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This page includes the latest information and guidance from Halton Region Public Health, the province and federal governments on how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you, or someone you know tested positive for COVID-19:

  • you are required to self-isolate immediately; and
  • read and carefully follow instructions listed in the “Positive test results” section

If you have had a high-risk exposure (“close contact”) with someone who has tested positive, you should self-isolate immediately and get tested. See COVID-19 Core information (Testing and Results, Have been exposed to COVID-19) to determine your level of risk.

COVID-19 Core Information

Please read important information below on how you can protect yourself, protect others and stop the spread of COVID-19. Visit Public Health Ontario for translated resources available in multiple languages (external link).

Do I need a test?

The Province sets the criteria for testing. Please refer to the Ontario website for the latest testing criteria (external link) and review carefully.

Select pharmacies in Halton region (external link) are now offering COVID-19 testing to individuals without symptoms who meet the province’s testing criteria (external link). Some pharmacies offer rapid testing for international outbound travel. Fees may apply. For a listing of pharmacies offering testing, please refer to COVID-19 testing locations (external link) for more information.

Please note that testing is strongly recommended for people who are symptomatic (showing symptoms of COVID-19) or have had symptoms in the past 10 days.

Asymptomatic testing or testing for low-risk exposures is not recommended at this time. Please refer to the provincial testing criteria (external link) for more information.

How do I get a test?

Local hospitals are responsible for administering COVID-19 assessment and testing for those individuals who meet the province’s eligibility criteria (external link).

To maintain physical distancing and avoid crowding, testing is by appointment only. There are no “walk-in” testing sites in Halton region.

Assessment Centres

I am a resident of Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills: 

I am a resident of Burlington: 

I would still like a test. How can I get assessed to determine if I should be tested?

Other options for assessment:

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, please go to your nearest Emergency Department or call 911.

If you have any questions, please email accesshalton@halton.ca or call 311.

COVID-19 is spread through an exposure with an infected person. A person with COVID-19 is considered to be infectious 48-hours before their symptoms begin (or 48 hours before they were tested if they do not have symptoms).

If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 while they were infectious, you are known as a “contact” and are at risk of becoming infected and spreading the virus to others. Depending on how or if a contact interacted with someone who tested positive, they may be considered a high-risk exposure.

In general, you are considered a high-risk exposure if you:

  • live with a person with COVID-19;
  • had intimate contact with, or were sneezed or coughed on by a person with COVID-19;
  • physically cared for a person with COVID-19 (for example, helped with bathing, feeding or dressing), or the person cared for you;
  • had face-to-face contact with a person with COVID-19:
    • for at least 15 minutes. These 15 minutes can be all at once or in shorter time periods totaling 15 minutes or more;
    • while less than 2 metres (6 feet) apart;
    • regardless of whether you or the other person wore a mask; and
    • regardless of whether you were indoors or outdoors.

Note: This guidance does not apply to workplace, childcare, school, health care or congregate/institutional living settings, which have additional measures in place including personal protective equipment and plexiglass barriers that may reduce the exposure risk.

If you have had a high-risk exposure:

  • Self-isolate (external PDF) for 14 days from last exposure date.
  • Get tested at least seven days after you were last exposed.
    • If you develop symptoms and have already been tested for COVID-19, get a second test.
    • If you were tested before waiting seven days or later after you were last exposed, get a second test after day 10.
  • If you were exposed by someone you live with, get tested right away.
  • If your COVID-19 result is negative, you must continue to isolate for the full 14 days from date you were last exposed
  • Your household members should also stay home except for essential reasons (work, school/child care, essential groceries/pharmacy, medical appointments) while you are self-isolating.

Brief interactions with a person with COVID-19 (for example, walking by them or briefly being in the same room while maintaining physical distance) are not considered to be an exposure risk.

If you received an exposure notification from the COVID Alert app (external link), please follow the instructions regarding testing and isolation provided in the app.

