covid19 banner image
print header


Partners and Municipalities

The following recommendations and guidelines support our partners and municipalities to operate safely while fighting the spread of COVID-19. Check back regularly for the newest updates.

Public signage for printing and displaying

A community garden has either individual or shared plots of land or garden beds on private or public land that community members can use to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. This guidance document (revised July 16, 2020) is for municipal staff, volunteers and garden users to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, while using a shared garden space.
This guidance document (revised July 16, 2020) provides interim guidance to reduce the risk of introducing and spreading COVID-19 in cooling shelters.

The Ministry of Health has advised that farmers’ markets are equivalent to outdoor grocery stores and therefore are permitted to operate under the current provincial framework for essential businesses. We are aware that several farmers’ markets operate in small retail spaces which may create difficulties for customers and operators to observe public health recommendations for physical distancing.

We recommend that if municipalities permit farmers’ markets to operate, that they review and provide the following guidance document to organizers: COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Farmers’ Markets (revised July 16, 2020).

Food banks and food donation centres provide essential services to residents and require continual donations from the community. This document provides guidance for food banks and food donation centers on the prevention and management of COVID-19.

Sample By-law: Mandatory Face Coverings in Indoor Public Spaces


Day Camps 

Information about requirements for safe operation of day camps is posted here .

Events and Gatherings

This guidance document  (revised September 29, 2020) provides recommendations to help stop the spread of COVID-19 when organizing and attending an indoor or outdoor event or gathering.

Outdoor Public Spaces

This guidance document (revised July 16, 2020) for municipalities provides recommendations to help stop the spread of COVID-19 while using outdoor public spaces. For an additional tool to assist in considering risks associated with the use of parks and outdoor recreational spaces, review the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Risk mitigation tool for outdoor recreation spaces and activities operating during the COVID-19 pandemic

Public Washrooms

Public washrooms are important facilities in our communities as the weather improves and public spaces are permitted for use by the public. Depending on where they are located, they can be busy. Therefore, precautions are needed given the risks of COVID-19. This guidance document - updated July 14, 2020 outlines the protective measures that can be put in place for opening and safe use of public washrooms.


All places of worship in Ontario are permitted to operate with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.

Effective July 13, 2020, owners or operators of all businesses, organizations and public transit services in Simcoe Muskoka (including places of worship) must have policies in place to restrict people from entering indoor public settings if they are not wearing  a non-medical mask or face covering.

Officiants of religious ceremonies can choose not to wear a mask if standing in an area of the religious space that is separate from the public attending the ceremony. The officiant should use a microphone to project their voice to reduce the risk of respiratory droplets being spread; and not engage in any singing or chanting. The officiant should stand at least 5 metres from people attending and if there is more than one officiant, they  should be spaced at least 2 metres apart from each other and not be facing each other.

For more information, visit reopening and operating your business safely.

August 21, 2020 - Version 2: COVID-19 Advice: Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies 

July 22, 2020: Update Letter for Faith Based Groups

June 12, 2020: Letter for Faith Based Groups

All elementary (Kindergarten to Grade 8) schools in Ontario will open for conventional in-person delivery of teaching and instruction, five days a week as directed by the Guide to reopening Ontario’s schools. Parents will continue to have the option to opt their children out of in-person delivery. Secondary schools in our area will open in the conventional model, with enhanced health and safety protocols in place. This direction has been issued by the Ministry of Education and is approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Protective strategies have been developed, providing a safe and healthy school environment for students, teachers and staff, and safeguarding the broader community. Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a face covering indoors on school property. Students may wear their own non-medical masks, and non-medical masks will also be made available for students.Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear a face covering will apply. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged but not required to wear face covering in indoor spaces. School-based staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is committed to support the safe reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year in alignment with the Ministry of Education’s Guide to reopening Ontario’s schools. We are in process of developing resources to support safe return to schools for parents, school administrators and educators.

Shelter services are designed to provide persons experiencing homelessness immediate access to a safe and temporary place while they work to find housing.

The following information is intended to help shelter service providers reduce the risk of exposure to illnesses including COVID-19.


October 14, 2020  |   October 7, 2020 


September 30, 2020

September 25, 2020  |  September 17, 2020  |   September 10, 2020  |  September 2, 2020


August 27, 2020  |   August 19, 2020   |  August 12, 2020  |   August 6, 2020


July 29, 2020  |    July 22  |   July 16   |   July 9, 2020  |   July 2, 2020

Previous updates are available upon request.

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...