COVID-19 safety

The Roadmap to Reopen Ontario is a three-step plan to safely and gradually reopen Ontario. This strategy is based on the ongoing progress of province-wide vaccination rates and continued improvement in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates.

Ontario is now in Step 3 of the roadmap as of July 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. 

Learn more about the Roadmap to Reopen Ontario (Government of Ontario).

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.

Remember that getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available to you is one way of keeping our communities safe.

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  especially when the three C’s ( closed spaces, crowded places, close contact) are involved.

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 members of your household. 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 public gatherings,  and follow personal health measures. (Government of Ontario).

How can you be COVID-safe?

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

Always follow the current guidance and restrictions in effect by the Government of Ontario

1. Get vaccinated against COVID-19

It is more important than ever to complete the vaccine series and boost your immune response. For the best protection against COVID-19 and variants, such as the delta variant, individuals must complete the vaccine series with two doses to improve vaccine effectiveness.

2. Keep 2 metres distance from anyone not in your household

Continue to practise physical distancing in all settings. For example, being COVID-safe includes only dining out in restaurants and bars with your household. Stay 2 metres away from everyone else, especially when it’s not possible to wear a face covering.

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. non-medical mask, surgical masks, homemade cloth mask) with you so you can use it when you need it.

4. Limit gatherings

Provincial gathering limits may vary, but public health measures stay the same. Ask yourself if the gathering is necessary and if so, assess your risk and determine how you can make the activity safer.

5. Avoid non-essential travel

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, 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

Where possible continue to work remotely. 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. Practise 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. Be patient with others while we adjust to a new way of life. 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.

COVID-safety tips for COVID-safe summer adventures

As of July 16, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. Ontario is in Stage 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen Ontario (Government of Ontario). The third stage of the Roadmap permits indoors gatherings of limited size and expands outdoors gathering spaces with some restrictions still in place. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been told to self-isolate, you need to stay home and avoid public spaces.

Seeing a Personal Care Service Provider?

The safe option:

The safer option:

Planning a gathering?

The safe option:

The safer option:

Planning or attending a wedding?

The safe option:

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Participating in outdoor sports or fitness classes?

The safe option:

Do not share equipment with others.

The safer option:

Attending and Day or Overnight camp?

The safe option:

The safer option:

Attending an outdoor organized public event (sports, concert, farmer’s market)?

The safe option:

The safer option:

Going shopping?

The safe option:

The safer option:

Dining out?

The safe option:

The safer option:

Attending a museum or indoor event space?

The safe option:

The safer option:

Why is physical distancing important

When an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the novel coronavirus, if the person has the disease (COVID-19) (Health Canada, 2021). COVID-19 can also be spread via direct contact with surfaces that are potentially contaminated with the virus. Practising physical distancing slows the spread! A reminder that physical distancing applies to everyone. Let’s all do our part to protect our health care system and vulnerable populations. Stay healthy. Stop the spread. Flatten the curve.

How to practise physical distancing

Physical distancing means limiting the number of people you come into close contact with and maintaining 2 metres distance from each other to reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread from person to person.

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.

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 members of your household
  3. Sightseeing in your personal vehicle

Some higher risk activities include:

  1. Gathering indoors in public spaces
  2. Crowded public transportation
  3. Indoor and outdoor parties

Try to choose lower risk activities to limit your risk of contracting COVID-19.

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.

Safe holidays and celebrations

Staying connected with loved ones and friends is important but COVID-19 does not take holidays. While we continue to navigate a global pandemic, celebrations must look a little different. When planning, hosting, or attending a holiday celebration think about how you can modify your activities in a COVID-safe way.

 Community Gardens

The operator(s) of community or allotment gardens must ensure that all garden members are familiar with Public Health conditions and directions for operating during COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 resources page to download our COVID-19 and Community Gardens Public Health Direction and signage.

Stay informed and be prepared

Canadians’ best defense against COVID-19 is to stay informed and be prepared and get vaccinated. 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:

The following are examples credible sources of information.

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


This item was last modified on July 23, 2021