COVID-19 safety

What’s on this page?

What does it mean to be COVID-safe?

Being COVID-safe means assessing your actions, thinking things through, and taking deliberate precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Handwashing, physical distancing, wearing a mask or face covering, covering your cough or sneeze, and staying home if you are feeling sick are simple behaviours you can practise to be COVID-safe.

Making informed choices will help to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. To reduce your risks and stay COVID-safe, always follow public health recommendations and avoid the three C’s (Health Canada) as much as possible; closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact.

Avoid closed spaces, crowded places, close contact

Closed spaces

You are more likely to contract and/or spread the virus if you are indoors, especially in closed spaces with poor ventilation. Enjoying activities outdoors or in large open areas is a COVID-safe way to get out and participate in your community.

Crowded places

Areas that don’t have large numbers or people gathered are a lower risk option when considering where to spend time. Going out during off-peak times is a COVID-safe way to limit the number of people you are interacting with and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Close contact

Only allow close contact like shaking hands and hugging with the 10 people in your social circle. Keep a physical distance of at least 2 metres from everyone else. A physical distance of 2 metres is about the length of one hockey stick. If you are unable to maintain your physical distance, wear a mask or face covering for added protection.

Learn more about the rules for public gatherings and social circles (Government of Ontario) and key tips for living safely with COVID-19.

How can you be COVID-safe? (Rules to live by)

You cannot follow the rules if you do not know what they are. The following rules-to-live-by will help us to stay safe while COVID-19 is in our communities.

Top-10-COVID-Rules-to-Live-By

  1. Stick to your social circle of no more than 10 people
  2. Keep 2 metres distance from anyone not in your social circle
  3. Use your face covering in enclosed indoor public spaces and when you can’t keep 2 metres distance outdoors
  4. Limit gatherings of any size
  5. Limit travel
  6. Wash your hands
  7. Stay home when ill
  8. Get tested
  9. Work remotely when possible
  10. Practice kindness, patience, and gratitude—we are all in this together

Changing our behaviour and doing things in new ways takes planning and practice. Think ahead. Assess your risk and live by the rules. The Top-10-COVID-Rules-to-Live-By are simple yet powerful actions that will get us through this pandemic safely. Learn more about each of the rules.

Together we learn, together we adapt, and together we will be proud of how we successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your actions matter

Your actions matter to keep yourself and others COVID-safe. It is important to think ahead and understand risks for COVID-19. Risk levels may vary based on activity.

Reduce your risk by connecting closely only with people in your social circle (Government of Ontario), or bubble of 10 people. Keep a distance of 2 metres and wear a mask or face covering with everyone else. Consider participating in lower-risk activities and following public health tips for going out safely (Health Canada).

Think about the risks

COVID-19 is still circulating at different levels throughout the community and the province. To protect yourself and others, the safest options are to avoid non-essential travel, and limit the number of outings, when possible.

Here are a few examples of lower risk activities you may choose to do:

  1. Going for a walk in your neighbourhood
  2. Backyard BBQ with your social “bubble”
  3. Visiting community parks and beaches with public health measures
  4. Sightseeing in your personal vehicle
  5. Visiting family members outdoors while practicing physical distancing and wearing a face covering and careful handwashing

Some higher risk activities include:

  1. Gathering at indoor spaces such as movie theatres, restaurants, and bars
  2. Crowded public transportation
  3. Indoor parties

We recognize that some activities are not optional. It’s important to continue to follow public health measures by washing your hands, keeping a distance of 2 metres, and wearing a mask or face covering when doing essential activities such as:

  1. Grocery shopping
  2. Getting the mail
  3. Going to the pharmacy
  4. Visiting a health care provider
  5. Commuting to work using public transportation
  6. Essential travel for work

If you get symptoms, even mild ones, do not participate in any activities and make an appointment to get tested.

Thinking about our actions and changing our behaviours in simple ways will help protect our health and our communities.

Stay informed and be prepared

Canadians’ best defense against COVID-19 is to stay informed and be prepared. Anyone can post anything online. It’s important to think critically about posts to decide if it’s truthful and safe. Here are some tips to help you decide whether information is worth considering:

  1. Check that the information came from a trusted source.
  2. Check what public health officials and the government are saying.
  3. Read the entire story or post. Sometimes headlines can be misleading.

The following are examples credible sources of information.

For more information and credible resources visit our COVID-19 resources page.

COVID rules

With so many announcements about COVID-19—from stages of reopening to personal precautions—it can be hard to know what rules are currently in place. The following COVID-Rules-to-Live-By will keep us going for the long haul and will go a long way to protect our health, our health care system, our schools, and our jobs and economy.

Top-10-COVID-Rules-to-Live-By

1. Stick to your social circle of no more than 10 people

Your social circle can only include up to 10 people and must always be with the same people. These are the people who you can get close to without a face covering; they are the people who have all decided to be part of your social circle and only your social circle.

2. Keep 2 metres distance from anyone not in your social circle

Continue to practise physical distancing in all settings. For example, people at your table in restaurants and bars must be those in your social circle. Stay 2 metres away from everyone else, especially when it’s not possible to cover your face.

3. Use your face covering in enclosed indoor public spaces and when you can’t keep 2 metres distance outdoors

Keep a face covering (i.e. mask, scarf, bandana, etc.) with you so you can use it when you need it.

4. Limit gatherings of any size

The provincial gathering limits have increased, but the public health measures haven’t changed. Ask yourself if the gathering is necessary and if so, assess your risk and determine how you can make the activity safer.

5. Limit travel

As the province and country reopen, more area residents are being infected by being exposed to the virus through travel outside our region. Ask yourself if the travel is necessary and if so, plan ahead on how you will keep COVID-safe.

6. Wash your hands

Wash your hands often and when visibly dirty, for 15 seconds. Make a habit of carrying hand sanitizer with you.

7. Stay home when ill

The easiest way to reduce transmission is to stay home. If you have a COVID-19 symptom, get tested.

8. Get tested

If you have a COVID-19 symptom, if you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through your work, contact an assessment centre and get tested. Remember, you can still be infected after a negative test. A negative result should not be treated as a free pass to let your guard down. Continue to take precautions.

9. Work remotely

Continue to work remotely, where possible. Reducing our time in the workplace reduces the possibility of introducing the virus to new environments. If you cannot work remotely, follow public health guidance for workplaces.

10. Practice kindness, patience, and gratitude—we are all in this together

Changing our behaviour and doing things in new ways takes planning and practice. Think ahead. Assess your risk and live by the rules.

These COVID-rules-to-live-by are simple yet powerful actions that will get us through this pandemic safely.

This item was last modified on August 21, 2020