COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

Protect yourself and others

What YOU Can Do To Help:

Get the COVID-19 vaccine once you are eligible.

Already fully vaccinated? Your vaccination status does not do away with the requirement to always follow provincial regulations, public health advice, and infection prevention practices. Continue to follow the provincial regulations and public health measures put in place for workplaces and our community until everyone receives the vaccine. 

The Canadian government has provided more information regarding how your vaccination status can impact how you enjoy certain activities or settings here.

Physical distance

  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet (2 metres) away from people outside of your household.
  • Follow the current provincial guidelines for gatherings and organized public events. 
    • Social gatherings and organized public events have set limits for capacity during indoor and outdoor activities.

Wear a face mask

  • A face mask can provide some protection when a person is in:
    • Closed spaces
    • Crowded places
    • Close contact settings
  • Use of a face mask in most indoor settings based on the updated provincial regulations. The Public Health Agency of Canada has provided further guidance on wearing a face mask outdoors and in certain social settings based on vaccination status.
  • Watch this video to review how to use a mask safely.

Wash your hands

  • Good hand hygiene is so important to stop the spread of germs. We frequently touch surfaces and move from one point to the next.
  • Hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer limits the spread by breaking the chain of transmission.

Stay home if you’re sick

  • Your health and the health of others around you is important.
  • If you feel sick or unwell stay home, plan to get tested, and continue to monitor your symptoms. If you are in distress call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.
  • Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms, the severity of symptoms and steps you can take to seek help.

The following links provide more information on what YOU can do to help protect yourself and others:

Close Contacts

COVID-19 is primarily spread through prolonged exposure with an infected individual. A close contact to an infected individual is someone who has exposure for a duration of time of at least 15 minutes or more and is in close proximity to that person.

Lambton Public Health identifies close contacts through contact tracing – a review process that considers an individual’s symptoms, whereabouts, interactions and exposure.

All individuals that are identified as a close contact will be informed and provided appropriate steps to do next.

What to do if you have been identified as a close contact

Unvaccinated Individuals:

  • Stay home and self-isolate for 10 days
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Book a COVID-19 test at a Public Assessment Centre right away. Leaving your house to get tested is acceptable, please follow all safety measures.
  • If your test is negative you are recommended to re-test on or after day 7.
  • You are required to remain in self-isolation for the 10 days even if your test result is negative.

Vaccinated Individuals:

Fully immunized persons are those who have received the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer) or a single dose of a one-dose series (e.g., Janssen) and where 14 days have passed since their final dose. To be considered fully immunized, the vaccines received must be on the lists approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization, which as of August 2021 are: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Sinopharm/BIBP1 and Sinovac–CoronaVac.

If it has not been 14 days since you received your final vaccine dose, you are NOT considered fully immunized and you must self-isolate for 10 days.

Previously positive individuals are persons who were a confirmed case of COVID-19 where their initial positive result was ≤ 90 days ago AND they have been cleared from their initial infection.

If you meet one of the definitions for being fully immunized or having a recent COVID-19 infection, you still must self-isolate for 10 days if any of the following apply:

  • If you have symptoms related to COVID-19;
  • If you are immunocompromised;
  • If you are a resident at a long-term care or retirement home
  • If you are a hospital inpatient
  • If you have been otherwise instructed to self-isolate by Lambton Public Health

If none of the above apply, you are not required to self-isolate. You should still do the following:

  • Get tested for COVID-19
  • Self-monitor for symptoms and self-isolate immediately if symptoms develop
  • wear a mask and maintain physical distancing when outside of the home to reduce the risk of transmission to others in the event you become a case;
  • Notify your employer that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and follow any restrictions from work, as specified by your manager and/or Occupational Health department.

Additional information: You’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, now what? – The Government of Ontario (flowchart)

Face Coverings and Masks

Effective July 16th, 2021, Ontario Regulation 364/20 requires masks and face coverings to be worn by all persons (including those that are fully vaccinated) in a manner that covers their mouth, nose, and chin during any period when they are in an indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization (unless exemptions apply).

An individual is exempt from wearing a mask or face covering in indoor public places if and/or when the individual:

  • is a child who is younger than two years of age;
  • is attending a school or private school within the meaning of the Education Act that is operated in accordance with a return to school direction issued by the Ministry of Education and approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • is attending a child care program at a place that is in compliance with the child care reopening guidance issued by the Ministry of Education;
  • is attending a day camp or overnight camp for children that is in compliance with section 19 of Schedule 2;
  •  is receiving residential services and supports in a residence listed in the definition of “residential services and supports” in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008;
  • is in a correctional institution or in a custody and detention program for young persons in conflict with the law;
  • is performing or rehearsing in a film or television production or in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance;
  • has a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering;
  • is unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person;
  • needs to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area,
    • (i)  to receive services that require the removal of their mask or face covering,
    • (ii)  to engage in an athletic or fitness activity,
    • (iii)  to consume food or drink, or
    • (iv)  as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety;
  • is being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;
  • is being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code; or
  • performs work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.

