Protecting yourself and others
Your actions matter to stop the spread of COVID-19
Stay safe and take care of each other
Follow all current public health restrictions and recommendations including wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands, getting tested if you have symptoms and getting vaccinated when its your turn.
If you are leaving your home, keep track of where you go and who you come into contact with. If you do contract COVID, this information will help identify who else might have been exposed. You can also download the COVID Alert app, which notifies you and others in the case that you have been exposed to COVID.
Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if you’ve been exposed.
Community spaces, residential buildings, and other settings
Refer to community spaces, residential buildings, and other settings for guidelines about community and allotment gardens, apartments and other multi-unit residential buildings, group living settings, food banks, and places of worship.
Get the latest information about the Ontario government’s Reopening Ontario Act and related emergency orders.
COVID-19 is a new respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 can spread from an infected person to others through respiratory particles that vary in size, or by touching something that had the virus on it.
These respiratory particles can range from large droplets that fall quickly to the ground, to smaller droplets (known as aerosols) which stay in the air for longer and can spread from person to person. Droplets and aerosols are produced when an infected person breathes, speaks, sings, laughs, sneezes or coughs.
COVID-19 is spread most often and easily at short range, usually less than 2 metres. Extended close contact with an infected person is the most common way that COVID-19 is spread, whether the infected person is showing symptoms or not. Learn how proper mask use, combined with physical distancing and hand hygiene, can help control the spread of COVID-19.
Most people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate illness, while others may have no symptoms at all. Some individuals, especially seniors and those with underlying medical conditions or weakened immune systems, are more likely to develop serious illness.
Find out what to do if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.
When a virus infects someone, it replicates or makes copies of itself, which can cause changes known as “mutations.” A virus with 1 or more new mutations is known as a “variant” of the original virus.
All viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), change over time, and it’s common to expect new variants to appear.
Most mutations have little to no impact, while others can change a virus’ characteristics, such as how it spreads and the severity of disease it causes.
COVID-19 variants of concern
Among the virus that causes COVID-19, there are currently 5 main variants of concern. These include the Alpha (also known as B.1.1.7), Beta (also known as B.1.351), Gamma (also known as P.1), Delta (also known as B.1.617.2) and Omicron (also known as B.1.1.529) variants. Refer to more information from the World Health Organization about the Omicron variant.
These variants are concerning because they may spread more easily and quickly than other variants, and there is evidence to suggest that the Alpha variant leads to more severe outcomes and the Delta variant is more transmissible. There is also some evidence that both the Beta and Gamma variants may increase the risk of being infected again. This means people who have already had COVID-19 could be infected again by these strains more easily.
We’re still learning more about the effectiveness of approved vaccines against the variants of concern.
The same actions we take to prevent COVID-19 will be effective in protecting our community against these variants.
Learn more about COVID-19 variants of concern from Public Health Ontario.
Ontario laboratories perform a test that identifies specific variants within a portion of COVID-19 cases in Ontario. This ensures they can identify new variants, understand how they spread, and share important information and data about the variants.
Public Health Ontario provides daily and weekly summary reports.
We need to continue to be careful with our actions. Consider the risks and make choices that will keep you, your family and your community safe.
In general, it's important to avoid the “3 C’s”: closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
No single intervention on its own is perfect at preventing the spread of COVID-19, but layers of public health measures help provide the best protection.
Key layers of protection include:
- getting vaccinated
- staying home when sick and when exposed
- limiting the number and time spent with contacts outside of your home
- being outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces
- physical distancing even when outdoors and avoiding crowded spaces
- wearing a well-fitting mask
- washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and proper disinfection
Learn more about how to take care of each other and do your part to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. You can also refer to Health Canada for more information on how to safely use masks in community settings.
Avoid activities that put you at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. When attending events (such as festivals or parades), continue to practice key layers of protection. Refer to more information from the Ontario government on how to safely celebrate festive events this holiday season. Learn more about going out safely during COVID-19.
Get the COVID Alert app
Download the free COVID Alert app on your phone to:
- Get a notification if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Ensure that others who you've had close contact with are notified if you test positive for COVID-19, without sharing any personal information.
In Peel and Ontario, it’s mandatory to wear a mask inside all public spaces, including transit, offices and workplaces, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 can spread from an infected person to others through respiratory particles, or by touching something that had the virus on it. When combined with distancing and hand-hygiene, emerging and available evidence indicates that non-medical masks help control COVID-19 at its source.
Wearing masks correctly helps control spread by preventing you from accidentally infecting others by blocking respiratory particles that leave your mouth and nose when you talk, cough, sing or sneeze. This is especially important in situations where it’s difficult to maintain physical distance. Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads.
Any small droplets that are released disperse more quickly outdoors and in well-ventilated indoor spaces. This means that wearing a mask, physical distancing and being outdoors or in well-ventilated indoor spaces all reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Learn more about the actions that you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones, and keep our community safe from COVID-19.
Wear your mask right
Make sure your mask:
- Is well-fitted to your face, fully covering your nose, mouth and chin with no gaps.
- Can be adjusted with ties or ear loops if needed. If a mask is ill-fitting, find a different mask that is better suited for your face shape to ensure there are no gaps.
- Maintains its shape after washing if it is reusable.
- Ideally is made with 3 layers of fabric: 2 layers of tightly woven but breathable fabric such as cotton or linen and a third (middle) layer of a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene. Using a filter adds an extra middle layer of protection against COVID-19 by trapping smaller infectious particles.
You do not need to throw away your 2-layer non-medical masks. If making or buying more masks, consider a 3-layer mask for improved effectiveness.
If you choose to make your own non-medical mask or want to learn how to add a filter to your mask, you can follow these instructions.
Handling your mask:
- Put on and remove your mask safely by washing or sanitizing your hands before and after touching your mask.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it.
