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Recommendations and infection prevention practices related to COVID-19 in community spaces

Other information

It's important for housing providers, property managers and landlords to follow recommendations to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings.

  • • Practice physical distancing with everyone outside of your safe social circle, especially in common areas like lobbies and elevators.
  • Stay a safe distance of 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people.
  • Avoid handshaking.
  • Choose virtual meetings over in-person meetings where possible.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Close shared amenities (for example game rooms, gyms, and pools).
  • Make hand sanitizer available in the entrance or at the elevator.
  • Clean and disinfect high traffic areas such as building entrances, elevators and laundry rooms often (at least twice daily).
  • Share information about cleaning processes and frequency with building residents. View cleaning and disinfecting public spaces – Public Health Ontario

View related resources for posters about handwashing, physical distancing in laundry rooms, lobbies, elevators, hallways etc.

Self-isolating building residents

For residents of the multi-unit dwelling who are self-isolating, deliveries to a resident unit should be made to front desk or concierge. Packages will be left at the front door of the unit. Refer to how to self-isolate (PDF) for more information. Access our translated resources for information in multiple languages.

This guidance is intended to support homeless shelter providers in planning and responding to COVID-19.

Protecting yourself and others

  • Encourage staff and clients to practice physical distancing:
  • Remind all staff and clients to regularly wash their hands.
  • Post hand washing posters
  • Ensure hand washing supplies are well stocked.
  • Remind all staff and clients to cough or sneeze into their sleeve.
  • Screen all staff and advise to stay home if sick.
  • Advise clients to not share items that come in contact with the mouth or nose, such as drug use equipment, drinking utensils, cigarettes.
  • If single bedrooms are not available, consider maintaining a 2-metre separation in sleeping areas between beds.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, handrails), common areas (dining rooms, sleep quarters, bathrooms), and shared equipment (keyboard, telephones).

Screening

  • Shelter providers should quickly identify and isolate any client with symptoms of COVID-19.  See the screening tool in the COVID 19 Guidance for Homelessness Service Providers.
  • Staff and volunteers to assist clients in identifying acute respiratory illness (e.g., new onset of fever, cough or shortness of breath), and to provide them with help to access appropriate health care.
  • Advise staff who recently travelled out of Canada or were exposed to a case of COVID-19 not to enter the workplace, but to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
  • Clients who show symptoms should be isolated. See your site specific guide for direction on isolation.

Region of Peel is providing additional supports for individuals who need to self-isolate or test positive for COVID-19. View our system response (PDF). Also visit the COVID-19 housing and homelessness update for more site specific plans by facility.

Testing

Individuals being tested for COVID-19 should follow the isolation protocols for the specific site.

Considerations regarding food banks and food programs providers.

Food distribution

  • Consider pre-packing food boxes or bags.
  • Consider mobile food distribution and practice safe delivery options to clients who have become ill or are at high risk.
  • Create an alternate delivery system such as a drive through distribution, where volunteers deliver a prepackaged bag to their car
  • Remove client wait areas. Consider having people wait outdoors if this is possible
  • Stagger arrivals and departures to reduce contact between clients.

Food program providers

  • Complete any paperwork on behalf of clients. Clients must be able to view and verify that the information documented is correct. Staff and volunteers cannot sign on behalf of a client.
  • Encourage sick clients, or those who have been asked to self-isolate, to stay home and ask them to have a friend or neighbour pick up their food or meal items.
  • Prepare and plan for operations with a reduced workforce, with fewer volunteers.

Safe food handling

  • Postpone any food demonstrations or cooking classes.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds using single use paper towel to dry hands and to close taps.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, all phones, counters, handles on cabinets, fridges, utility or grocery carts, pens, computers stations.
  • Do not allow clients to handle food items. Staff and volunteers handle all food products for clients.
  • Remind staff, volunteers and clients to sneeze or cough into their sleeves and wash their hands afterwards.

When conducting a wedding, funeral, religious service, rite or ceremony you must ensure that it is conducted in compliance with Ontario regulations and public health recommendations

To protect the health of the community, all ceremonies must adhere to attendance limits and enable attendees to maintain proper physical distancing between each other. That means attendees must maintain a 2 metre distance between one another, unless they are members of the same household or 10-person social circle.

Attendees should be encouraged to wear a non-medical mask if physical distancing will be difficult to maintain, practice good hand hygiene, and should be asked to remain at home and get tested if they are feeling sick.

Those conducting a service, rite or ceremony must ensure that frequent cleaning and disinfecting practices are in place, particularly in washrooms and frequently touched surfaces.

Attendance for a wedding, funeral or religious service/rite/ceremony must be limited to:

  • 10 people if being held at a private dwelling.
  • 30% capacity of the room if held indoors.
  • 50 people if held outdoors.

Attendance for indoor or outdoor wedding and funeral receptions must be limited to:

  • no more than 10 people.

Additional information

Access Peel Public Health’s letter to faith community leaders for more information about reopening places of worship and how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health also provides advice for those delivering religious services, rites or ceremonies. This document provides basic information and is not intended to act as comprehensive guidance.

The Ontario government is now allowing community and allotment gardens to operate with guidance from public health.

There are requirements before opening gardens that include signage, hand washing stations, use of equipment and tools, physically distancing, prohibiting events and food services and communicating policies and protocols to personnel and gardeners.

Refer to Peel Public Health's Guidance for Community and Allotment Gardens During COVID-19 for information about:

  • Entrance requirements and restrictions.
  • Hand hygiene.
  • Cleaning and disinfection requirements.
  • Compliance and enforcement.

Only gardens that are able to follow this guidance are permitted to operate. This guidance is subject to change.

Now that Peel is in the second stage of reopening, additional recreational activities and facilities will gradually begin to reopen.

Outdoor recreational facilities that operate low-contact attractions and activities will be allowed to reopen in Stage 2. Restrictions will exist for certain indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities that are permitted to reopen. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools and outdoor splash pads and wading pools may gradually reopen.

Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and fitness equipment will remain closed.

Reopening of recreational amenities will vary among municipalities. Check your local municipality for details on closures.

Some provincial parks and conservation reserves are open with limited access and restrictions on the types of recreational activities allowed. Access provincial updates on conservation and parks for more information.

When outdoors, maintain a safe physical distance of at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not from your safe social circle. Ensure you wash your hands with soap and water when you get back home.

To continue these important services, consider the following:

  • Advise donors to stay home if they are unwell.
  • Screen donors for signs of illness during appointment booking, and post signage at front entrance.
  • Provide hand washing and hand sanitizer stations (post hand washing and hand cleaning posters). Ensure hand hygiene supplies are well stocked.
  • Remind everyone to sneeze and cough into their sleeve.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces (donor beds, laminated pamphlets).
  • Space donor beds 2 metres away from each other to promote physical distancing.
  • Review the Canadian Blood Services donor eligibility requirements in response to COVID-19.

Personal protection considerations

  • Advise staff to stay home when sick. Plan for staff absences.
  • Strict adherence to hand hygiene must be followed (post hand washing and hand cleaning posters).
  • Ensure easy access to hand washing stations and hand washing supplies are well stocked.
  • Continue to practice routine infection prevention and control measures.
  • Continue to ensure work surfaces are cleaned and disinfected.