Last updated: July 31, 2020 at 12:20 p.m.

This guidance is to support tour operators and guide services to reopen services while preventing the spread of COVID-19. Under Ontario’s Reopening Ontario Act – Stage 3 Orders, tours and guide services, including guided fishing and hunting trips, tastings and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries, trail riding tours, walking tours, bicycle tours, and motor vehicle tours, may open if they comply with all applicable laws, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act, public health advice and the following conditions:

  • Every person on the tour, including any tour guides, must maintain physical distance of two metres/six feet between each person, except where necessary to facilitate payment or for health and safety purposes.
  • The number of members of the public on the tour cannot exceed 50 people (for an indoor tour) or 100 people (for an outdoor tour).
  • Any rented equipment that is provided as part of the tour must be cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • If the tour includes access to any food or beverage production or manufacturing areas, every person on the tour, including any tour guides, must comply with:
    • any laws or policies that apply to the food or beverage production or manufacturing area; and
    • any advice, recommendations or instructions from public health officials that apply to the food or beverage production or manufacturing area.
  • The tour or guide service must record the date and time of the tour, and the name and contact information of every patron, and maintain these records for a period of at least one month.

Similarly, boat tours that are not otherwise prohibited from opening by an order made by the Minister of Transport (Canada) may open if they comply with applicable laws and public health advice, and with the following conditions:

  • Every person on the tour, including any tour guides and tour boat crew, must maintain physical distancing of two metres/six feet between each person, except where necessary to facilitate payment or for health and safety purposes. The flow of people onto, off, and on the tour boat must be controlled to maintain physical distancing of two metres/six feet.
  • The number of customers on the tour boat cannot exceed 50 people (if they will be indoors while on the tour boat) or 100 people (if they will be outdoors on the tour boat).
  • The tour boat must be equipped with enough handwashing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers to serve the needs of every person on the tour boat.
  • The boat tour service must record the date and time of the tour, and the name and contact information of every patron, and maintain these records for a period of at least one month.

Bylaw on Use of Masks and Face Coverings

Effective July 7, 2020, the use of non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all indoor public spaces, as per a new City of Toronto bylaw. Operators are required to develop a policy and protocols on the wearing of masks. Refer to the guidance on mask and face covering bylaw for a sample policy your organization can adapt. Train staff on the new bylaw policy, including who is exempt, and how to safely wear a cloth mask or face covering. More information is available here.

COVID-19 Transmission

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 or talk.

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.

Protective Measures to Keep Everyone Safe

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Keep a two metre/six feet distance from others, 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, as per the City bylaw.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Promote Healthy Behaviours

Practice physical distancing

  • Physical distancing means keeping a distance of two meters/six feet from others.
  • The number of patrons on the tour, including any tour guides, cannot exceed 10 people.
  • Post physical distancing signs at all entrances, kiosks and/or service counters.
  • Provide visible cues such as tape, stickers or safety cones every two metres/six feet at departure and arrival locations to guide passengers when lining up waiting to board.
  • Install plexiglass or other barriers, if possible, where there may be close contact between staff and patrons at service counters or ticket kiosks.
  • Where possible, limit entrance to one door of tour vehicles to control passengers entering at any given time, and to minimize contact with the driver/operator.
  • Maintain physical distancing on tour vehicles by reducing seating such that groups who attend separately can stay two metres/six feet apart (e.g. posting ‘skip a seat’ signs, block/tape off every other seat). Ask patrons to use the same seat for the duration of the tour.
  • Place markers on the vehicle so passengers know how far to stay back from tour operator/driver.
  • Consider using online/downloadable tour information for patrons to read/listen to in order to minimize interaction with tour operators.
  • Use a microphone or other device to amplify voice. Avoid shouting, which produces droplets.
  • Walking tours and stops for explaining monuments must be done in open and/or wide spaces, respecting physical distancing.

Increase public health awareness

  • Inform staff and patrons about the changes you have made to protect them against COVID-19 by updating information on your website, voice mail, etc.
  • Download printable posters and display them in high visibility areas in your setting to promote messages about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support and encourage hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Educate staff on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
    • Wash hands with liquid soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds frequently, including before and after the handling of masks or face coverings.
    • Cover a cough or sneeze with the elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and clean hands.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 70-90% alcohol concentration in a dispenser for staff and patrons to use when they enter and leave the tour facility or the tour vehicle.
  • Tour boat operators must provide sufficient handwashing stations or hand sanitizer dispensers to meet the needs of all tour staff, tour boat crew and patrons on the tour boat.
  • Post Hand Washing, Cover your Cough and Hand Sanitizing signs in visible locations.
  • Disposable gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. If gloves are used, it is important to change them when changing tasks, or more often, as necessary. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before putting on and after taking off gloves.