For schools, please note that Public Health will determine the exposure level for staff and students in a school setting as part of their case investigation.

Check the provincial testing criteria(external link) to determine if you are eligible for COVID-19 testing. Use the chart below to determine when you should be tested:

Scenario When should I be tested?
You completed the provincial COVID-19 self-assessment tool and were instructed to get tested. Immediately
You have a symptom(s) of COVID-19 (external PDF). Immediately
You do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but have been instructed to be tested as part of an outbreak investigation. Immediately
You do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but have had ongoing exposure (for example, someone in your household has tested positive). Immediately
You do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but had a high-risk exposure to someone with COVID-19. Get tested 7 days after the date you were last exposed. If you are tested before the 7 days, you should receive a second test 10 days after you were last exposed. If you live with someone with COVID-19, get tested right away.
You do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but received a notification from the COVID Alert app. Follow the instructions regarding testing and isolation provided in the app.

How to get your test results

  • It may take up to five days to receive test results.
  • If tested at an assessment centre or pharmacy in Halton region, access your test results by:
    • using the provincial online portal (external link) (note: you cannot view test results using the Internet Explorer browser); or
    • contacting your family doctor (if their family doctor's contact was provided when getting tested).
  • If tested at the Joseph Brant Hospital Assessment Centre, you can also access test results through MyChart portal (external link).
  • If tested at Halton Healthcare Assessment Centre and online results are not available after five days, access test results by calling 905-203-7963.
  • Halton Region Public Health only receives positive test results and will follow up accordingly with those individuals.

Self-isolating while waiting for results

  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (for example, fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell and taste, etc.), or have had symptoms in the past 10 days, you are required to self-isolate at home until you receive your results (see Self-Isolation section on this webpage).
  • You are not required to self-isolate while waiting for your test results if you:
    • do not have COVID-19 symptoms (and haven't had symptoms in the past 10 days);
    • has not had a high-risk exposure (that is, not a close contact) of someone with COVID-19; and
    • have not recently travelled outside of Canada (unless you are exempt).

Self-isolate immediately

  • You are required to self-isolate immediately at home for 10 days from when your symptoms began under a class order (PDF file) issued by the Medical Officer of Health under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (see Self-Isolation section on this webpage).
  • If you do not have any symptoms, then you are required to self-isolate for 10 days from the date you were tested.
  • Some people with severe illness who are hospitalized may have to self-isolate for longer. Further instructions will be provided by your health care provider or public health.
  • If your symptoms worsen while self-isolating (for example, you have difficulty breathing) call 9-1-1. Tell them about your COVID-19 diagnosis to ensure you receive appropriate care and the correct precautions are taken.
  • Halton Region Public Health will contact all positive cases directly and requires that you remain reachable for monitoring.
  • If you can’t self-isolate in your home, contact 311 or visit Halton’s COVID-19 Social and Community Supports page for information about food, housing and financial assistance.
  • Burlington residents (aged 18 years or older) who have tested positive for COVID-19 may receive care and monitoring through the Burlington Ontario Health Team’s Community Remote Patient Monitoring Program (external link.

Inform your close contacts

  • Inform your close contacts, including people you live with, that they must self-isolate for at least 14 days from their last exposure to you, even if they test negative for COVID-19.
    • "Close contact" means a person who, within the past 14 days, has had a high-risk exposure to a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case. See COVID-19 Core information (Testing and results, Have been exposed to COVID-19) to determine your contacts level of risk.
    • If requested by Public Health you are required to share the names and contact information of all your recent contacts under a class order (PDF file) issued by the Medical Officer of Health under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
    • Halton Region Public Health makes every effort to protect the personal health information of individuals, the confidentiality of that information, and the privacy of individuals when conducting contact tracing, in accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (external link).
  • Close contacts should get tested at least 7 days after they were last exposed to a person with COVID-19. If they are tested before 7 days, they should be re-tested 10 days after they were last exposed to a person with COVID-19. If they have symptoms, they should be tested as soon as possible.

