Last updated: October 18, 2021 at 7:55 a.m.

Read Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for planning indoor and outdoor events and gatherings. On January 4, 2021, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health issued a Letter of Instruction to all employers in the City of Toronto permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act. Employers permitted to be open are required to take the additional measures set out in this Letter to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The following guidance is intended to help organizers and permit-holders of events and gatherings reduce the spread of COVID-19. It describes the requirements under O. Reg. 364/20 of the Reopening Ontario Act and is applicable to:

  • Concerts and live shows, including performing arts events, and movie theatres/cinemas
  • Meeting or event spaces
  • Other organized or spontaneous indoor and outdoor events and social gatherings (e.g. parties, fundraisers, wedding receptions, funeral receptions).

Organizers can also use the COVID-19 Checklist for Safely Organizing Events & Gatherings.

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.

Organizers, operators and permit-holders of events/gatherings, regardless of their purpose or size, have a responsibility to assess the risks associated with their event/gathering, 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, performers, volunteers, patrons). This includes managing lines and crowds within and around the perimeter of the event space.

What is permitted (O. Reg. 364/20)

Organized public events and social gatherings

  • Organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, with physical distancing.
    • Exceptions include an organized public event at a business or place to which a capacity limit is described in Schedule 1 or 2 of Reg. 364/20, if the event is held in accordance with that capacity limit.

Concert venues, theatres and cinemas

Concert venues, theatres and cinemas may open if they comply with the following conditions:

  • Every member of the public who is outdoors at a concert, event, performance or movie must wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless they are entitled to an exception as noted in the regulation, or are seated with members of their own household only, and every member of the household is seated at least two metres from every person outside their household.
    • All individuals must wear a mask or face covering indoors. See below for details.
  • No member of the public may attend a seated concert, event, performance or movie within the concert venue, theatre or cinema unless they have made a reservation to do so.

For more information, see Live Performance Health & Safety during COVID-19.

Drive-in / drive-through events and performances

Outdoor drive-in or drive-through concert venues and theatres and drive-in cinemas may open with conditions. See COVID-19 Guidance for Drive-in / Drive-through Events for more information.

Meeting and event spaces, conference and convention centres

The person responsible for a business or place that is open may rent out indoor or outdoor meeting or event space if the business or place complies with the following conditions:

Indoor capacity limits:
  • The number of members of the public permitted to be in a particular room in the indoor portion of the rentable meeting or event space 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 in the room.
  • Rooms must be separated by a partition with a hard, non-porous surface that can be easily and routinely cleaned and disinfected.
Additional requirements:
  • The person responsible for the establishment must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which the establishment is permitted to operate.
  • The rented space must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres, or plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • The person responsible for the business or place must actively screen individuals in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health before they enter the indoor premises of the business or place.
  • The person responsible for the business or place shall,
    • record the name and contact information of every member of the public who attends a meeting or event;
    • maintain the records for a period of at least one month; and
    • provide this information to Toronto Public Health upon request.
Exceptions:
  • See Reg. 364/20 Schedule 2, section 4 for exceptions that apply if the business or place is rented out,
    • for a day camp or overnight camp for children operating in a manner consistent with the safety guidelines for COVID-19 for day camps produced by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
    • to a provider of child care within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014;
    • for the purpose of the provision of social services;
    • for the purpose of delivering or supporting the delivery of court services;
    • for operations by or on behalf of a government; or
    • for the purpose of delivering or supporting the delivery of government services.
    • to participants in an international single sport event hosted by a national sport organization that is either funded by Sport Canada or recognized by the Canadian Olympic Committee or the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
    • to participants in a sport league or association identified in the regulation.

Religious ceremonies, rites and services

Provincial Proof of Vaccination Policy

  • Beginning September 22, 2021, patrons are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated to access some businesses and settings, including meeting and event spaces, concert venues, theatres and cinemas. Learn more at Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination.
  • Encourage guests and staff born in 2009 or earlier to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Read and share information about the vaccine and where to get vaccinated.
  • Post signs and share COVID-19 vaccine resources, available in multiple languages.
  • It is strongly recommended that organizations determine a method for attendees of gatherings of 1,000 individuals or more to demonstrate proof of their vaccination status.

