Last updated: July 16, 2021 at 7:15 a.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.
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.

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 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. 364/20)

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

Indoor capacity limits

  • The number of members of the public in the indoor ticketed area of the attraction at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person and in any event may 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.
  • The number of members of the public at indoor seated event or activity within the attraction at any one time must not exceed 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 persons, whichever is less.
  • The number of members of the public permitted to be in a particular room in the indoor portion of the attraction must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person and in any event may not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the room (as calculated above).
    • If it is a seated event or activity taking place in the room, capacity must be limited to 50 per cent of the usual seating capacity, or 1,000 persons, whichever is less, and the total capacity for the particular room cannot be added to increase the total capacity of the indoor ticketed area.

Outdoor capacity limits

  • The number of members of the public in the outdoor ticketed area of the attraction at any one time must not exceed 75 per cent capacity.
    • This can be calculated by taking the total square metres of area accessible to the public, dividing that number by 1.33, and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number.
  • The number of members of the public at an outdoor seated event or activity within the attraction at any one time must not exceed 75 per cent of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 persons, whichever is less.
  • The number of members of the public at an outdoor event or activity at the attraction must not exceed 75 per cent capacity (as determined above) or 5,000 persons, whichever is less.

Other capacity limits

  • If a concert, event, performance or movie is held at the park, the conditions with respect to the concert, event, performance or movie apply. See Guidance for Indoor & Outdoor Events & Gatherings for more information.
    • The maximum capacity permitted for a concert, event, performance or movie may not be added to the maximum capacity permitted under this section so as to increase the capacity permitted under this section.
  • Any business, place, facility or establishment at which food or drink is sold or served while dance facilities are provided, including cultural and heritage institutions and attractions, must comply with regulations for food and drink establishments with dance facilities,
    • at any time when food or drink is served or sold at the business, place, facility or establishment while dance facilities are provided; and
    • in any part of the business, place, facility or establishment where the food or drink is served or sold and dance facilities are provided.

See Guidance for Food Premises for more information.

Additional requirements

  • No member of the public may attend a seated event or activity within the attraction unless they have made a reservation to do so.
  • Any indoor amusement rides operated by the attraction must be operated to enable every person on the ride to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person on the ride, except where necessary,
    • to facilitate payment, or
    • for the purposes of health and safety.
  • Any indoor tour vehicles operated by the attraction must be operated to enable every person on the tour vehicle, including tour guides, to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person, except where necessary:
    • to facilitate payment, or
    • for the purposes of health and safety.
  • Every person on an indoor amusement ride or indoor tour vehicle must wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless they are entitled to an exemption.
  • The person responsible for the attraction must prepare a safety plan. See below for details.
  • 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 attraction.

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 in staff and public areas at least twice a day and when visibly dirty.
    • 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.
  • 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 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. Operators are required to develop a policy on the wearing of masks. Use the Mask By-law Checklist and Sample Policy.
  • Masks are recommended outdoors, especially 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 and Beverage Services

  • Indoor and outdoor dining is permitted with restrictions.
  • Operators and food vendors must refer to COVID-19 Guidance for Food Premises
  • Designate an appropriate space, away from patrons, for employees to consume food and drink. Ensure this area follows all applicable public health measures (e.g., physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting).

Encourage Vaccination

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.