Re-testing and ending self-isolation

  • Re-testing is not required for you to return to work or other regular activities after self-isolation.
  • You can come out of self-isolation after 10 days if you are feeling well and don’t have a fever (your temperature remains lower than 37.8°C without the use of medication).

Rapid test

  • If you receive a positive result from a rapid test (Rapid Molecular test) you are considered a probable case and must self-isolate immediately.
  • Rapid tests are not as accurate as lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, so those who test positive on a rapid test must get a follow-up test from an assessment centre to confirm the result.

 

  • If a negative test result is received, you can stop self-isolating if you have no fever and symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.
  • If you were identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and/or you have recently travelled outside of Canada (unless you are exempt), you are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the date you were last exposed to the individual with COVID-19 or from the date you returned to Canada (see Self-Isolation section on this webpage).
  • If you develop new or worsening symptoms, you may need to be re-tested.
  • A negative test result does not mean that you can’t get infected with COVID-19 in the future. Continue to follow public health measures to protect yourself and others (see Protect yourself and others tab on this webpage).

There are different types of COVID-19 tests available in Ontario to screen or diagnose for COVID-19.

  • Molecular Testing (Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR test)
    • Molecular testing is used for diagnostic purposes. This is the most sensitive test for diagnosing COVID-19. The test typically involves taking a specimen using a nasopharyngeal swab through the nose. PCR testing is currently available at assessment centres for symptomatic people and people who have had a high-risk exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Test results are usually available within 48 hours.
  • Rapid Molecular Testing (PCR test)
    • Molecular testing is used for diagnostic purposes. The rapid molecular test is very sensitive when done within few days of symptom onset. Test results are available in six hours; however, a positive result is considered a “preliminary positive”. Individuals who test positive on a rapid molecular test should have a non-rapid PCR test performed to confirm the positive result.
    • This type of testing is currently only available in limited settings (for example, hospital setting prior to emergency surgery).
  • Rapid Antigen Testing (Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test)
    • An antigen test is used for point of care testing to detect COVID-19 faster than the regular laboratory-based PCR test. Currently, all rapid antigen screening is being conducted using the Panbio™ test. In the future, additional devices may be used for rapid antigen screening, pending Health Canada approval and availability.
    • The Panbio™ Rapid antigen test is mainly performed on asymptomatic individuals for screening purposes. Testing should be performed at least 2-3 times weekly for each individual participating in screening to detect those with an infectious virus before they have the opportunity to transmit to others. It is important to maintain other environmental controls even in those that have a negative test as these tests may fail to detect low amounts of virus.
    • A positive antigen result must be confirmed by a non-rapid PCR test. Rapid antigen testing is not recommended for those with symptoms, or for those who have had a risk of exposure to a known case, and those individuals should seek non-rapid PCR testing from an Assessment Centre.
  • Serology Testing
    • Serologic testing detects antibodies that are produced in response to a viral infection of COVID-19. On May 12, 2020, Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 serological test for use in Canada. Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (external link) is leading the collection of samples to be tested. Local Public Health Units currently do not have access to this test.
    • At this time, serologic testing is only available in Ontario for limited clinical purposes. Serologic testing is not to be used for screening and diagnosis of acute COVID-19 infection, or used to determine a person’s immune status.

Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open

The Province’s revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework (external link) has five levels. Halton Region is currently in the Red/Control level of the Framework. Select any of the five levels below to learn what indicators Ontario uses to move a public health unit region to another level.

It is strongly recommended that residents in the Red/Control level limit trips outside of their home, including travel outside of Halton region:

  • Stay home, except for essential purposes such as going to work or school, buying essentials such as groceries, and attending medical appointments.
  • Maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from those outside their household. Those that live alone may join one designated household.
  • Avoid all indoor and outdoor social gatherings such as play dates, birthday parties, and dinner parties with friends or family.

Current Level


CONTROL

For details about this Level, please refer to the revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework (external link).