For more details, visit Ontario Regulation 364/20 or Ontario Newsroom

Safe Use of Face Masks or Coverings

Public Safe Use of Gloves

Disposable gloves have not been proven to protect the person wearing them from COVID-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs. Wearing gloves is not a substitute for proper hand washing.

Learn more about the risks, when to use disposable gloves, and how to safely use them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I wear a mask or face covering most effectively?

To ensure you are wearing your face mask in a manner that covers your mouth, nose, and chin, our video will show you the most effective way to apply, wear and store your face covering. 
 
Remember: Always carry your mask in a clean plastic bag when not in use. Always keep it clean by washing cloth masks/face coverings regularly.

Are face shields a substitute for a mask or face covering?

A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a mask. Face shields cannot filter the wearer’s respiratory droplets and their large openings allow respiratory droplets to escape.

Face shields may be used in addition to a mask or face covering. Face shields may provide eye protection to protect the wearer from an unmasked person’s droplets when that individual is unable to maintain 6ft physical distance.

Are plastic masks or face shields recommended?

The Public Health Agency of Canada stated that masks should not be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials. Therefore plastic masks or mouth shields are not recommended. Review our FAQ on what to look for when choosing a face covering and learn how to wear them properly.

When are masks still required outdoors?

In Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, it is required to wear a mask or face covering outdoors when there are a large number of people who congregate in one place or the same area for extended periods of time (such as concerts, sporting events, racing venues). This means for such an event/ activity in the outdoor areas of restaurants/food establishments with dancing, sports and rec facilities, concert venues, theatres, cinemas, and racing venues. It also includes a concert, event, performance or movie if it is held at another outdoor venue such as a museum or similar attraction, amusement park, or fair, rural exhibition, or festival.
 
In the above outdoor situations and venues, every patron must wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless:
• They are entitled to an exception set out in Schedule 1, Section 2 (4).
• They are seated with members of their own household only, and every member of the household is seated at least two metres from every person outside their household.
• They are temporarily removing their mask to consume food or drink. 

Where do masks need to be worn on the premises of a restaurant?

In Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, patrons are required to wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin, when they are:
• In indoor areas of the restaurant, with limited exemptions (refer to FAQ on mask exemptions).
• In indoor and outdoor areas with a dance area/ while dancing. Please note that any establishment/venue in which persons are dancing, you must wear a mask or face covering if you cannot maintain 2 meters physical distance from every other person outside of your household.
 
In the outdoor areas of a restaurant (except when dancing) a mask or face covering is not required for patrons, though LPH encourages that whenever individuals are out in the community that they: 
• Keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. 
• Wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres.
 
Please be aware, a mask or face covering becomes required during any period in which a person is in an indoor area of the restaurant, except once seated at their table in which it may be temporarily removed to consume food or drink. As persons move within areas of the establishment (e.g. from their table to the washroom) and between indoor and outdoor areas, if you remove or reapply personal protective equipment you need to ensure proper handling.This includes washing your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering.

Do I have to provide proof that I am exempt from wearing a mask? Can I still access the services I need?

According to Ontario Regulation 364/20, it is not necessary for a person to present evidence to the person responsible for a business or place that they are entitled to any of the exceptions set out in the regulation.
 
No one should experience harassment or other discriminatory treatment based on the Human Rights Code because they are unable to wear a mask. Everyone involved should be flexible and explore whether individual accommodation is possible, including alternative ways a person might safely continue to work, receive a service or live in congregate housing.
 
More information on COVID-19 and the Human Rights Code can be found here.

How will mask policies be enforced in Lambton County?

The Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) and its Regulation describes the rules for businesses, organizations, and individuals to follow. 
 
Enforcement begins with education to ensure clear information is shared in order to achieve compliance with the legislation.  In Lambton County, the Reopening Ontario Act is enforced by the police and bylaw officers.  They use their discretion to issue written warnings and provincial offense notices (tickets).
 
Visit our Enforcement page for reporting details.
 
In addition to the ROA, a business or organization may also create their own policies which would be enforced by the owner or manager of that location.