Protecting yourself and others
The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed.
Core Four actions to help us overcome COVID-19:
- Keep your distance.
- Wash your hands often.
- Wear a non-medical mask where it’s difficult to maintain physical distance and where masks are mandatory.
- Get tested if you think you have COVID-19.
Get the latest information about the Ontario government’s emergency orders.
Continue to take the following precautions:
- Wear a non-medical mask where maintaining physical distancing is difficult and where masks are mandatory.
- Create a safe social circle of no more than 10 people, including your own household. These are people who you can have close contact with.
- Practice physical distancing with everyone outside of your safe social circle and avoid crowds.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and their items.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wash hands after coughing and sneezing.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, exercise and enough sleep, to enhance your body's immune system.
Deciding to join a social circle
It’s your choice if you decide to join a social circle. You’ll need to consider your own unique circumstance when deciding. If you’re over 70, have a weakened immune system or underlying medical condition you may be at risk of developing complications from COVID-19. Essential workers can be part of your social circle, as long as the other members are aware of the risks and agree to them. Your social circle can include less than 10 people. It’s always best to start slow and safely add members later.
Refer to our translated resources for information in multiple languages.
Access COVID-19 related posters and other resources for use in workplaces and in the community.
Masks and face coverings
In Peel, it's now mandatory to wear a mask inside public spaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
When combined with distancing and hand-hygiene, emerging evidence suggests that masks may additionally contribute to stopping spread. Research has started to identify that, if worn correctly, masks might help reduce spread by blocking droplets that leave your mouth and nose when you talk, cough, sing, or sneeze.
Since COVID-19 is spread through droplets and infected droplets have been shown to transmit from individuals that are not showing symptoms, wearing masks may help control spread by preventing your droplets from accidentally infecting others, if appropriate physical distancing and hand washing are maintained.
Public Health Ontario’s evidence brief outlines the science in greater detail.
Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga have each passed mandatory mask bylaws. The bylaws are very similar across all 3 municipalities, but there are minor differences to keep in mind. Visit the website of your local municipality: Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga for information about the mandatory bylaw.
What the mandatory mask bylaws mean for you:
- You must wear a mask or face covering when you're inside public spaces.
- Masks include disposable or cloth masks, bandanas, scarfs, or similar items. It must cover your nose, mouth and chin, without any gaps.
- Follow the mask policy of the business you're visiting. If you are unsure what their policy is, ask them.
- Exemptions are allowed, including for individuals who have trouble breathing. Full exemptions by city are available on municipality websites. Proof of an exemption is not required.
- You may be asked to wear a mask when entering a business.
- If you're a business owner, show kindness when reminding people about wearing a mask. Remember that some people cannot wear masks.
Enforcing the bylaws
It's important that those who can wear a mask or face covering do so when inside public spaces. While enforcement measures are available through fines and penalties, we're relying on our residents and local businesses to help do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring that masks are worn where physical distancing is difficult and where masks are mandatory.
Visit your local municipality website for information on the application and enforcement of each of the municipal bylaw. For specific questions, Mississauga and Brampton residents can call 311 and Caledon residents can call 905-548-2272 (x 7750).
When and how to wear a mask
We recommend wearing a non-medical mask when it’s hard to maintain physical distance from others and where masks are mandatory.
The use of non-medical masks or face coverings may help protect those around you, but masks alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. When wearing a mask, it's still important to consistently practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing when out in public.
Follow these instructions on how to wear a non-medical mask for the general public.
Other important considerations:
- Wash your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water before, during and after wearing a mask.
- Non-medical masks or face coverings must cover the nose, mouth and chin. The fit should be comfortable but with no large gaps between your face and the mask.
- Properly wash fabric masks or throw away and replace single-use masks with a new mask as soon as a mask gets damp. Learn how to safely clean cloth face masks in a washing machine.
- Do not place cloth face coverings on children under age 2 or on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
- Wear a mask if you are caring for someone with COVID-19.
- If you think you might have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it, get tested. While waiting for test results, stay home, self-isolate and prevent potential spread.
- You can make your own homemade mask.
Medical masks must be kept for health care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients. We're accepting donations of surgical masks and other personal protective equipment.
Watch Peel Region’s Interim Medical Officer of Health tell you why, when and how to wear a non-medical mask.
A face shield is not the same as a mask. It does not provide the same level of protection since it can leave gaps between the face shield and your face. If you’re unable to wear a mask, a face shield is better than no mask, and may give you some protection.
If a face shield is used, it should cover below the chin and wrap around the sides of the face. Throw out disposable face shields after each use, or if reusable, clean and disinfect after each use.
Gloves are recommended for specific situations like caring for sick individuals or food preparation safety.
Wearing of gloves in public for general activities is not recommended. If not worn properly, it may increase the chance of transmission. Gloves are not a replacement for good handwashing practices.
If you do decide to wear gloves, follow these steps:
- Don't touch your face or cover your cough or sneeze with gloves.
- Wash your hands before putting gloves on and taking them off.
- Throw out disposable gloves after you've used them.
Always put masks, gloves and other home health care waste in a bag before throwing them in the garbage.
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms like the common cold but can advance, in some cases, to severe respiratory illness or even death. Coronaviruses are predominately passed from animals to people but can also spread from person-to-person.
Learn more about COVID-19 from Public Health Agency of Canada.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Common symptoms include:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath
A range of other symptoms may include:
- sore throat
- runny nose or nasal congestion (unless due to seasonal allergies or post-nasal drip.)
- difficulty swallowing
- new loss of sense of smell or taste
- nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
Less common symptoms may occur. Special attention should be paid if they happen in children, seniors, and people living with a developmental disability.
Access an outline of all of the symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 from the Ministry of Health.
When to contact a health care provider
Contact your health care provider, Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or Peel Public Health if you're experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Peel Public Health can be reached at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216. Our Public Health call centres are open 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week.
If your symptoms change or worsen, you may need to seek medical attention or get re-tested. If you have any severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911. Learn more about getting tested for COVID-19.
Key steps include:
- Staying a safe distance of 2 metres away from other people.
- Avoiding handshaking.
- Wearing a non-medical mask in public settings where it's difficult to maintain physical distancing and where masks are mandatory.
- Working from home when possible.
- Choosing virtual meetings over in-person meetings.
- Avoiding crowds.
Physical distancing doesn't mean you can't stay socially connected with friends and family. Create a safe social circle of up to 10 people to stay connected.
The Government of Canada has put an emergency order in place that requires mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all individuals entering Canada, even if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
Visit self-isolation and testing to find out what to do if you develop symptoms.
Essential service workers such as health care workers returning from travel outside of Canada should also follow the mandatory quarantine. However, some of these workers may be able to return to work earlier than 14 days after arriving in Canada if they do not have symptoms and are considered critical to operations.
If you're an essential service worker you should contact your occupational health department or Peel Public Health. If you do return to work, you should continue to self-monitor for symptoms and immediately self-isolate if symptoms develop.
Returning to Canada
When you return to Canada you will need to confirm that you have a suitable plan for isolation. Under the order by the Canadian government, you cannot isolate in a place where you would be in contact with vulnerable people, including seniors, or people with pre-existing medical conditions. You must also confirm that you will have access to essentials such as food and medication.
Get more information about what to do when arriving in Canada from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Violating instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act. Such offences could result in a fine and/or imprisonment. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the lead enforcement agency for the Quarantine Act.
The Government of Canada has advised against all non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. Read the COVID-19 travel advisories for more information
If you have questions, Peel Public Health can be reached at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216. Our Public Health call centres are open 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week. If you're feeling well, you do not need to contact public health.
If you have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911. Inform 911 of your symptoms and recent travel history to make sure the right infection prevention and control precautions are taken.
Residents, or visitors to Peel, must self-isolate for 14 days if they:
- Have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Have symptoms of COVID-19 (and are awaiting their test results).
- Believe they have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Are a parent or caregiver, of a child age 16 and under that has tested positive for COVID-19 or is a contact of a COVID-19 case.
Requirements include the following:
These residents may not leave their home or isolation facility for any reason during this period of isolation unless:
- They are on a private balcony or in an enclosed yard on their property where they can avoid close contact with others.
- They need to seek emergency medical attention.
These residents must avoid all contact with others including:
- Avoiding all contact with vulnerable persons (for example, those with underlying medical conditions, compromised immune systems, seniors, or reliant on homeless shelter/other congregate living setting).
- Avoiding contact with household members as much as possible (for example, wear a mask if you need to be in the same room).
These residents must follow instructions for infection control as directed by Public Health.
- handwashing, changing and disposal of masks, not sharing any dishes/cutlery, using a separate washroom if available, sleeping in room by yourself if possible, using separate towels.
These residents should seek prompt medical attention if illness worsens.