Note:

  • Indicators will generally be assessed based on the previous two weeks of information. However, movement to apply measures will be considered sooner than two weeks if there is a rapidly worsening trend.
  • Local context and conditions will inform movement, including potential regional application of measures.
  • Thresholds within a region may not all be met at the same time; decisions about moving to new measures will require overall risk assessment by government.

FAQs for Red-Control Level of Provincial Framework

Grocery and pharmacy: open with capacity limits of 75 per cent. Businesses must ensure physical distancing, screening and follow Public Health direction.

Retail: open with capacity limits of 50 per cent. Businesses must ensure physical distancing, screening and follow Public Health direction.
Indoor malls must conduct screening in accordance with instructions from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (external PDF). Stores within the malls are subject to appropriate retail measures. A safety plan is required.

Religious services, including wedding and funeral ceremonies: 30 per cent capacity indoors and 100 people outdoors. Guests must wear a mask or face covering and physical distancing must be maintained.

Sports and recreational fitness facilities: Open with restrictions.

  • Maintain physical distancing at all times.
  • Active screening is required in accordance with the instructions from the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (external PDF).
  • Masks/face coverings are required except when exercising.
  • No spectators permitted, however each person under 18 may be accompanied by one parent or guardian.
  • Patrons may only be in the facility for 90 minutes except if engaging in a sport.
  • Team sports must not be practiced or played except for training (no games or scrimmages).
  • Coaches and trainers (that are not employed by the facility) along with patrons, athletes and parents/guardians, etc. will all fall under “members of public.”
  • Outdoor recreation is permitted including tobogganing, skiing, parks and skating with proper physical distancing.

Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities (within community centres and multi-purpose facilities): Open with capacity limits where physical distancing can be maintained.

  • 10 members of public limit in indoor areas with weights and exercise machines in each room that is physically separated from other rooms in the facility;
  • 10 members of public limit in indoor classes or organized programs/activities in each room that is physically separated from other rooms in the facility; or
  • 25 members of public limit in all outdoor classes at the facility.

Indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities (including gymnasiums, health clubs, arenas, exercise studios, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities, but excluding community centres and multi-purpose facilities): Open with capacity limits where physical distancing can be maintained:

  • 10 members of public limit in all indoor classes or organized programs/activities at the facility;
  • 10 members of public limit in all areas containing weights or exercise machines;
  • 20 members of public limit for an entire facility that provides indoor classes or organized programs/activities and also has one or more areas containing weights or exercise machines; or
  • 25 members of public in all outdoor classes at the facility.

Restaurants and bars: open with capacity limits of 10 person permitted for indoor dining. Maximum of 4 persons seated together, physical distancing and screening are required. Outdoor dining, takeout, delivery and drive-thru are permitted.

Personal care services: open with some restrictions. Services requiring the removal of masks/face coverings are prohibited as well as oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, bath houses and other adult venues. Physical distancing, face coverings and screening are required.

Transportation and construction services: Open with restrictions.

Healthcare and social services: Open with restrictions.

Yes, individuals five years of age and over are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering in indoor public places. Some exemptions apply.

Businesses must monitor compliance with the required capacity limit and ensure that physical distancing of two metres is maintained by patrons and staff at all times and that patrons and staff wear a mask or face covering. In addition, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Meghani, has issued revised instructions to businesses to keep staff and patrons safe and are in effect as of 12:01 a.m. on February 16, 2021. Instructions for shopping malls and retail stores include ensuring capacity limits and physical distancing are maintained and ensuring compliance with mask wearing.

Businesses should also be actively screening every person who works at the business or organization (external link) before they enter the premises, and actively screening patrons entering businesses or public spaces (external link), have their store capacity limits visible and have a visible, accessible safety plan (external link).

  • Stay home, only make essential trips outside of your home (groceries, medicine or medical appointments).
  • Stick to your household.
  • Avoid all indoor or outdoor gatherings.
  • Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes – people who live alone may join one designated household.

