with 70-90% alcohol concentration in dispensers outside the entrance to the attraction, particularly near high-touch services such as bank machines, touch-screen signs, elevators, escalators and stair railings.
    • Encourage everyone to use hand sanitizer when they enter.
  • Cleaning and disinfection
    • Business hours may need to be adjusted to accommodate enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices.
    • Washrooms must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
    • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and objects at least once a day and when visibly dirty. See Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.
    • The facility may need to speak with chemical suppliers to identify disinfectants that are gentle on antique surfaces (e.g. railings in century old homes).
    • Any equipment that is rented or provided to patrons must be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
    • Discourage use of touch screens for wayfinding.

Safety Plan

Operators must prepare a safety plan, and the plan must:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning, disinfecting and personal protective equipment (PPE) and preventing and controlling crowds.
  • Include information as to how the business, place or event will:
    • prevent gatherings and crowds in the business or place or at the event;
    • ensure that physical distancing and wearing of masks in lines as applicable is complied with in the business or place or at the event; and
    • mitigate the risk of any interactive activities, exhibits or games that may be included in the business or place or at the event.
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review, on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working or attending the location.

Use the COVID-19 Safety Plan Checklist to develop your safety plan.

Facilitate Physical Distancing

  • All patrons must maintain two metres distancing from people they don’t live with.
  • Limit the number of customers permitted into the facility at a time:
    • Consider using a ticket-based system to limit walk-ins.
    • 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).
    • Position an employee at the entrance to control customer entry.
    • Monitor the number of people entering and leaving the facility.
  • Rearrange layout to allow ease of movement for physical distancing, if applicable.
  • Design traffic flow that encourages one-way movement with prominent signage and/or floor markings.
  • Utilize other measures in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain:
    • Set-up portable barriers around employees when managing exhibit areas.
    • Block off every other ticket station.
  • Provide visible queues for customers by placing markers such as tape, safety cones/pylons or painted lines every two metres.

Install Transparent Barriers

  • Consider installing plexiglass or other physical barriers where physical distancing cannot be maintained between staff and patrons.
  • 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.

Manage Lines

  • Operators must ensure that patrons lining up or congregating outside their establishment maintain at least two metres physical distancing from other groups of persons. Masks are also recommended.
  • Operators must ensure that patrons lining up indoors maintain at least two metres physical distancing from other groups of persons and wear a mask.
  • Post physical distancing signs at all entrances, service desks or otherwise.
  • Place visual / textural markers (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) spaced two metres apart for patrons lining up.

Use of Masks and Face Coverings

  • The use of non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all indoor public spaces, as per a City of Toronto bylaw, with limited exemptions.
    • Operators are required to develop a policy on the wearing of masks. Use the Mask By-law Checklist and Sample Policy.
    • Staff should be trained on mask requirements, including who is exempt.
    • Do not request proof of an exemption. People who are unable to wear a mask due to age, health or other reasons do not require proof for the exemption.
  • Masks are required when attending an indoor or outdoor organized public event permitted by Reg. 263/20, and within two metres of someone outside the household.
  • Masks are recommended outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment that covers the eyes, nose and mouth must be worn if, while providing service in an indoor area, the person
    • is required to come within two metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering; and
    • is not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier from a person described above.

Food & Drink

Concerts, Events, Performances & Movies

Communication

  • Provide information to staff and patrons about facility operations (e.g. public health measures, available amenities).
  • Encourage staff and patrons to download the COVID Alert app so they can be notified directly if they have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19.
  • Download information and display posters in high-visibility areas in your setting to promote messages about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Other Resources


Download this information as a PDF.