Coronavirus SociaL Media - PROVINCEWIDE SHUTDOWN
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Provincial Emergency Declared and Stay-at-home Order Issued

On January 12, 2021 the Ontario government declared a second provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). In addition a stay-at-home order has been issued effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. This order requires everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as: 

  • going to the grocery store or pharmacy, 
  • accessing health care services, 
  • for exercise, or 
  • for essential work.

In addition to restrictions under the Provincewide Shutdown, enhanced public health measures under the order are:

  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are further restricted to a limit of five people with limited exceptions.
  • Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can't physically distance more than 2 metres (6 feet).
  • Everyone must wear a mask or face covering in the indoor open areas of businesses or organizations. 
  • All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
  • Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction, exempting survey.

This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at:

  • Restricting people’s mobility (reducing the number of daily contacts with people outside your household).
  • Reducing outdoor gathering limits (and applying enforcement of the limits). 
  • Closing additional workplaces and introducing mitigation measures for those that remain open. 
  • Increasing enforcement for all orders.

The enhanced public health and workplace safety measures are in effect for all of Ontario and are anticipated to be in place until at least Thursday, February 11, 2021.  

For more information on how to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID 19 click here.

  • Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people outside your household. 
  • Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are restricted to a limit of 5 people with limited exceptions. 
  • Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not allowed except with members of the same household.
  • Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with):
    • Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes
    • Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation
    • Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) of physical distancing from everyone outside of your household (who you do not live with)
    • Wear a face covering indoors and outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained; or if wearing one is required. Face coverings should be tightly fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin. Scarves and bandanas are insufficient. 

Cottage or Second Residences

  • During the stay-at-home order all trips to a cottage or secondary residence should be avoided, unless it is for an essential purpose like emergency maintenance.

Out of Region

  • Stay home. Travel outside your region should be limited to only essential purposes.

Out of Province

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that individuals and families:

  • only travel out of the province if it is essential
  • self-isolate for 14 days when arriving in or returning to Ontario

Out of Country

Only travel outside of the country if it is essential. To slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the country, the Government of Canada has put in place an emergency order under the Quarantine Act that applies to all travellers arriving in Canada. Under this order, if you have recently returned to Canada you must self-isolate (quarantine) and stay home whether you have symptoms or not. Even if you do not have symptoms right away, you are at risk of developing them and infecting others.

If you need it, you will get immediate medical attention when you arrive in Canada. Learn about travel advisories related to COVID-19 

If you have been identified as a close contact, and have been informed by public health or by someone in your life who has tested positive it is very important that you read this fact sheet (December 22, 2020) and take the following steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Only leave the house to get tested. For testing centre locations visit our assessment centres and testing page.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you do get tested you must still self-isolate while you wait for your results. Even if your test result is negative you must continue to self-isolate for the full 14 days.

The following two forms can be used instead of a doctor’s note for return to usual activities.

A class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act has been issued by Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health (MOH) to immediately limit all indoor visits at long-term care homes to one essential visitor at a time and stop general visiting to protect vulnerable elderly residents from COVID-19.

The order applies to all long-term care homes in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka. It does not apply to retirement homes or other congregate care settings.

The order also directs residents to not leave the facility for short-stay or temporary absences except for seeking health care. Outdoor onsite visits continue to be allowed with physical distancing of 2 meters (6 feet) in place.

The order identifies essential visitors as a person who is not a staff member of the facility but is performing essential support services such as healthcare or maintenance; a person visiting a very ill or palliative resident; or a caregiver designated by the resident or their substitute decision maker who comes in to provide direct care and support to the resident.

This ensures that a family member or designate who comes in to help a resident with their meals, personal hygiene, mental stimulation, communications or other needs will not be prevented from visiting. A maximum of two caregivers may be designated as essential for a resident at this time.

class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act has been issued by Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health (MOH) to enforce COVID-19 self-isolation requirements. The order takes effect October 6, 2020 and remains in effect until the MOH declares it is no longer needed.

The order applies to any person living or present in the County of Simcoe and District of Muskoka who:

  • is identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • has the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting the results of their test;
  • otherwise has reasonable grounds to believe they have one or more symptoms of COVID-19; or
  • is a close contact of a person identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

If you think you have any symptoms of COVID-19, use the provincial COVID self-assessment tool, and if indicated by the tool, get tested and self-isolate at home for 10 days (the period of time you are contagious) or until your test result is negative for COVID-19.

