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Stop the spread

We are in Step 3 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen. Please continue to follow public health advice and measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

There are many holidays and festive events in the fall and winter months, such as Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, Mawlid/Milad-un-Nabi, Diwali, Remembrance Day, and other ethno-cultural, and religious holidays. In Step 3, gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 outdoors. See more information below on how to safely host or gather during a holiday/event.

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

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) of physical distancing from everyone outside of your household.
  • Wear a face covering indoors and outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Face coverings should be tightly fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin.  
  • Stay home from work 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.
  • If you are required to wear personal protective equipment for prevention of COVID-19, please ensure at a minimum it includes a medical mask and eye protection.

In Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen indoor social gatherings are limited to 25 people and 100 people outdoors.

Virtual gatherings or events are still the safest way to celebrate, but if you choose to host or attend an in-person gathering or event, take precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

When gathering outdoors with:

  • A group of fully vaccinated individuals, no face covering or physical distancing is necessary. 
  • People from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccination status is unknown, you should consider wearing a face covering if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

When gathering indoors with:

  • A group of fully vaccinated individuals, you may consider removing face coverings if everyone is comfortable with this.
  • People from multiple households who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or vaccination status is unknown, you should wear a face covering and physically distance.

It is important to remember that knowing someone does not reduce the risk of
transmitting COVID-19.

Holidays including Thanksgiving, Diwali, etc.,

If you host a gathering: 

  • You should have the fewest number of people possible at your party or gathering and use outdoor spaces whenever possible. Do not exceed the gathering limits.
  • Provide all the necessary supplies, including hand sanitizer, soap and water. 
  • Open windows, if possible. 
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. 
  • Ask guests to NOT attend if they have symptoms, even if they are mild. 
  • Make a list of guests attending in case public health needs it for contact tracing. 
  • Remind people of public health guidance to follow during the event.
  • If you are serving food and drinks, remember to wash your hands often while preparing and serving food and suggest all those gathered do so before and after eating.

If you attend or are invited to a gathering:

  • Do NOT attend if you are ill - even if your symptoms are mild. 
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often. 
  • If you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease and/orexposure to COVID-19, consider joining virtually or not attending the event.


If you are sick, even with mild symptoms, do not hand out candy and do not go trick or treating.
While trick-or-treating if not sick:

  • Be outdoors as much as possible. If indoors maintain physical distancing, or if physical distancing is difficult, wear a face covering.
  • Be creative and build the face covering into your costume. NOTE: A costume mask is not a face covering. Costume masks should NOT be worn over a non-medical mask or face covering because it can make it hard to breathe. 
  • Do not crowd doorsteps; take turns one at a time.
  • Use hand sanitizer often: before and after touching your face covering; after touching frequently touched surfaces; when you arrive home; and before and after handling or eating treats (there is no need to clean or disinfect pre-packaged treats).

While handing out candy if not sick:

  • Keep interactions short.
  • Wear a face covering. 
  • Wash/sanitize your hands often. 
  • Only give out purchased and packaged treats.

Remembrance Day

If attending a Remembrance Day memorial event:

  • Stay home if you have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Wear a face covering indoors and wear one outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained or is required. 
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. 
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease and/or exposure to COVID-19.

If you choose to sell poppies in-person and are not sick:

  • Wear a face covering.
  • Have hand sanitizer and use it regularly. 
  • Consider not selling if you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease and/or exposure to COVID-19.

Ontarians are able to leave home to travel within the province to a secondary residence for any reason.

Out of province
Although Ontario's border restrictions expired on June 16th, 2021, interprovincial travel is still discouraged except for essential reasons.

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.

Exemption for eligible fully vaccinated travelers:
Effective July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers, arriving by land or air, who are eligible to enter Canada and who comply with specific criteria will not be required to quarantine or complete a day-8 test. More information can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.

Under Step 3 hunting and fishing are allowed. If you hunt or fish please keep the following in mind:

  • Access to hunting and fishing grounds may be limited due to COVID-19 regulations, bylaws and landowner restrictions. Before leaving home, check with the local municipality or landowner to determine if access is available and if the hunting and fishing grounds are open. 
  • When possible, plan to hunt or fish within your own community. If going hunting/fishing, follow any travel advisories and consider COVID-19 transmission rates in the area where you plan to hunt or fish to help reduce transmission of COVID-19 between geographic areas. 
  • Before going hunting/fishing, complete a COVID-19 self-assessment and follow the direction provided. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay home, seek testing, and self-isolate.
  • Pack supplies that help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (e.g. hand soap, alcohol based hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol content, face coverings/masks, cleaning/disinfectant supplies).
  • Ideally, hunt or fish with people from your household to continue to limit the transmission risk of COVID-19. The following measures are also recommended:
    o Travel in separate vehicles
    o Maintain a 2-metre (6 feet) distance between people when travelling and hunting/fishing
    o Wear a mask or face covering indoors, outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained, and where otherwise required.
    o Use your own hunting and fishing equipment rather than sharing with people from outside your household. 

