Step 3: COVID-19 Public Health Guidance

PEI is in Step 3 of the Moving On Transition Plan to Living with COVID-19.

COVID-19 will remain with us for the foreseeable future. Moving to Step 3 of the Moving On plan does not mean the pandemic is over but does signal that we are changing and adapting how we live with this virus. The province is moving from population health measures and restrictions to a situation where individuals will assess their own risk based on a number of factors, including their own health and vaccine status and that of others and the type of activity or event they are attending. Even if some measures are no longer mandated, individuals may choose to continue following certain measures to protect themselves and others.

Principles

  • Keeping COVID-19 vaccinations up-to-date is the best defense against COVID-19. With a full series of vaccines, including boosters, most people will be well protected against COVID-19, meaning the risk of serious illness is much lower.
  • Keeping COVID-19 vaccinations up-to-date does not change your risk of exposure to the virus in the community.
  • The more individuals in PEI who are immunized, the more protection we have and the better we protect our health system.
  • The potential for severe illness from COVID-19 and other respiratory illness increases with age and health conditions that affect your immune system.
  • Masks and physical distancing are effective protective mechanisms against COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses that spread quickly when people are in crowded indoor spaces, especially if you are not fully vaccinated, immune compromised or have underlying medical conditions.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces helps to prevent the spread of illnesses.

Guidance for individuals

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19, including boosters, when you are eligible.
  • Stay home when you are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Get tested  if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (even if the symptoms are mild).
  • If you are positive for COVID-19, follow isolation requirements
  • If you are identified as a close contact, follow guidance for close contacts
  • Wash your hands often especially after touching your face, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, using the restroom or coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces in public places.
  • When sneezing or coughing, cover your nose and mouth, and wash your hands after.
  • Wearing a mask is strongly recommended:
    • Indoors in public places.
    • Outdoors in public spaces if unable to maintain distancing from others, regardless of your vaccination status.
    • When caring for someone with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Continue to follow mask requirements in high risk settings, including hospitals, long term and community care homes, on public transit, for early learning and childcare and for students and staff in K-12 on buses and when not seated in class.
    • 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 without assistance.
    • See Wearing Masks in the Community for more guidance.
  • Smaller, less crowded, gatherings pose less risk compared to larger, more crowded gatherings.
  • There is lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 outdoors than indoors.
  • Wearing a mask and maintaining physical distancing are effective protective measures, especially if you are immune compromised, have underlying medical conditions, or are not fully vaccinated.
  • Assess the risk to yourself and others -  including vaccine status, age and health, illness in the community, and setting and activities - before participating in activities
  • Vulnerable individuals should exercise caution and minimize high-risk exposures situations.
  • If individuals are not comfortable to attend gatherings, it is important to be supportive of one another’s decisions.
  • If indoors, improve ventilation by opening windows and doors if possible.
  • Continue to clean high touch surfaces in the home regularly and use self-clean opportunities in  public places (e.g. hand sanitizer when entering a store and wipes for shopping cart handles).

Guidance for businesses, services, and organizations

  • All businesses, services, and organizations should encourage employees, volunteers, and participants to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • When organizing activities, consider:
    • There is lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 outdoors than indoors.
    • Smaller gatherings pose less risk compared to large gatherings.
    • Less crowded gatherings pose less risk compared to crowded gatherings.
  • Businesses, communities and organizations may consider maintaining processes to promote distancing and limit crowding among employees, participants and volunteers, such as arranging space to maximize distancing.  Some businesses and organizations may choose to continue remote work options for employees.
  • Businesses, communities and organizations may consider maintaining options for individuals to access goods and services remotely or via contactless pick up and/or drop off.
  • Continue to follow mask requirements in high risk settings, including hospitals, long term and community care homes, on public transit, for early learning and childcare, and for students and staff in K-12 when they are on buses and when not seated in class.
  • Businesses, communities and organizations may consider developing their own policies on masking for staff, participants and volunteers, such as in indoor settings where distancing is not able to be maintained.
  • Businesses, communities and organizations may consider continuing to provide hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) or hand washing facilities at entrances and exits and near high touch surfaces, such as elevators, doors and check outs.  There should be signage reminding employees, patrons and participants of the importance of proper hand washing/sanitization and respiratory hygiene.
  • Businesses, communities and organizations should continue to conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, doorknobs, light switches,  and other equipment.  In addition, cleaning and disinfection supplies can be made accessible to customers and others to self-clean surfaces and equipment.
  • Businesses, organizations and communities may consider maintaining capacity to offer virtual and alternative options for meetings, gatherings, work and delivery of goods and services.  Examples of alternative practices include: curb-side or contactless pick-up, drive-through service, work from home, online and teleconference options for staff, and hosting meetings virtually or outdoors.
  • Businesses, communities and organizations should consider ways to support employees, participants and volunteers to stay home when ill.
Published date: 
May 6, 2022
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca