Community spaces, residential buildings, and other settings
Recommendations and infection prevention practices related to COVID-19 in community spaces
Masks are mandatory in Peel
You must wear a mask inside public spaces to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more information, visit masks and face coverings.
Community and allotment gardens can open in Peel for the 2021 gardening season if they operate within the guidelines developed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Review the COVID-19 community garden guidelines.
Community and allotment gardens allow individuals, families, or groups to grow their own fruits and vegetables and they make nutritious food more accessible to communities. They also increase physical activity and help improve mental well being.
If you have any questions, or are unable to follow the requirements in the guidelines contact Craig Orrell at email@example.com to discuss options to reduce the risks to staff, volunteers and garden members.
Multi-unit residential buildings contain large numbers of people and have multiple common areas and shared spaces. This can make it difficult for residents to avoid contact with their neighbours when accessing common areas like foyers and elevators, or when using shared facilities like laundry rooms.
Housing providers, property managers and landlords should consider the following measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19:
Reinforce public health measures
- Restrict gatherings and limit occupancy in shared spaces.
- Encourage consistent mask use and hand hygiene in all common areas, including hallways and confined spaces like elevators, mail rooms and laundry facilities.
- Indoor pools in condominiums and apartment buildings can open with public health measures in place including gathering limits and frequent cleaning. Peel Public Health, however, recommends that they remain closed until all indoor pools are permitted to reopen in Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopening Plan.
- Limit elevator occupancy to the minimum number of people as much as possible (e.g., 3 people), based on the size of your building.
- Mark stairwells for one-directional use (“up” and “down”).
- Access our COVID-19 resources for posters on maximum occupancy limit, stairwell directions, mask use, physical distancing (in elevators, laundry rooms, washrooms, etc.), handwashing, and more. We also have translated resources available in multiple languages.
Maintain building systems and air flow
- Ensure heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are working properly and well maintained.
- Consider restoring full ventilation if ventilation rates have been lowered as an energy saving measure.
- Ensure that filters are clean.
- Consider increasing filter efficiency as a way to help prevent infection, however, do not change filter types without consulting an HVAC professional.
- Increase outdoor air flow by encouraging residents to open windows to circulate fresh air and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- Consider using portable air cleaners to help with ventilation and filtration, especially in areas where adequate ventilation is difficult to achieve. Direct the airflow so that it does not blow directly from one person to another, to reduce the potential spread of infectious droplets.
- Ensure that all plumbing traps remain full. This reduces the chance of cross-contaminants being passed through shared drainage systems (such as floor drains) that can become dried out from lack of use.
Ensure proper cleaning and disinfection
- Maintain building cleaning programs.
- Frequently clean high touch surfaces in common areas, including elevator panels, mailboxes, hand railings, switches, doorknobs, garbage and recycling chutes, laundry equipment, light switches, and intercoms.
- Place hand sanitizer stations in high traffic areas if they can be kept stocked.
- Enhance cleaning in any common washrooms that remain open by cleaning with proper disinfectant, ensuring there is adequate soap and paper towels at all times, and posting signage reminding people to flush with the lid down to avoid fecal contamination.
- Review the resources on cleaning and disinfection for more information.
Support resident wellbeing
- Avoid restricting visitor access to buildings, as residents may require social or physical assistance from their essential supports.
- Promote available community supports and mental health services.
- Avoid limiting movement of residents who seem to be ill. Privacy of residents is essential, and any additional measures should only be directed by Public Health.
- If residents identify that they’re self-isolating, deliveries to a resident unit can be made to the front desk or concierge and packages can be left at the front door of the unit.
Group living settings are facilities where people (most or all of whom are not related) live or stay overnight and use shared spaces (e.g. common sleeping areas, bathrooms and kitchens).
This information applies to only non-regulated congregate living settings such as shelters, group homes and other residential settings serving vulnerable populations. This does not apply regulated settings like to long term care centres, correctional facilities, and child care centres.
Providers of these settings should refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 guidance: congregate living for vulnerable populations. This guidance outlines measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in these settings, and to prevent, detect and manage individual cases and outbreaks.
Learn more about guidelines for visitors in group living settings.
- We’ve developed a COVID-19 guide for homelessness service providers to follow while operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document reflects the Ministry of Health’s guidance.
- Learn more about our emergency housing system response.
- Visit our COVID-19 housing and homelessness update for more site-specific plans by facility.
- Use this screening entrance sign as a resource for passive screening.
- Adapt the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 patient screening guidance document for your screening questions.
Requesting COVID-19 testing and swabs for congregate settings (non-long term care)
Congregate settings (shelters, group homes, assisted living, other) requiring COVID-19 swabs for testing should submit a request to Ontario Health by completing the PPE and swab kit intake form.
- Facilities requiring COVID-19 testing support should contact their Peel Public Health case manager for further guidance.
- Congregate settings requiring support with COVID-19 surveillance testing should contact their LHIN Relationship Manager for further information.
Considerations regarding food banks and food programs providers.
- 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.
- Remind staff, volunteers and visitors to wear a non-medical mask or face covering when inside the building or when physical distancing is hard to maintain.
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.
Expressions of faith are especially important in times of stress. Leaders of places of worship are strongly recommended to consider conducting religious services, rites and ceremonies virtually as much as possible.
Step 3 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen permits indoor and outdoor religious services, rites and ceremonies (including weddings and funerals) with the capacity limited to the number of attendees that can maintain 2 metres of physical distancing.
Learn more about what is permitted in Step 3 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen.
Additional safety measures
All attendees must wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces and where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Attendees should be asked to practice good hand hygiene and remain at home 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.