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:

  • Staff attendance and operations
    • Collect contact information of all staff, essential visitors and other persons who provide work for or attend the facility.
  • Health screening for staff and patrons:

Safety Plan

All businesses and workplaces must prepare a safety plan. This safety plan must:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects, wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) and preventing and controlling crowding.
    • Concert venues, theatres, cinemas and drive-in/through events/venues, shall also 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.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems

  • Ensure the HVAC system(s) are properly maintained.
  • Increase outdoor air-exchange by:
  • Maximizing the outdoor air ratio of the HVAC system settings, or
  • Opening windows and doors, if it is safe to do so
  • Use the highest efficiency filters that are compatible with the HVAC system, if provided.
  • Keep seating and activities away from air vents and areas with high airflow.
  • Do not obstruct HVAC inlets and outlets.
  • When using ceiling fans, use an upward airflow rotation.
  • If portable fans are used, position fan with an upward movement to avoid blowing of air across people and surfaces.
  • There is no evidence the use of portable air purifiers will prevent the spread of COVID-19. If used, follow the manufacturer’s directions to decide where best to place the device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance.
  • For more information, review the COVID-19: Transmission, Aerosols and Ventilation fact sheet.

Use of Masks and Face Coverings

  • All individuals must wear a mask or face covering indoors, as per Reg. 364/20.
  • Every person must wear a mask while attending an organized public event or gathering and within two metres of another individual who is not part of their household.
  • Masks are required outdoors at a concert, event, performance or movie unless seated with household members only and every member of the household is seated at least two metres from every other person outside their household.
    • Masks or face coverings are strongly recommended in all outdoor spaces when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Masks must be worn in line-ups indoors, and are recommended in line-ups outdoors.
  • Some exceptions apply, including children under the age of two, and people with medical conditions that make wearing a mask difficult.
  • Masks may be temporarily removed if a person is performing or rehearsing in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance.
  • City of Toronto bylaw requires that businesses with indoor spaces that are open to the public must develop a policy on the wearing of masks. Use the Mask By-law Checklist and Sample Policy.
  • 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.

Physical Distancing

  • All people must maintain at least a two metres physical distance from others they don’t live with.
    • Exceptions include when in an outdoor meeting or event space, or a concert venue, theatre or cinema.
  • If live entertainment is performed for spectators, the performers must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from any spectators or be separated from any spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
  • Operators must ensure that patrons waiting in line maintain a distance of two metres from others.
    • Post physical distancing signs at all entrances, kiosks and/or service counters.
    • Place visual/textural markers spaced two metres apart (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) to encourage physical distancing.

Capacity & Gathering Limits

  • In addition to capacity limits described within Reg. 364/20 and above, the person responsible for a place of business or facility that is open to the public shall limit the number of persons in the place of business or facility so that the members of the public are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the business or facility. Exceptions include:
    • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres and convention centres
    • Concert venues, theatres and cinemas.
  • Calculate the maximum number of patrons permitted according to current provincial regulations or physical distancing requirements, whichever is less. Limit the number of patrons accordingly.
    • The maximum number of patrons that should be permitted at any one time based on physical distancing requirements can be calculated as one person per two metres squared (four square metres or 43 square feet) of publicly accessible floor space.
  • Any business, place, facility or establishment at which food or drink is sold or served while dance facilities are provided, including meeting and event spaces, conference and convention centres; concert venues, theatres and cinemas, 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.

Food and Drink

  • Indoor and outdoor dining is now permitted with restrictions.
  • Vendors engaged in onsite food/beverage preparation in temporary establishments (e.g. tents/booths) at special events must comply with Reg. 493/17: Food Premises; including, but not limited to: the provision of a handwashing station for food handlers which is adequately supplied with hot and cold running water, an enclosed waste collection tank, liquid soap in a dispenser and paper towels.
  • See Guidance for Food Premises for more information.

Live Entertainment

  • Performers must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from any spectators or be separated from any spectators by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Recommendations to Promote Public Health Measures

Modify Programming

  • Host outdoors events whenever possible.
    • If using a tent or canopy, at least two full sides must be open to the outdoors and not substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable barriers.
    • Limit capacity under the tent/canopy to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
    • Arrange tables and chairs to promote physical distancing.
    • Require masks or face coverings if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Limit or cancel activities where distances or other appropriate controls cannot be implemented.
  • Allow sufficient time between events/gatherings to allow safe and distanced exit and entry, and sufficient environmental cleaning in between.
  • Keep the duration of the event/gathering to a minimum to limit contact among patrons.
  • Patrons should remain seated as much as possible.
  • Close or restrict access to non-essential common areas (e.g. communal lounges).
  • Discourage activities that increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 (e.g. singing, cheering, dancing, playing wind instruments, hugging). Encourage alternative practices, such as humming, clapping, noisemakers, waving.

