COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

How to protect yourself

Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or health care centre. There is no vaccine available to protect against the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Social activity is increasing as pandemic stages involve reopening more businesses and settings where people may congregate, as well as increased social gathering sizes.

Identifying risk settings is an important step to consider. Remember the 3Cs for risk settings to avoid and consider:

  • Closed spaces
  • Crowded places
  • Close contact settings

Activities under these settings can also be considered on a gradient from low risk to medium and high risk. Determining your risk tolerance is specific to you as an individual. Also consider the increased risk when the risk settings overlap.

Continue to use these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus and prevent the spread of germs:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Use good hand hygiene – wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Practise physical distancing – always keep a distance of at least two metres (6 feet) from others outside your social circle. Follow restrictions for social gatherings and social circles.
  • Wear a face mask (or covering) if required or when physical distancing is not possible.

COVID-19: Going Out Safely – infographic (3Cs settings, risk categories for activities)

Face Coverings and Masks

Effective October 3, 2020 – Face coverings required in all public indoor settings across the province, such as businesses, facilities, workplaces and workplace vehicles, with limited exemptions. Local municipal face covering by-laws also remain in effect.

You may also consider using a face covering or non-medical mask in other situations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in areas where physical distancing may be challenging or not possible.

Face coverings will not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it may help protect others. It’s important to also continue to physical distance, stay home if you are sick, and use good hand hygiene. 

Summary of provincial exemptions:


  • Work areas not accessible to the public where 2m physical distancing can be maintained. 
  • Common areas of residences (such as university dorms, retirement homes, and long-term care homes) where 2m physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Residences for people with disabilities.


  • Children under 2 years old.
  • Health accommodations.
  • Temporarily removing a face covering to receive services or for health and safety.

For more details visit: or Ontario Regulation 264/20


Questions about safe use?

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.