If you have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, which means being within 2 metres (6 feet) of that infected person for at least 15 minutes without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), you must self-isolate for 14 days even though you don’t have symptoms. This is because the COVID-19 incubation period (the period between exposure to an infection and the appearance of the first symptoms) can be up to 14 days. Adequate PPE is using both medical grade surgical/procedural mask and protective eyewear. Cloth face coverings are not adequate PPE.

Individuals who fail to comply with the order may be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Inform us if you require any help or resources to properly self-isolate or while you are self-isolating such as food, medication, water, accommodation, clothing, appropriate medical treatment and family or other religious arrangements. To do so, call (705) 721-7520

For more information see Fact Sheet for Class Order for Self-Isolation.

Local example of COVID-19 Spread - Diagram

Diagram of a COVID-19 outbreak

Some important messages to remember:

  • People who are in close contact with others, for example who live in the same household, or who work together in the same workplace or gather with friends to visit without physical distancing and/or use of a face covering, can all be at risk of getting COVID-19 from someone who has the virus.
  • You may be considered a high risk contact if you have been within 2 metres (6 feet) of a positive case for at least 15 minutes. High risk contacts need to isolate for 14 days (from last exposure to case).
  • Public health follows up with all COVID-19 cases, as well as with anybody considered a high risk contact. In large workplaces, schools or gatherings, this could potentially be many people.
  • To avoid getting COVID-19, it is important to stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others outside of your household when possible, clean hands frequently, and wear a face covering. If you are sick, stay home and if you have symptoms of COVID-19 get tested.

How is COVID-19 affecting you and your family?

Since March, our lives have been affected in many different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health unit conducted a situational assessment in July to understand the impacts that some public health measures have had on us. The first section below includes the reports and findings of this assessment. The second section includes a report on an evaluation of and lessons learned by the public health system from the first peak of COVID-19

Our health unit, along with several other public health agencies, completed a situational assessment from April to July 2020 to determine how community-based public health measures are negatively affecting the health and well-being of the general population and sub-populations, and to identify ways to help reduce these effects.

The situational assessment includes several parts, which together inform the overall report findings and considerations for further action. The final report and each of its component reports are linked below.

Final Report:
• Mitigating Harms of COVID-19 Public Health Measures: Situational Assessment Report (July 2020)

Environmental Scan: 
• Mitigating Negative Effects of COVID-19 Public Health Measures – Environmental Scan: Key Informant Interviews

Epidemiological Data:
• Epidemiological Data on Potential Impacts of the COVID-19 Community-Based Public Health Measures

Literature Reviews:

• Mitigating Unintended Harms of COVID-19 Public Health Measures (SMDHU) 

• Negative impacts of community-based public health measures during a pandemic (e.g. COVID-19) on children and families (Public Health Ontario)

• Substance Use-Related Harms and Risk Factors during Periods of Disruption (Public Health Ontario) 

• Mitigating Unintended Harms of COVID-19 Public Health Measures among Low Income Populations Rapid Review (Timiskaming Health Unit)

Additional literature review recently completed but not included in the final report: 
• Impacts of Community-Based Public Health Measures During Respiratory Outbreaks or Pandemics on Adolescents and Young Adults (Southwestern Public Health)

The Public Health System Evaluation and Lessons from the First Peak of COVID-19 , by the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health (COMOH), describes the role of the local public health system during the first COVID-19 peak and provides lessons learned and identified opportunities that collectively form foundations to build upon in preparation for the next phase as we wait for an effective vaccine.
At present, you can also do something important for your family, friends, neighbours and community by helping researchers understand how the pandemic is affecting people. This information will assist policy makers to understand our community’s health, social service and economic needs. Please consider participating in the following study.
The COHESION study, led by a team of researchers across Canada, evaluates the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on individuals like you, across the country. With data you provide by completing online surveys and installing a smartphone app, you help understand how daily activities, social interactions, and the mental health of Canadians are being affected throughout, and following, the pandemic. To participate visit

Page last updated: January 13, 2021

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