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Schools, child care centres and community spaces

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

Other information

The Ontario government has extended its emergency order. As a result, all publicly-funded and private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs remain closed. The closure may be further extended if necessary, to protect the health and safety of students, families and staff.

If you need financial support for licensed home child care, you might be eligible to apply for a child care fee subsidy.

Closure of before and after school programs

Yes. Effectively immediately, the Government of Ontario has ordered the closure of all before and after school programs as well as indoor recreation programs.

Students who have travelled outside of Canada

Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate. This means they must stay at home and monitor for symptoms (even if mild) for 14 days and avoid contact with other people. If you develop symptoms, you can come out of isolation 14 days after your symptoms began, if you are feeling better, and don't have a fever (temperature of 38 C or less).

Learning at home

English and French-language materials will continue to be added to the Province's Learn at Home website on a regular basis to provide educational content throughout this period.

The Ontario government has extended its emergency declaration, and ordered the closure of all licensed child care centres, with the exception of emergency child care.

Licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs remain closed.

Closure of child care centres and before and after school programs

The Government of Ontario has ordered licensed child care programs, including before and after school care and indoor recreation programs, to close.

Exemptions exist for emergency child care services to support essential workers, if the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people, and home child care services of less than 6 children.

Licensed home child care agencies

The agencies can choose to remain open or closed at this time.

Child care fees

On April 10, 2020, the Ontario government introduced a new order that immediately prohibits all child care providers from charging fees to parents where care is not provided. The order also states that parents will not lose their child care space or be otherwise penalized as a result of fees not being paid during the closure period.

Emergency child care support during COVID-19

In collaboration with the Ontario government, the Region of Peel is partnering with licensed child care providers to deliver this free emergency child care.

Emergency child care centres are now operating across Peel. Some of these centres will offer child care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to eligible parents with children age 12 and under.

To learn more about eligibility and how to apply, visit child care for essential workers.

See the Ontario Ministry of Health’s guidance documents for Emergency Child Care Services.

Cleaning child care centres

Follow existing cleaning and disinfection procedures for cleaning toys, equipment and surfaces. This applies to child care centres that have been permitted to open to provide care for children of essential workers, and home child care services of less than 6 children.

Coronaviruses, including COVID-19, are spread primarily through contact and droplet transmission. Routine cleaning and sanitation with detergents can reduce the presence of respiratory droplets on surfaces and objects to help prevent the virus from spreading.

The following should be considered to limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Implement daily actively screening.
  • Implement regular cleaning, including more frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces and objects (e.g., toys) with any disinfectant with a Health Canada DIN number. See Public Health Ontario’s guidance on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings for more information.
  • Implement alternative ways to entertain children while reducing interactions. This also includes reducing group activities and removing sensory play areas (e.g., sand boxes).

Preparing for outbreaks

Peel Public Health works with long term care and retirement homes across Peel to ensure the requirements set out in federal and provincial guidelines are implemented consistently.

Peel Public Health supports the homes in keeping your loved ones safe and works with them to ensure that proper infection and outbreak control measures are in place.

Outbreak reporting

Reports for health care institutions in Peel including long term care homes are available online. View Peel Public Health's outbreak report.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19

By following these infection control practices we can limit the spread of COVID-19 in long term care and retirement homes.

Enhanced cleaning: Increase cleaning of high touch surfaces such as handrails, trolleys, light switches, and elevator buttons. This will reduce the risk of transmission from contaminated objects to humans.

Symptom monitoring and testing: Staff and residents closely monitor and check for symptoms twice a day. This is to ensure any testing and infection control measures can be implemented rapidly.

Isolation of cases: All COVID-19 cases will be separated from well residents to minimize the risk of infecting others.

Physical distancing: All group activities are put on hold to decrease the risk of transmission between person to person.

Personal protective equipment: Staff will be using personal protective equipment (such as gloves, mask, goggles/face shield and gowns) to enhance resident and staff safety while working and providing care.

Limiting to work at 1 location: Staff are to work in only one facility. Staff are not to move between facilities when there is a facility in outbreak.  

No visitor policy: No visitors are allowed, except for essential visitors – those that are visiting very ill or palliative residents, or essential external health providers.

If residents test positive

If your loved one tests positive, their health care team will assess them and determine if they are well enough to stay in the home. If well, they will be placed in isolation to prevent further spread to others. However, in some instances, people require additional medical care and are transported to the hospital for their own well-being.

Communicating with loved ones

Family and friends are encouraged to keep in touch with their loved ones through video-call or phone. Call the home to make arrangements.

Maintaining staff levels

If a member of your loved one's care team tests positive for COVID-19 the home will ensure the care is not compromised. There are government programs and staff redeployment plans in place should there be any shortage due to staff illness.

Access to personal protective equipment

The Canadian and Ontario governments are actively acquiring personal protective equipment to ensure health care workers have access to them. New guidance documents are created to help direct the proper use and conservation of personal protective equipment.

If you have questions

Contact the home's administrator with any questions you may have that are specific to their long term care or retirement home.

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 especially in common areas like lobbies and elevators.
  • Stay a safe distance of 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people.
  • Avoid handshaking.
  • Postpone in-person programs and meetings and choosing virtual meetings where possible.
  • Avoid crowds, and places where people are close together.
  • Cancel group gatherings and close shared amenities (for example game rooms, gyms, and pools).
  • Make hand sanitizer available in the entrance or at the elevator. Ensure the hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • 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 (PDF) – 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).


  • 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.


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.

The Ontario government extended its emergency order which prohibits organized public events and social gatherings of more than 5 people. Organized public events include communal services within places of worship, and events including weddings, parades, and social gatherings.

Places of worship and faith-based organizations must suspend in-person services with gatherings of more than 5 people, as outlined in the provincial order.

While Ontario has revised the order to allow drive-in religious gatherings under certain conditions, it's not yet safe to do so in Peel. To protect the health of our community, Peel Public Health strongly recommends that drive-in religious gatherings do not occur in Peel. Access our letter to faith-based organizations about such gatherings.

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, organized public events and social gatherings of more than 5 people are currently prohibited, however, funerals are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time.

At this difficult time of loss, for gatherings up to 10 people at a time, the following measures should be considered to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Post signage advising visitors to stay home if sick.
  • Provide hand washing and hand sanitizer stations.
  • Remind visitors to cough and sneeze into their sleeve.
  • Increase frequency of cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces like light switches, counter tops, chair arms, railings, doorknobs, handles).
  • Set up chairs in funeral home with a 2 metre distance in between chairs.
  • Consider offering live streaming funeral service, offer online condolence books.
  • Reduce the frequency of funeral services to allow for more time to clean and disinfect between service.
  • Suspend catering services.
  • Stagger visitation times to comply with physical distancing.

Personal protection considerations

  • Advise staff to stay home when sick. Plan for staff absences.
  • Assess risks before performing procedures and wear appropriate PPE – such as embalming requires routine precautions and additional droplet and contact precaution (eye protection, mask, full body gown, and gloves).
  • Advise staff and visitors to practice good hand hygiene.
  • Continue to ensure work surfaces are cleaned and disinfected.

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.

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.