Modify and Arrange Site/Floor Plan

  • Design traffic flow that encourages one-way movement with prominent signage and/or floor markings.
  • Increase floor marking and aisle signage to allow people to find their seats more easily.
  • Arrange, mark and/or assign seating to ensure at least two metre distance between individuals who are not members of the same household, as required.
  • Ensure that patrons can access their event/meeting area without wandering (i.e. entering other event/meeting rooms/areas). If possible, use a dedicated entrance/exit.
  • Identify areas where crowding and bottlenecks are common, such as lobbies or bathrooms. Use volunteers, staff or barriers to redirect people who may gather in these areas.
  • Ensure enough space for people in high-traffic areas, between chairs, tables, and places where people may gather.

Manage Lines and Gatherings Within and Outside the Venue

  • Monitor and manage patron lines within and outside the venue.
  • Use barriers/structures to enclose the event space/venue.
  • Designate entry and exit points. Manage these areas to control the number of patrons. If the maximum number of patrons is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.
  • Stagger arrivals, departures and breaks to reduce congestion at entrances and exits and in common areas.
  • Discourage people from gathering and loitering outside the venue.

Ticket and Concession Kiosks/Booths

  • Encourage online or telephone ticket purchases to minimize line-ups at the ticket/service counter.
  • Include staggered arrival times to the ticket process to limit on-site queueing.
  • Install physical barriers at the point of sale (e.g. plexiglass shield).
  • Encourage electronic payment by debit or credit card, and to tap instead of using the PIN pad.
  • Use a contactless transaction process to exchange concessions and/or scan tickets.
  • Review the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 Guidance for Retail Settings, as applicable.

Communication

  • Provide information to staff, performers and patrons about event/venue 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

This document does not replace the need for applicable City of Toronto permits. COVID-19 mitigation and safety measures are a new consideration as part of event permitting, however, they do not replace any pre-existing permit requirements, health and safety practices, or conditions.


Download this information as a PDF.

The following checklist is intended to help organizers safely plan and host events and gatherings while reducing the risk of COVID-19. These may include:

  • Performing arts events, concerts and live shows
  • Exhibits and installations
  • Meetings and conferences
  • Donation drives and fundraisers

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.

1. Assess the Risk & Create a Safety Plan

  • Assess the risks associated with the event and your ability to mitigate these risks.
    • Consider who is attending, what activities are involved, where and when and how the event will take place, and the current and projected level of virus spread in the community.
  • Review the COVID-19 Guidance for Indoor & Outdoor Events & Gatherings.
  • Create a safety plan.

2. Conduct COVID-19 Screening & Record Attendance

  • Advise staff/volunteers to report illness to their supervisor/manager and to stay home if sick.
  • Actively screen all staff/volunteers before starting each shift.
  • Ask all guests to self-screen before attending and to stay home if sick.
    • Some venues may be required to actively screen patrons entering their facility, including meeting and event spaces.
  • Communicate with all attendees, including posting signs at the entrance of the premises describing conditions for entry (e.g. COVID-19 screening tool).
  • Advise anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms while at the event to go home right away and self-isolate. Instruct them to call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000, their health care provider or an Assessment Centre to get tested.
  • Maintain attendance records of all staff and volunteers, including name, contact information, date and time. This will support contact tracing by Toronto Public Health should the need arise.
  • Protect all personal information collected. Keep records for 30 days and then shred.

3. Request Proof of Vaccination

4. Limit Capacity

  • Comply with current provincial gathering limits.
  • Host events or activities virtually and/or outdoors, if possible.
  • Use a ticketing/registration system to help control capacity and support contact tracing, if necessary.
  • Post signs at the entrance stating the maximum number of people permitted at one time.

