Last updated: January 7, 2022 at 3:05 p.m.

This guidance is to support tour operators and guide services to reopen while preventing the spread of COVID-19. Such tours and services may include:

  • Guided fishing and hunting trips
  • Tastings and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries
  • Trail riding tours
  • Walking tours
  • Bicycle tours
  • Boat tours

As every operation will be different, it is ultimately the responsibility of tour 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. The full Ontario re-opening regulations for Step 3 are available online.

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.

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

Indoor tour and guide services

Businesses that provide indoor tour and guide services are closed.

Outdoor tour and guide services

Businesses that provide outdoor tour and guide services, including guided hunting trips, tastings and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries, fishing charters, trail riding tours, walking tours and bicycle tours, but not motor vehicle tours in motor vehicles that are designed to be closed to the elements, may open if they comply with the following conditions:

  • The tour must be operated to enable every person on the tour, 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.
  • The number of members of the public on the tour must not exceed the number of persons that would permit compliance with the physical distancing requirements above while on the tour.
  • The persons on the tour must remain outdoors at all times, 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.
  • The person responsible for the business must,
    • record the name and contact information of every patron that participates in the tour,
    • maintain the records for a period of at least one month, and
    • only disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
  • The person responsible for the business must actively screen employees and any performers in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Boat tours

Business that provide boat tours in which the passengers are required to embark and disembark within the province of Ontario and that are not otherwise prohibited from opening by an order made by the Minister of Transport (Canada) under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 may open if they comply with the following conditions:

  • The total number of members of the public permitted on the boat 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 on the vessel, and in any event must not exceed 50 per cent of the usual maximum number of passengers that may be carried on board, as indicated on the vessel’s inspection certificate or Passenger Ship Safety Certificate issued under the Vessel Certificates Regulations (Canada) or on an equivalent certificate issued by a foreign government.
  • The person responsible for the business must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which the boat tour is permitted to operate.
  • No member of the public may go on the boat tour unless they have made a reservation to do so.
  • No member of the public may be permitted to enter any indoor area of the boat, 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.
  • The person responsible for the business must,
    • record the name and contact information of every patron that participates in the tour,
    • maintain the records for a period of at least one month, and
    • only disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
  • The person responsible for the business must actively screen employees and any performers in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Encourage & Require 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 participants
    • All staff and any performers must be actively screened prior to their work shift.
    • Patrons must self-screen before they participate in the tour.
    • Post signs explaining the conditions for participation, including screening.
  • Staff attendance and operations
    • Collect contact information of all staff, performers and other persons who provide work for the businesses.
    • The person responsible for the business must also collect the name and contact information of every patron that participants in the tour.
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    • Provide hand sanitizer with 70-90% alcohol concentration where possible.
    • Encourage everyone to use hand sanitizer when they enter/arrive.
  • Cleaning and disinfection
    • If possible, assign staff to their own equipment or tools.
    • Any equipment / items rented or used by members of the public must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
    • Schedule sufficient time between tours for thorough cleaning and disinfection.
    • Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and common areas.
    • 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.
    • Remind patrons and staff not to share items.

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-19.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning, disinfecting and personal protective equipment (PPE) and preventing and controlling crowds.
  • 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.

Ticket sales

  • No member of the public may go on the boat tour unless they have made a reservation to do so.
  • 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.

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 strongly encouraged.
    • Physical distancing from other groups of persons and masks are required for lines indoors.
  • 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.

Facilitate Physical Distancing

  • Ensure all patrons maintain at least two metres physical distancing from people they don’t live with.
  • Review the tour plan and design a pathway/traffic flow that allows ease of movement and encourages physical distancing.
    • Ensure walking tours and stops are done in large and open spaces to accommodate physical distancing among members of the tour, with consideration for other members of the public.
  • Provide visible cues such as tape, stickers or safety cones every two metres at departure and arrival locations to guide passengers when lining up and/or gathering.
  • Consider using online/downloadable tour information for patrons to read/listen to in order to minimize interaction with tour operators.
  • Guides should use a microphone or other device to amplify their voice. Avoid shouting.

Modify Programming

  • Limit or cancel activities where distances or other appropriate controls cannot be implemented.
  • Allow sufficient time between tours to allow safe and distanced exit and entry, and sufficient environmental cleaning in between.
  • Keep the duration of the tour to a minimum to limit contact among patrons.
  • 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.
  • 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 to encourage physical distancing.
    • Arrange tables and chairs to promote physical distancing.
    • Require masks or face coverings if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Use of Masks and Face Coverings

  • The use of non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all indoor public spaces, as per City of Toronto bylaw and Reg. 263/20. Operators with indoor spaces open to the public 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.
  • 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.

Food and Beverage Services

Communication

  • Provide information to staff and patrons about tour operations (e.g. public health measures, available amenities).
  • Encourage staff and patrons to get a COVID-19 vaccination if they haven’t already.
  • 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

Ontario Public Health Measures and Advice

Guidance for Cultural Heritage Institutions and Attractions

Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace

Guidance for Employers on Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace

Guidance on Health and Safety for Tourism and Hospitality Sector during COVID-19


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