Maintain a Healthy Environment

Implement staff health screening

  • Have a flexible employee illness policy so that staff do not come to work sick. Remind all staff about the importance of reporting illness to their supervisor/ manager.
  • Ensure all staff complete a health screening questionnaire before each shift. The questions can be completed on paper, online or by asking staff directly.
  • Direct anyone who answers YES to any of the screening questions to stay home.
  • Anyone with even one symptom of COVID-19 should stay home.
  • Staff who become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, while at the workplace should go home immediately and contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or go to an assessment centre to get tested.
  • Staff who have travelled anywhere outside of Canada must stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after returning to Canada.
  • Keep up to date with public health advice on when staff may return to work.

Implement patron health screening

  • Post signs in visible areas clearly explaining the screening process and the conditions for entry.
  • Designate an area at the entrance of the service setting for screening.
  • Provide hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) for use at the screening station.
  • The area should allow a minimum of two metres/six feet distance between staff conducting screening and the individual being screened. Alternatively, a protective barrier (e.g. plexiglass) can be set up around the screening station.
  • Ensure patrons maintain two metres/six feet from others when waiting to be screened.
  • Actively screen each patron individually, prior to entry to the setting, using a health screening questionnaire.
  • Direct anyone who answers YES to any of the screening questions to go home and self-isolate, and contact Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 or go to an assessment centre to get tested.

Ticket sales

  • Encourage online and/or telephone services that allow patrons to reserve a space on the tour to minimize those waiting outside or lining up at the ticket/service counter.
  • Install physical barriers at the point of sale (e.g. plexiglass).
  • Encourage electronic payment by debit or credit card, and to tap instead of using the PIN pad.
  • Use a contactless transaction process to exchange and/or scan tickets.

Maintain attendance records

  • The tour or guide service is required to maintain attendance records of all staff and patrons to support public health contact tracing efforts (i.e. name, date, time, email address or phone number).
  • Records must be kept for at least one month.
  • Records are only to be disclosed to Toronto Public Health. If a patron or staff member contracts COVID-19 and was contagious while participating on a tour, Toronto Public Health will investigate and notify those who may have been exposed.

Enhance cleaning and disinfection

  • Most regular household cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19.
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Check the expiry dates of products you use, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Review Public Health Ontario’s Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings fact sheet.
  • Refer to Health Canada’s lists of hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19) for information on disinfectants.
  • Ensure staff are trained on the proper use of cleaners and disinfectants.
  • Post and maintain a log to track cleaning and disinfecting activities.
  • Schedule sufficient time between tours for thorough cleaning and disinfection of service counters, ticket kiosks, and all tour vehicles (e.g. buses, bicycles, Segway, boats) and equipment (e.g. helmets, audio equipment).
  • Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and common areas, such as door handles, counters, armrests, light switches, faucets, toilet handles, handrails, and touch screen surfaces and keypads.
  • Access to production areas for tours of food and beverage manufacturing sites is permitted as long as operators can follow workplace guidance and public health advice to ensure quality and cleanliness of products.
  • Distribution of printed materials such as maps or brochures should be avoided. If this is not possible, consider single-use/disposable versions, or plasticize them to allow for cleaning and disinfection between uses.
  • Where possible, use disposable, single-use supplies.
  • Remind patrons and staff not to share items, including food, food/drink containers, bottles of sunscreen, ear buds, phones or other electronic devices, personal items such as combs or sunscreen, etc.
  • Minimize the number of bags/personal items passengers are permitted to bring along.
  • Eating or drinking is permitted in licensed outdoor spaces, but not indoors at this time.

Rapid response to illness while on the tour

Develop a rapid response plan with procedures for responding when a staff member or patron develops symptoms of COVID-19 during a trip, including:

  • Advise staff and patrons to self-monitor for symptoms and notify a staff member if they develop any symptoms.
  • Have a supply of medical/surgical face masks to give to those experiencing symptoms.
  • Outline procedures for isolating the ill individual from all others while transporting/arranging departure.
  • Identify the contact number of all local health authorities that the trip will be passing through, and the procedures for notifying the local health authority if someone develops symptoms.

Download and Print Posters for your Workplace

Other Resources

City of Toronto:

Province of Ontario:

More Information

Questions? The provincial government has set up a Business Information Line to provide direction to businesses as they reopen. Please call Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

For Health and Safety Guidance, please call your relevant health and safety provider or the Ministry of Labour at 1-833-247-3650.

Information changes frequently. Please visit or call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.

Download this information as a PDF or read the tips for the public visiting museums and other community activities.