5. Encourage Physical Distancing

  • Encourage everyone to stay at least two metres from people they don’t live with.
  • Space tents, booths, activities, and workstations at least two metres apart.
  • Ensure that all people waiting in line, whether indoors or outdoors, maintain two metres physical distancing. Masks are required indoors and strongly recommended outdoors while waiting in line.
  • Keep the volume of amplified and acoustic sound low so that people do not need to speak loudly or lean close to each other in order to be heard.
  • Performers of live music must be separated from spectators by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier.
  • Communicate with all attendees, including placing physical distancing signs and floor stickers in high-traffic areas to remind individuals to keep two metres apart from others at all times.

6. Promote Proper Hand Hygiene

  • Provide regular access to hand sanitizer with 70-90% alcohol concentration throughout the venue, and encourage staff, volunteers and guests to use it frequently.
  • Train staff/volunteers on proper hand hygiene techniques and respiratory etiquette.
  • Avoid shaking hands or other forms of contact with other people; use other forms of greeting.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Use contactless processes to purchase concessions, scan tickets, etc.
  • Post handwashing and respiratory etiquette signs at the entrance and throughout the premises.

7. Use Masks or Face Coverings

  • Ensure masks/face coverings are always worn when indoors.
  • Ensure masks/face coverings are always worn outdoors when physical distancing is difficult.
  • Train staff/volunteers on proper use of masks/face coverings.
  • Make personal protective equipment (PPE) available for staff/volunteer use when needed, including gloves, surgical/medical masks, and eye protection (face shield/goggles).
  • Train staff/volunteers on the proper use of PPE.

8. Enhance Cleaning & Disinfection

  • Clean and disinfect washrooms as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as tables, railings and door handles twice daily or more often as needed.

9. Increase Ventilation

  • Ensure heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are properly maintained, and replace filters as appropriate.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and increasing air exchange settings on HVAC systems, if possible.
  • Arrange workstations, activities and furniture away from air vents and high airflow areas; direct fans upwards, away from people.

10. Promote Food Safety

  • Vendors engaged in onsite food/beverage preparation in temporary establishments (e.g. tents/booths) at special events must comply with Reg. 493/17: Food Premises.
  • Review Guidance for Food Premises for more information.
  • Encourage guests to remain seated while eating and drinking.
  • Communicate with all attendees to keep their mask on when not actively eating or drinking.
  • Create a designated area away from guests for staff/volunteers to eat and drink.

11. Communicate with Staff, Volunteers & Guests

  • Share information with staff, volunteers, and guests in advance of the event about event/venue operations and expectations (e.g. public health measures, available amenities).
  • Discourage people from attending if they or someone in their household is symptomatic or unwell.

More information

For more information, visit our website at www.toronto.ca/COVID19 or call us at 416-338-7600.


Download this information as a PDF.

In the midst of a global pandemic there is still a need to grieve the loss of loved ones, and to support one another. With increasing cases of COVID-19, it is safer to consider a virtual service for friends and family and limit gatherings to your immediate household.

The aim and purpose of this document is to assist individuals 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.

Please adhere to the current public health orders. This summary checklist will assist you in planning for a safer event. Focus on safety rather than just meeting compliance. Consult with your funeral director and refer to the guidance for funeral homes & cemeteries for more information.

A. Connect virtually or outdoors to support the grieving process

  • Be creative with how to support each other. Consider a virtual or outdoor service for family and friends.
  • Create a virtual memory book, blog, or webpage for family and friends to share memories, photos and messages of support.
  • Organize virtual events for prayer, spiritual readings, etc.
  • Consider deferring in-person receptions or celebrations of life to a later date.

B. Stay informed

  • Seek guidance from a funeral director, if applicable.
  • Ask questions from service providers that you hire about their COVID-19 prevention protocols (e.g. florist, funeral home).
  • Check the City’s website for up to date information about COVID-19.

C. Limit attendance

  • Keep services short and limit in-person attendance.
  • Host services and/or receptions outdoors, if possible.
  • Include a virtual component to allow additional friends and family to participate.
  • Discourage people from gathering in large groups before and after the service.
  • Defer larger events until after the pandemic is over.

Gathering limits are regulated by the provincial Reopening Ontario Act (ROA).

  • The Bereavement Authority of Ontario regulates licensed funeral establishment, cemetery, crematorium and alternative disposition operators, and may issue stricter limits for these establishments than the ROA. See COVID-19 Guidance for Cemeteries and Funeral Homes & Crematoriums for more information.
  • The gathering and capacity limits below are mandatory.
  • All individuals must be able to maintain at least two metres physical distancing from people they do not live with at all times.

