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Stop the spread

We all have a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

As local cases of COVID-19 sharply rise to numbers not seen since the spring, in addition to the provincial restrictions we are asking you to be cautious and reduce your exposure within the community to keep everyone safe.

Close contact, gatherings and events:

  • Limit close contact (the people you can hug and touch without physical distancing) to the people you live with. If you live alone you may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation. 
  • Maintain two metres (6 feet) of physical distancing from everyone else. 
  • Wear a face covering indoors, outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained, or if wearing one is required. 
  • Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people outside your household. 
  • Adhere to provincial and applicable local restrictions on public and private gatherings. Currently these are set at a limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Travel within Ontario

  • Individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid travel to lower transmission areas (e.g. from Red to Orange, from Yellow to Green) except for essential reasons.

Inter-provincial Travel

  • Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
  • Individuals and families who consider travelling to another province for essential reasons during the holidays should:
    o Consider the risk associated with travelling. This includes COVID-19 transmission in the other province, entry requirements (e.g. quarantine) of some other provinces, etc.
    o Self-quarantine, or drastically reduce close contact with others 10 to 14 days before travelling and after returning home. This will help lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
    o General (Ontario) public health advice, as well as any rules and regulations of the other province, should be followed.

General Advice

  • Stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. 
  • Cover your cough. 
  • Download the COVID Alert mobile app.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, or if you’ve been advised of exposure by the health unit or through the COVID Alert mobile app.

There are more actions we should all take, described below, to protect ourselves and others.

If you are caring for a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow this advice to protect yourself and others in the home, as well as those in your community.

It is important to get outside and enjoy public spaces, however there is a risk of people congregating close together and spreading COVID-19. The following are recommendations to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when visiting outdoor public spaces (i.e. e.g. municipal or public parks, outdoor ice surfaces/skating trails, ski and snow resorts hiking paths and trails, dog parks, playgrounds):

  • Use the outdoor public spaces within your own community, when possible.
  • If you are feeling ill or displaying symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose) or if you have come into contact with someone who has shown symptoms or has tested positive, you are not to visit the outdoor public space.
  • Read all posted signs including screening signs at all entrances and ensure everyone self-screens before entering the outdoor public space.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others at all times and especially while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads and scenic overlooks.
  • Avoid close contact with people outside your household, such as shaking hands, hugging, high-fives, or games involving shared items.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands as you arrive.
  • Do not share equipment with people outside of your household.
  • If physical distancing is difficult to maintain in the outdoor space, consider wearing a face covering.

It is important to know that there is currently no evidence of food or food packaging being linked to the spread of COVID-19. You’re more likely to be infected by your fellow shoppers than anything you purchase. There are things you can do to reduce your risks when shopping.

Decide on who goes shopping:

Choose a person in your household or social circle who is in good health to be the main grocery shopper. Shop only if you feel well and can be reasonably sure that you have not been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or is showing symptoms. Shop alone, only one person per household and no children if possible.

Do not go out and shop if you are:

  • Sick or living with someone who is sick
  • Just home from travelling outside of Canada
  • Over 70 years of age
  • Have a weakened immune system or chronic health condition

Plan your shopping list carefully so that you can buy enough food and other supplies to last at least a week or two. Buy more and aim for only one trip a week.

When you are shopping:

  • You must wear a face covering when shopping indoors, and if shopping outdoors (i.e. farmers’ market) and physical distancing is not possible.
  • Shop at a less busy time. Be cautious about store hours set aside for “seniors only” shopping. They can be busier than if you went at an off-peak hour on a different day.
  • Be respectful of store employees. They are doing their best in a difficult situation.
  • Clean the handle of your cart.
  • Bring your own wipes and hand sanitizer; although the stores have been trying hard to keep a public stock, the supplies are short.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands as you enter and after to get into your car.
  • Keep your distance from others while in the store. Staying 2 metres or roughly 2 arms-length (6 feet) apart is an easy way to measure your distance.
  • Handle only the items you intend to buy.
  • Use a credit or debit card to avoid handling money or receiving change.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Know that gloves are not necessary and offer no added protection. Frequent handwashing is key.

Back at home:

  • Follow the drop-off or pick-up instructions given by the restaurant or grocery store.
  • Ask for the food to be left on the doorstep.
  • Minimize contact with employees. Stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from the delivery person.
  • If picking up food or groceries, consider opening the car door or trunk latch yourself so the person loading does not touch your car handles.
  • Use touch-free or cashless payments.
  • Prepay via the internet or telephone for your delivery order.
  • Remove your food from the external packaging and dispose of it in the garbage or recycling right away.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wash your hands well for 15 seconds after touching packaging and before eating.

Shopping for second-hand products is a good way to save money, recycle and reuse during COVID-19. If you participate in handling or purchasing second-hand products here are some actions you can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Managing or buying second-hand items during COVID-19:

  • Avoid meeting in person if possible (e.g. leave items out for porch pick-up)  
  • Use digital/electronic or contactless payment services rather than cash. 
  • Avoid all close contact with people outside of your household and practice physical distancing (e.g. stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from others at all times).
  • Refrain from trying on any clothing while shopping, and limit touching items where possible
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is not possible. Make sure it fits. Learn how to wear it properly and follow the do’s and don’ts.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Goods and Surfaces

COVID -19 virus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days depending on different conditions, such as temperature, type of surface and humidity of the environment.

  • After purchasing an item, thoroughly clean and disinfect it. Avoid buying items that are difficult to clean.
  • Launder items where possible and dry on the hottest setting possible.
  • If items cannot be cleaned and disinfected (e.g. books, paper, fabric) they should be stored for a period of time in a dedicated area or room for at least 72 hours before use.
  • Wash your hands after handling items.

If attending a funeral consider the following:

  • Self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • If you are high risk consider attending virtually or the outdoor portion only
  • A mask or face covering is required when indoors and is recommended outdoors when it is difficult to maintain physical distance
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Avoid close contact (hugging, kissing, hand shaking) with persons outside of your household


Page last updated: November 24, 2020

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