Public Health Measures Guidance
The following guidance is effective until further notice.
General public health measures
- Practice physical distancing of 2m/6ft, where possible, with people outside of your family and friends.
- Stay home when you are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Get tested if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- As of Sept 17, non-medical masks are mandatory in indoor public places. Exemptions to mandatory masks include, but are not limited to: children under the age of two years; children under the age of five years who will not wear a mask; valid medical reasons (such as active breathing problems); and anyone who cannot remove a mask with assistance. See Wearing Non-Medical Masks in the Community for more guidance.
General public health measures for businesses, services, and organizations
- Develop and follow an operational plan to reduce transmission and spread of disease.
- Ensure physical distancing of 2m/6ft between customers or attendees from different parties.
- Develop and follow a policy to prevent people who have to self-isolate from participating in an activity or entering a facility.
- Develop and follow a policy to prevent people who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 from participating in an activity or entering a facility.
- Develop and follow an enhanced cleaning and disinfection routine.
- Ensure hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations are available and accessible.
- If you host gatherings, events, or other group activities, keep records of attendees and staff for contact-tracing purposes.
- Clear barriers may be used to separate staff/volunteers and customers/attendees during short interactions at point-of-sale areas and information counters where physical distancing is not possible.
- Print and post signage notifying staff, volunteers, customers and attendees of physical distancing expectations, mask wearing guidance, and other public health measure requirements; and policies regarding non-entry of people who have to self-isolate or who have symptoms of COVID-19.
Gatherings (friends and family, weddings, funerals, restaurants, festivals and events, etc.)
- Personal gatherings of family and friends - up to a maximum of 20 people.
- Personal gatherings do not require an operational plan.
- Organized gatherings - up to a maximum cohort of 200 people outdoors and 100 people indoors.
- Organized gatherings require an operational plan.
- Official approval of operational plans with a single cohort is not required.
- Activities and events that include close contact (i.e. participants in sports, performers at theatrical events, wedding receptions, ceilidhs, funeral receptions, etc.) are permitted in cohorts of 100, outdoors or indoors. Dancing and/or standing receptions are permitted at such events, where appropriate, within cohorts.
- Multiple gatherings - organized gatherings may include more than one cohort, up to a maximum of 2,000 people, in multiple gatherings, under these conditions:
- People are organized in cohorts (e.g. 200 outdoors or 100 indoors, or 100 for close contact activities indoors or outdoors).
- Cohorts of people at large gatherings must be kept separate by at least 2m/6ft, except for short periods of interaction at entry and exit points, washrooms, and concession stands. Physical distancing must be maintained at these shared locations.
- Physical barriers such as fencing or stanchions are recommended to separate cohorts at events where there is a higher risk of mixing between cohorts.
- Anyone organizing a gathering with more than one cohort must send an operational plan to the Chief Public Health Office (email@example.com) for pre-approval at least 15 business days in advance of the event.
- Weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 200 people.
- No table size limits at food premises or other gatherings, however, physical distancing of 2m/6ft between customers or attendees from different parties is required.
- Cheering, whistling, singing and other vigorous vocalization that is not essential to an activity should be minimized when in close proximity to others. If this type of activity is key to the gathering or anticipated to be unavoidable (e.g. cheering at sporting events), non-medical masks whould be worn.
- Alcohol service at gatherings should be seated service where possible. Where seated alcohol service is not possible due to operational barriers (such as staffing), individuals may get up from their seats to purchase alcohol from a bar (at a licensed premise) or serve themselves alcohol (at private gatherings) provided public health measures are followed.
- If sharing food at gatherings:
- Do not have self-serve buffets and do not share utensils.
- Seated services are strongly recommended.
- Ensure anyone preparing and/or dispensing food washes their hands before and after.
- Served buffets and self-serve stations are permitted, provided public health measures are followed.
- Licensed food premises must follow the Food Premises Guidance for serving food.
Records-keeping for contact tracing
- Organized gatherings, events, other organized group activities, and food premises must keep records including the names and phone numbers of staff and volunteers and at least one attendee per party for contact-tracing purposes.
- Records must include full names (first and last) and phone numbers, must be printed clearly and legibly, must include contextual information such as the name of the activity and the time of the activity, and must indicate whether an individual is a participant or attendee, volunteer, or staff.
- Operators must have a process in place to quickly retrieve records, should they be needed, including on weekends.
- Records should be stored in a safe, secure location for one month after the creation of the records, and then disposed of using a secure destruction method to maintain confidentiality.
Responsibilities of organizers of organized gatherings
- An organizer of an organized gathering is responsible for ensuring public health measures identified in an operational plan are followed by everyone present at a gathering, including having staff/designated individuals on site to provide oversight of the gathering.
- Before holding an organized gathering, the organizer is responsible for:
- Developing an operational plan and communicating operational plan details to staff, volunteers, and attendees/participants.
- During an organized gathering, the organizer is responsible for:
- Informing and communicating public health measures and requirements to everyone present at a gathering.
- Monitoring adherence to measures while people are present at a gathering.
- Maintaining an accurate and legible contact-tracing record of people present at the gathering.
- Many of the responsibilities related to organized gatherings are mandatory and are contained in the COVID-19 Prevention and Self-Isolation Order. If there is a violation of this public health order during an organized gathering, individuals and corporations involved with the violation may be liable on summary conviction in accordance with the Public Health Act [see sections 66 and 66.1].
- Further questions regarding legal liability should be directed to a legal counsel.
September 17, 2021