Capacity Limits (subject to physical distancing)

Funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony
Social gathering associated with a funeral service, rite or ceremony
Place of worship*
Indoors & Outdoors: Limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the room Indoors: 25 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors: 100 people or less + maintain a physical distance

If held in a meeting and event space, subject to applicable limits.

Meeting or event space**
Indoors & Outdoors: Limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the room Indoors: 50% capacity, up to 1,000 people + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors: 75% capacity, up to 5,000 people + maintain a physical distance

Private dwelling
Indoors: 25 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors: 100 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Indoors: 25 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors: 100 people or less + maintain a physical distance

*Subject to requirements for places of worship.    **Subject to requirements for meeting and event spaces.

D. Communicate before the event

  • Communicate online using social media, newspaper obituary or the funeral home website.
  • Inform your guests about the public health measures in place to keep them safe.
  • Ask everyone to self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving.
  • Encourage guests to stay home if they are feeling unwell. Post instructions on how to access the virtual service so they can participate.
  • Encourage guests to download the COVID Alert app.
  • Encourage guests who were born in 2009 or earlier to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Guests attending a social gathering associated with a funeral that is held indoors at select venues, such as a meeting or event space or restaurant, are required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated. If they are not fully vaccinated, they may show proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test within the previous 48 hours until October 13, 2021.
  • Read and share information about the vaccine and where to get vaccinated, available in multiple languages.

E. Encourage physical distancing

  • Arrange seating two metres apart and by household.
  • Use floor markings to let guests know where to stand in the reception line.
  • Remind guests to wave or ‘hand-to-heart’ gesture instead of hugs, kisses and handshakes.

F. Hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and face masks

  • Wash hands often, and have 70-90% alcohol-based hand sanitizer by entrances and in high- traffic areas.
  • Avoid touching face with unwashed hands. Cough or sneeze into elbow or tissue.
  • A mask must be worn when indoors. Have extra masks for people who forgot to bring one.
  • For people who are unable to wear a mask, offer a virtual service to keep everyone safer.
  • If a guest becomes ill during the service/reception, ask them to go home and self-isolate.

 G. Increase ventilation

  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems should be properly maintained, and filters replaced as required.
  • Increase ventilation by increasing air exchange settings on the HVAC, or open windows/doors.
  • If using fans, direct the fans upwards, away from people.
  • Arrange furniture away from air vents and high airflow areas.

H. Modify services

  • Family or cultural traditions may need to be adapted to keep everyone safe.
  • Avoid close contact, and sharing of ceremonial objects.
  • Print out the agenda or music sheets so people do not have to share.
  • Avoid activities that require guests to gather or share items.

Music

  • Congregational singing is strongly discouraged, even with masks.
  • Vocalist or musicians must perform behind a barrier such as plexiglass or be separated from audiences by at least two metres.
  • Consider using pre-recorded music, virtual performances, or non-wind instruments.
  • Keep the volume low so guests do not need to speak louder, or lean closer to hear the conversation.

Food and Drink

Drive-in Services

  • Consider having a drive-in service where guests remain in their vehicles. Vehicles must remain two metres apart and should only contain members of the same household.

Download this information as a PDF.

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. This checklist will help guide the planning of your wedding to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

When planning your wedding, adhere to the current public health orders. Work with your wedding vendors and/or wedding planner to ensure that you are making informed decisions and avoiding risks. Family or cultural expectations may need to be relaxed to protect the safety of participants.

The aim and purpose of this document is to assist individuals 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.

A. Stay informed

B. Communicate with your partner and service providers

  • Maintain open communication with your partner and wedding planning services.
  • Support each other and be flexible. Many businesses are impacted by the pandemic.
  • Create a backup plan with a few alternative dates.
  • Make adjustments to your wedding checklist to accommodate public health measures.
  • Shop online or by phone for venues, flowers, and other wedding necessities.

C. Limit the number of guests

  • Limit in-person attendance in compliance with the provincial mandatory restrictions (see chart below).
  • Consider ceremonies and celebrations that are virtual, outdoors and/or smaller, or delay the event until public health measures are less restrictive.
  • Consider having a drive-in ceremony where guests remain in their vehicles. Vehicles must remain two metres apart and should only contain members of the same household.
  • Consider adding a virtual component to allow friends and family to participate. This may also benefit guests who cannot be there in person due to distance/ travel restrictions or are at higher risk for illness due to age and health conditions.
  • All individuals must be able to maintain at least two metres physical distancing from people they do not live with at all times.

