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Partners and Municipalities

Ontario is in Step 3 of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen.

NEW: Effective September 25, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., capacity limits will be increased in many indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required as well as in certain outdoor event venues. The regulation and guidance documents for businesses and organizations included in many of the sections below will be updated, where applicable, in the coming days to reflect this change. Please check back often for updates.

More information on the public health and workplace safety measures in place can be found on the province’s website and in O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Step 3 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA), 2020.

SMDHU and local municipalities may also implement local public health directions, bylaws, and policies that can exceed the provincial laws and recommendations. SMDHU and local municipalities may also implement local public health directions, bylaws, and policies that can exceed the provincial laws and recommendations. As such, the regulatory requirements outlined in the amended ROA and associated regulations are supported by the letter of instruction to persons responsible for a business or organization in the municipalities in the County of Simcoe, the District of Muskoka, and the Cities of Orillia and Barrie (amended September 1, 2021) still in place, developed under SMDHU’s medical officer of health.

Under O. Reg. 364/20, the Ontario government now requires patrons 12 years of age and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination (proof of identity and vaccine receipt or effective October 22, 2021 digital vaccine certificate with QR code) to access certain businesses and facilities. Please see the COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination Requirement section of our website for more information.

Employers should continue to consult with public health and their local municipality to ensure familiarity with the current laws and recommendations.

SMDHU's medical officer of health strongly recommends local employers (including municipalities and partners) institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19. Click here for more information on establishing a workplace vaccination policy, and building vaccine confidence in your workplace, and links to a variety of workplace vaccination resources. 

The information and resources on this page are updated regularly. Check back often for the newest updates.

Class Orders and Letters of Instruction

The following Section 22 and Section 29 orders (under the Health Protection and Promotion Act) and instructions (under the Reopening Ontario Act) have been issued in response to COVID-19 by SMDHU’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner:


Archived COVID-19 correspondence can be viewed here.



September 23, 2021    |     September 16, 2021    |    September 9, 2021    |    September 2, 2021


August 25, 2021   |    August 18, 2021   |     August 11th, 2021    |    August 4th, 2021 


July 28, 2021    |    July 21, 2021   |   July 14, 2021    |     July 7, 2021


June 30, 2021    |     June 23, 2021      |      June 16, 2021      |      June 9, 2021      |     June 2, 2021


Previous updates are available upon request.

Public Health Guidance

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. COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Community Gardens (revised September 1, 2021) is for municipal staff, volunteers, and garden users to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 while using a shared garden space.

COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Cooling Centres - Step 3 (revised September 1, 2021) provides guidance and clarity for operating cooling centres to reduce the risk of introducing and spreading COVID-19.

This document should be used in conjunction with existing cooling centre operation and management plans, procedures, guidance, resources, and systems.

Under Step 3, day camps are permitted to operate.

According to the Child Care and Early Years Act, day camps must: 

  • not operate for more than 13 weeks in a calendar year (subject to certain exceptions set out in regulations); 
  • not operate on days in which instruction is typically provided for pupils enrolled in schools; 
  • not operate at a person’s home; 
  • be operated for children who are four years old or older, or, if the camp is operated on or after September 1, for children who will attain the age of four in that calendar year. 

Updated guidance from the province is available: COVID 19 Safety Guidelines for Day Camps (revised July 15, 2021).

For mental health resources that may support camp operators and staff in talking to children and youth about the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking mental health support, the province has also made available COVID-19: Mental Health Resources for Camp Operators.

Public Health Ontario (PHO) has also prepared resources to support pre-camp planning and daily camp operations on topics such as COVID-19 transmission; personal protective equipment; hand hygiene; physical distancing; environmental cleaning and cohorting. You can access these resources by visiting PHO’s website.

For additional information, see SMDHU’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Day Camps - Step 3 (revised September 1, 2021).

The following guidance is intended to assist governing organizations, communities, and candidates in keeping themselves, volunteers, and community members safe while campaigning and voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This information is meant to supplement any advice or recommendations provided by the organization or community governing the election.

Under Step 3, capacity limits have been placed for religious services, rites or ceremonies, including wedding and funeral services within faith-based organizations as follows:

  • Indoor and outdoor religious services, rites and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals are permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet).

For more information please refer to COVID-19 Guidance for Faith-Based Organizations - Step 3 (revised September 24, 2021) for further details.

COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Farmers’ Markets - Step 3 (revised September 1, 2021) is provided to assist in operating your farmers' market.

Annual assessments are conducted by public health inspectors (PHIs) at farmers’ markets to determine if any proposed vendors meet the requirements for Ontario Regulation 493/17. To assist with this process, we request that you submit the following documents to your public health inspector prior to commencing operations of a farmers' market:

Food banks and food donation centres provide essential services to residents and require continual donations from the community. COVID-19 Public Health Guidance For Food Banks and Donation Centres - Step 3 (revised September 1, 2021) provides guidance on the prevention and management of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Outdoor Recreational Amenities – Step 3 (revised September 24, 2021) is intended to provide public health guidance and regulatory requirements for outdoor recreational amenities, as well as municipalities, businesses and community groups who operate such amenities in the County of Simcoe and the District of Muskoka, to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Guidance to support indoor recreational amenities in operating can be found in O.Reg. 364/20 and SMDHU’s COVID-19 guidance for facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities (revised September 24, 2021).

This guidance document (revised September 1, 2021) outlines the protective measures that can be put in place the safe use of public washrooms.

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.


IMPORTANT NOTE: While the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit aims 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. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided in this guidance, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. Please visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website regularly for updates and additional guidance.

Page last updated: September 24, 2021

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