Physical distancing (COVID-19)
Gatherings and closures: guidance
The Government of Ontario has applied gathering limits to higher risk settings and activities where people congregate.
(new: September 19, 2020) Unmonitored and private social gatherings are groups of up to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Unlike social circles, in social gatherings you must keep 2 metres distance from each other. Masks or face coverings are required if 2 metres distance can’t be kept up.
The number of people allowed to attend an indoor wedding, religious service, or funeral continues to be a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue (as of July 17, 2020). For both indoor and outdoor events, those attending must follow proper public health measures, including practising physical distancing from people who are not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.
Organizers who have questions about exceptions are encouraged to contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
The community is asked to recognize the risk of attending public gatherings and to practise physical distancing to manage the spread of illness.
- Organizations that can take advantage of virtual options to continue providing services are strongly encouraged to do so.
- For up-to-date information on school closures visit the Ministry of Education website.
- For information about community events or services impacted by COVID-19, please consult your local municipality or individual event organizers of service providers.
Social circles are a way to safely expand the number of people with whom you can come in close contact. As of June 12, 2020, Ontarians can establish a family or social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact with one another without physical distancing. Learn more about how to create a safe social circle (Government of Ontario).
What is physical distancing (social distancing)
Physical distancing means limiting the number of people you come into close contact with and distancing from each other to reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread from person to person.
We all need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s vital we all follow guidelines:
- DO limit non-essential travel and when you go out, make sure to follow public health guidance
- DO connect with others, only virtually
- DO keep two metres distance from others when out
- DO go for a walk
- DO postpone or cancel even small gatherings
- DO keep kids away from any group settings, even playdates
- DO stay away from long-term care or other care settings
- DON’T put yourself or others at risk!
Why is physical distancing important
When someone coughs or sneezes 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 coughing has the disease (COVID-19) (WHO, 2019). 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
Avoid crowded spaces and stay two metres apart from others when you will be in public areas.
- Avoid shopping at peak hours and wear a mask or face covering.
- Keep up-to-date with current closures.
- Avoid physical contact with others (for example, no handshakes).
- Ask your employer about options to work from home, if possible. If you have meetings planned, conduct them virtually instead of in person.
- When spending time outside, maintain a two-metre (6 feet) of distance from each other.
Key recommendations to protect the most vulnerable include:
- If you are experiencing symptoms, or if you are not experiencing symptoms, but have had close contact with a confirmed case, stay home.
- If you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, you are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. (The exception is for workers who are part of workplaces that are essential to daily living. These individuals are asked to self-monitor for 14 days.)
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you are being asked to return home, self-isolate and seek clinical assessment over the phone.
- Limiting contact with vulnerable individuals, such as those who are at higher risk of negative health impacts (individuals who are ill or have poor health, elderly people, etc.). For example, avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices, and other congregate care settings unless your visit is essential. Vulnerable individuals should also limit their exposure to crowded places.
- If you are over 70 years of age or immunocompromised, you are advised to self-isolate.
- Separating from others and, if you are at higher risk, avoiding contact with those who might be more likely to transmit the disease, such as small children.
- Wear a mask or face covering when entering an enclosed public space.
These guidelines do NOT mean “you must stay in your home.” Physical distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Connecting with others using the key points above means that you can safely interact with others, if even virtually. For example, you can connect using technology or go outside to take a walk.
The current circumstances, which for many include significant disruption to their daily lives, can be very stressful and can impact our mental health. There are a number of strategies that you can consider to support your mental health.
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.
To order signage for your community garden, call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200, ext. 257 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
This item was last modified on September 21, 2020