Capacity Limits, subject to physical distancing

Wedding or religious service, rite or ceremony
Social gathering associated with a wedding service, rite or ceremony (e.g., reception)
Place of worship*
Indoors & Outdoors: Limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the room Indoors: 25 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors: 100 people or less + maintain a physical distance

If held in a meeting and event space, subject to applicable limits.

Meeting or event space**
Indoors & Outdoors: Limited to the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the room Indoors: 50% capacity, up to 1,000 people + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors: 75% capacity, up to 5,000 people + maintain a physical distance

Private dwelling
Indoors: 25 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors:100 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Indoors: 25 people or less + maintain a physical distance

Outdoors: 100 people or less + maintain a physical distance

*Subject to requirements for places of worship.

**Subject to requirements for meeting and event spaces.

D. Communicate with guests before the event

  • Use technology to keep guests informed, such as a wedding website or social media.
  • Inform your guests about the precautions you are taking to keep everyone safe.
  • Encourage guests born in 2009 or earlier to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Guests attending a wedding reception held indoors at select venues, including a meeting or event space or restaurant, are required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated. If they are not fully vaccinated, they may show proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test within the previous 48 hours until October 13, 2021.
  • Read and share information about the vaccine and where to get vaccinated, available in multiple languages.
  • Ask attendees to bring their own mask and have extras if people forget to bring one.
  • Encourage guests to stay home if they are feeling unwell.
  • If hosting a virtual service, post instructions on how to access it online.

E. Encourage physical distancing

  • Space seating two metres apart and arrange by household.
  • Post signs to remind guests to stay two metres from others they don’t live with.
  • Use floor markings to let guests know where to stand in the reception line to stay safe.
  • Remind guests to refrain from hugging, kissing and shaking hands. See suggestions on how to greet each other from a distance.

F. Hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and face masks

  • Wash your hands often and have hand sanitizer available.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. Cough or sneeze into elbow or tissue.
  • A mask must be worn at all times when indoors and when physical distancing is difficult outdoors. Avoid adjusting your face mask when in use.
  • The couple may remove their masks during the wedding ceremony.
  • Masks may be removed by performers while performing. Physical distance of at least two metres must be maintained between performer and spectators.
  • Children under two years of age, people with health issues that make wearing a mask difficult, and those who are unable to put on a mask without assistance are exempted from wearing a mask. Read more information on mask exemptions.

G. Increase ventilation

  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and increasing air exchange settings on HVAC systems, if possible.
  • Ensure HVAC systems are properly maintained, and replace filters as appropriate.
  • Arrange furniture away from air vents and high airflow areas; direct fans upwards, away from people.

H. Modify the wedding service and reception

  • Host virtual services and celebrations, where possible.
  • When possible, use outdoor, rather than indoor spaces.
  • Avoid close contact or sharing of ceremonial objects or personal items.
  • Create an online registration book for guests.
  • Consider individual hand sanitizer and personalized masks as party favours or gift bags.
  • Limit close group photos to people in the same household or have guests wear a mask, even when outdoors.
  • Avoid activities that allow guests to congregate or share items (e.g. photo booths).
  • Consider limiting alcohol service to prevent guests from relaxing physical distancing measures.

I. Food and drink

J. Singing, music and entertainment

Singing and musical wind instruments are higher risk activities.

  • Congregational singing is strongly discouraged, even with masks.
  • Consider alternatives to vocalists and wind instruments, such as other instruments, pre-recorded music, or virtual performances.
  • Live vocalist, musicians and performers must perform behind a barrier such as plexiglass or be at least two metres distance from spectators.
  • Keep the volume of music low so the officiant, guests and staff do not need to speak louder, or lean closer to hear the conversation.
  • Performers and officiant should have their own microphone. Do not share microphones.

K. Attendance list for contact tracing

  • Encourage your guests to download the COVID Alert app.
  • If a guest becomes ill during the service/reception, ask them to go home and self-isolate.
  • Keep an electronic list of your guests and staff in attendance. Information collected is voluntary, and can only be used by public health for COVID-19 contact tracing. The attendance list can be deleted after 30 days.

Download this information as a PDF.