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit acknowledges that peaceful protests and rallies are a way for individuals to express themselves and their beliefs. Given the ongoing transmission of COVID-19 in our area, it is strongly encouraged that individuals consider alternate ways to participate in protests/rallies such as using social media and virtual protests.

Before joining a peaceful protest, consider the overall risk of infection to yourself and others. For more details on caseload and rate of infection in our community, visit the COVID-19 HealthSTATS page.

How to stay safe while attending a protest/ rally

Participation in virtual protest activities is the safest means of protesting during COVID-19 and is strongly advised over in-person protest activities.

Those who choose to participate in an organized protest or rally event should do so in the safest way possible to protect themselves and others. At a minimum, the following measures should be communicated by organizers and followed by all participants:

  • Encourage participants to be vaccinated. 
  • Before going to a rally/protest, complete a COVID-19 self-assessment and follow the direction provided. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay home, seek testing, and self-isolate. 
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet). Wear a mask or face covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Sneeze and cough into your upper sleeve or elbow, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    o Post signage to reinforce these messages. Sample signage can be found here.
  • Where possible, provide handwashing stations and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60-90% alcohol content. Encourage participants to frequently wash hands with soap and water if possible and bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer to the event.
  • Consider alternatives (e.g. signs, banners) to shouting or chanting to avoid spreading droplets. 

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.

Getting exercise and taking part in physical activity is important for our health.

If you choose to use public spaces such as parks and trails be aware that 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 (e.g. municipal or public parks, hiking paths and trails, dog parks, playgrounds):

  • 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 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. 
  • If physical distancing is difficult to maintain in the outdoor space, wear a face covering.
  • 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. 

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.

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.Exceptions for the use of masks or face coverings are provided in O. Reg. 263/20.
  • 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:

When you enter into a public indoor space or workplace, even those not open to the public, common areas of apartment buildings, condominium buildings, and student residences or if you use a public transit (e.g. bus, taxis or ride share) you are required to wear a mask or face covering.

FAQ - Wearing masks or face coverings within enclosed public spaces - (revised June 30, 2021)

  • 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 and handling second-hand goods during COVID-19, including at garage/yard sales
Shopping for second-hand goods is a good way to save money and recycle and reuse. If you participate in handling or purchasing second-hand goods, including at garage/yard sales, here are some actions you can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19:

Before Leaving Home

  • Complete a COVID-19 self-assessment and follow the direction provided. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay home, seek testing, and self-isolate
  • Consider having only one member of your household do the shopping.

While Shopping

  • Avoid meeting in person if possible (e.g. leave items out for “porch pick-up”). 
  • The 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. Proper hand hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol content (e.g. after handling second-hand items, after paying with cash or credit/debit card, and before and after arriving at the store or garage/yard sale).
  • Limit the handling of items as much as possible. 
  • Practise physical distancing with people outside of your household (i.e. stay 2 metres/6 feet apart).
  • Follow any flow of traffic direction laid out by the store or host of the garage/yard sale. 
  • Wear a mask or face covering when physical distancing is not possible or when shopping in an indoor public place such as a retail store. If you are unable to wear a mask and physical distancing will be challenging to maintain, consider sending a friend/relative to shop for you instead. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practise proper cough etiquette and hand hygiene
  • Use digital/electronic or contactless payment services rather than cash, when possible.

 After Shopping: 

  • After purchasing an item, thoroughly clean and disinfect it, if possible. 
  • If items cannot be cleaned and disinfected, consider isolating them for 24-72 hours before use. 
  • Wipe down the inside of your vehicle where the used good(s) were stored or bring a bag to put the items you purchase in so you can discard or clean the bag upon returning home.

While the risk of COVID-19 transmission through touching surfaces is low, it does occur. It is important to continue to follow infection control measures to reduce the various ways in which COVID-19 is spread. This includes proper hand hygiene, masking, physical distancing, respiratory etiquette and appropriate cleaning and disinfection.

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! When planning your wedding, you will need to adhere to the current public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Checklist for Planning a Wedding – Step 3 (revised October 15, 2021) can help guide the planning of your wedding at Step 3 of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen.

For weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies:

  • Indoor and outdoor permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
  • Guests must wear masks or face coverings indoors and outdoors when they are within 2 metres (6 feet) of another person who is not part of their household.

Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies permitted, subject to certain conditions.

Virtual services are permitted and strongly advised. If attending a service inperson follow these recommendations:

  • Self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • A mask or face covering is required when indoors and recommended for 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


  • Receptions are permitted indoors at a limit of 25 people.
  • Outdoor receptions are permitted up to 100 people.
  • Proof of vaccination may be required depending on the setting.




Page last updated: October 15, 2021

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