- Store your mask in a dry, clean paper bag or container when you’re out and need to take it off. Keep clean masks separate from dirty masks. Do not reuse masks that are damp, dirty or damaged.
- Wash your mask in a washing machine if it’s made of fabric or throw it into the garbage if it’s disposable.
The following is not recommended:
- Scarves, bandanas, neck gaiters or neck warmers. They are not well secured to the head or ears, can easily move or slip out of place, don’t cover the nose, mouth and chin securely without gaps, and are difficult to remove without contaminating yourself.
- Masks with exhalation valves, as they allow infectious respiratory particles to spread outside the mask.
- Masks on anyone who is under the age of 2, has trouble breathing, or is unable to remove the mask without help.
Masks are not a replacement for other public health measures. You must also wash your hands often and practise physical distancing. Remember that some people are not able to wear masks, and to show kindness in these situations.
On April 2, 2021, Health Canada advised Canadians that face masks containing graphene may pose health risks. For more information, see Health Canada’s advisory statement.
Learn more about non-medical masks.
Medical masks are a form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and may be used in certain workplaces as required by the employer.
Check what masks are approved for use as PPE using Health Canada’s list of authorized medical devices.
Mandatory mask bylaws
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 requirements.
Visit your local municipality website for information on the application and enforcement of each of the municipal bylaw. For specific questions, find out where to call based on the municipality.
A face shield is not an effective alternative to wearing a mask as it does not provide full coverage of the mouth, nose and chin and does not contain your respiratory droplets.
If a face shield is used, it should be used together with a mask. A face shield 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.
All travellers entering Canada must follow testing and quarantine requirements to keep everyone safe. Under certain circumstances, you may be exempt from some requirements. Find out more about travel requirements and exemptions from the Canadian government. The information offers details about different personal situations including children and families, students, essential workers, fully vaccinated travellers, unvaccinated travellers and others.
Learn more from the Canadian government about COVID-19 and travel.
Get more information about COVID-19 testing at Toronto Pearson airport along with travel restrictions and visa requirements.
Letter of Instruction for indoor organized sports
On November 12, 2021, Peel Public Health issued an updated Letter of Instruction for indoor organized sports.
This Letter of Instruction requires owners/Operators of a facility of a business or organization located in Peel Region with indoor areas used for organized sports or recreational fitness activities to have a policy that will:
- Ensure that all people age 12 and older who attend an indoor area of a facility for the purpose of actively participating in, coaching, instructing, caregiving, volunteering, or officiating organized sports or recreational fitness activities to provide personal identification and proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or a valid medical exemption each time they enter.
- As of January 1, 2022, in the 12 weeks following their 12th birthday, only require children to provide proof of identification. This will allow a reasonable opportunity for vaccination to be completed.
- Implement, comply with and ensure compliance by all persons at the facility with all applicable legal requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, the Ministry of Health's Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations, the Letter of Instruction, and the local municipal by-laws regarding masking.
These steps are necessary to mitigate the risks associated with organized sports and other group gatherings for recreational fitness activities, particularly those that are held indoors due to close contact, enclosed spaces and removal of masks.
Failure to comply with the Letter of Instruction could carry set fine amounts of $750 for individuals plus victim surcharges and $1,000 for corporations, with more severe monetary penalties or jail time also chargeable.
Questions about this Letter can be directed to Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 (Caledon 905-584-2216) Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Section 22 order issued for Chandni Banquet Halls
On October 6, 2021, Peel Public Health issued a Section 22 order to Chandni Victoria Convention Centre, Chandni Banquet Halls and Chandni Gateway/Convention Centre, under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to help enforce COVID-19 requirements within these businesses.
Section 22 Class Order for workplaces
On October 14, 2021, Peel Public Health issued an updated Class Order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to help enforce COVID-19 requirements within workplaces. For more information, read the COVID-19 Class Order fact sheet.
Under the Order, workplaces must send home anyone who has COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, is awaiting their COVID-19 test results, or is a close contact of someone with COVID-19. These people must self-isolate. Workers who are fully vaccinated or previously positive and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, do not need to self-isolate if they are a close contact unless they are otherwise directed by public health. Learn more about how a close contact is defined.
Workplaces must implement measures outlined through Ontario regulation, the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario, and sector-specific guidance documents such as screening, physical distancing, limiting non-essential visitors etc.
If 2 or more cases of COVID-19 are identified in connection with a workplace premises within a period of 14 days, the workplace must appropriately report the positive cases and gather information about close contacts in the workplace. Learn how to manage and report cases in the workplace.
Workplaces are required to implement any necessary interventions as directed by Peel Public Health during outbreak investigations, including closure. Learn more about workplace closures, including the requirements for employers and workers when a workplace is instructed to close.
Workplaces that fail to comply with the Order may be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 and a corporation may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $25,000, each for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.
Questions about this Order can be directed to Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 (Caledon 905-584-2216) Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Section 22 Class Order for self-isolation
On October 14, 2021, Peel Public Health issued an updated Class Order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to help enforce COVID-19 isolation requirements. For more information, read the COVID-19 Class Order fact sheet.
Under the Class Order residents, or visitors to Peel, must self-isolate if they:
- Are diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting their test results.
- Otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Are a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 or with symptoms of COVID-19, unless they are fully vaccinated or previously positive and do not have symptoms.
Find out who is defined as a close contact.
Individuals who fail to comply with the Order may be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.
The Region of Peel is available to assist residents who need help self-isolating while subject to these measures (e.g., food, water, accommodation, clothing, appropriate medical treatment, and family or religious arrangements). Individuals who need support can contact Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700. You can also learn more about our COVID-19 Voluntary Isolation Housing program.
Questions about this Order can be directed to Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 (Caledon 905-584-2216) Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.