During the COVID-19 pandemic there is a greater need for goods and services. One way to support individuals, families and the community is to donate money, or new and gently-used items to a charitable organization. Donations by credit card, gift card, cheque, or e-transfer allow organizations to purchase the goods they need, often at better prices. This way of giving is also safer for the donor, staff and volunteers.

Donating goods

  • Do not donate items if you or someone in your household is unwell.
  • Call or visit the organization’s website to find out what items they need or will accept.
  • Follow directions from the organization on how and where to make the donation.
  • If delivering the donation in-person, stay at least two metres from others and wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling donated items.

Donating clothes, electronics and other household items

  • Items which are new or gently used are generally preferred.
  • Check the donation items to make sure they are in good condition.
    • Clothing should be clean, without stains or rips, and all buttons and zippers should be working.
    • Electronic goods should be in working order.
    • Dishware should not have chips or cracks.
  • Personal care items such as soap, toothpaste and feminine hygiene products should be unused and in original/sealed packaging.

Donating toys

  • Toy drives typically ask for new toys in their original packaging (for infection prevention and control purposes).
  • Package new stuffed toys in a clean, clear plastic bag for easy handling.
  • Consider donating items for newborn babies.
  • Tween and teen items are also needed. Consider gift cards, books, board games, arts and craft kits, sporting goods, digital music players, electronics, backpacks, school supplies, makeup kits, hair dryer, curling irons, jewellery, hat, gloves and scarves.

Donating food items

  • Donate items that reduce the risk of food-borne illness, such as:
    • Non-perishable food items, as they can be kept for a long period of time.
    • Pre-packaged food such as cereal, rice or pasta, and canned goods.
  • Food products must be in their original/sealed packaging and in good condition. They should not be past the best-before or expiry date.
  • Homemade food items should not be permitted.

Organizing a donation drive

  • Clearly communicate the goal of your donation drive, including who the donations are for, the type of items you are looking for, and how they should be packaged for delivery or pick-up.
  • Donation drives and events must comply with current provincial gathering limits.

Staff/volunteer safety

The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is greater for certain groups of the population, including people who are: older adults; living with an underlying medical condition or a weakened immune system (e.g. due to a medical condition or treatment); living on a low income; under-housed or experiencing homelessness; or living in congregate settings such as retirement homes or rooming houses.

Organizations should consider the vulnerability of employees, volunteers, and clients when planning their donation drives.

  • Develop a workplace vaccination policy to encourage all staff and volunteers to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Masks must be worn in indoor public places, and outdoors when physical distancing is difficult. Consider face shields or goggles if staff will be within two metres of others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) before and after handling donations.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces, including surfaces which donated food had contact with (e.g., tables, shelving, bins).
  • If playing recorded music, keep the volume low to avoid having people talk louder.
  • Designate a specific space for food and drink breaks for staff and volunteers. When masks are temporarily removed to consume food or drink, individuals must be separated from every other person by a distance of at least two metres or an impermeable barrier.

Donation drop-off, pick-up or deliveries

  • Create a safe location outside for people to drop off donations. Do not use large, enclosed donation bins as there is a risk of people falling in.
  • Use contactless drop-off / delivery / pick-up methods, if possible.
  • If donations are picked up or delivered, only staff from the same household should ride in the same vehicle.
  • Contact clients in advance to schedule a delivery / pick-up time, when possible.
  • Prepare smaller bags or box donations for easier carrying and delivery.
  • Avoid entering people’s homes. Deliver and / or ask donors to leave the package at front door.
  • Wash your hands before and after handling donations.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect all touched surfaces.

Organizers should review the COVID-19 Guidance for Food Banks & Donation Centres for more information, and use this checklist to support planning the drive.

Customers purchasing or receiving donated goods

  • Wash your hands before and after handling items.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces which had contact with the donated items (e.g. countertops) after putting away items.
  • Wash vegetables and fruit under cold running water before cooking and/or eating them.
  • Wash ceramic, glass and other household items with soap and warm water.
  • Launder clothing/sheets/towels and other fabrics on high heat settings (wash and dry), if possible.
  • Wash reusable shopping bags.
  • Set aside items that cannot be cleaned or disinfected (e.g., for 24 to 72 hours).

There is little risk of getting COVID-19 from food or food packaging. In general, you can lower your risk of infection by following safe food handling practices.

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