The framework does not prohibit grandparents from taking care of their grandchildren. However, older adults and individuals with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 and must choose carefully who they come into close contact with.

Residents should avoid travelling between zones (for example, from Grey-Lockdown to any other zone, Red-Control to Orange-Restrict or Yellow-Protect to Green-Prevent), except for essential reasons such as work or school. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that travel out of the province should be limited to essential purposes only.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that residents avoid all non-essential travel. For more information, please visit Canada.ca (external link).

Yes. Some outdoor recreational amenities are permitted to open, subject to conditions, including public parks, ice rinks, skiing, tobogganing hills, skating trails and more. However, residents are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and to only spend time outdoors with members of the same household (the people you live with).

When outdoors, residents must comply with requirements on physical distancing and face coverings. It is a good idea to bring a mask with you wherever you go just in case.

While residents are being encouraged to stay home whenever possible, you are still allowed to leave your home for exercise. Residents should only exercise with people from their own household and stay close to home.

Yes, indoor/outdoor dining is permitted, however residents are encouraged to dine with members of their household only or use takeout/delivery options.

Yes, but with some restrictions. Services requiring the removal of a face covering are prohibited. Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, bath houses and other adult venues remain closed. Physical distancing, face coverings and screening of patrons is required. Massage is permitted, but a face covering must be worn at all times and patrons must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

The limits for all organized public events and social gatherings are:

  • 5 people indoors; and
  • 25 people outdoors.

Although the framework allows for small gatherings, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health continues to urge all residents to avoid gathering with anyone outside of their household.

Public Health and Workplace Safety Measures

This section provides additional information on sector-specific measures identified in the COVID-19 Response Framework (external link) and reflects Halton Region’s current shutdown. You will also find additional guidance from Halton Region Public Health, the Ontario Government and other health and safety organizations.

Businesses should contact the Province's Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659 for specific questions about COVID-19 provincial regulations.

Additional Sector-Specific Guidance

Child care for infants to four years of age will remain open for the duration of the province-wide shutdown. This includes child care offered in licensed centres, in home-based settings (licensed and unlicensed) and by authorized recreation and skill-building providers.

The following guidance is intended for child care operators and staff, including home care providers.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

Resources

The following guidance documents are intended for employers of farm workers to help control the spread of COVID-19 on farms.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

To access personal protective equipment, please visit:

The following guidance documents are intended to support operators of group homes and other congregate settings.

Visit the Province’s website to learn about the COVID-19 Response Framework (external link) and proposed measures in this category.

Establishments/operators are required to follow O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 (external link) while in the Prevent (Green), Protect (Yellow) and Restrict (Orange) levels. For the Control (Red) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2 (external link) and for the Lockdown (Grey) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 82/20 (external link).

Halton Region Public Health will not be reviewing reopening plans or providing exemptions.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

If you are a long-term care or retirement home administrator or employee looking for information about COVID-19 infection prevention and control, please visit Halton’s Long-term Care and Retirement Homes - Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) page. 

Visit the Province’s website to learn about the COVID-19 Response Framework (external link) and proposed measures in this category.

Establishments/operators are required to follow O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 (external link) while in the Prevent (Green), Protect (Yellow) and Restrict (Orange) levels. For the Control (Red) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2 (external link) and for the Lockdown (Grey) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 82/20 (external link).

Halton Region Public Health will not be reviewing reopening plans or providing exemptions.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

All Ontarians are advised to only have close contact with people living in their own household, and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. While limits on private, unmonitored social gatherings continue to be no more than 5 people permitted indoors and 25 people outdoors, at this time, Halton residents should avoid events and social gatherings with those from outside their immediate household.

The following guidance document is intended to support owners and operators of multi-unit housing (for example, apartments and condominiums) to ensure public safety and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

The following guidance is intended for operators of outdoor recreational spaces to ensure public safety as these spaces reopen. Outdoor recreational spaces include any area that is accessible to the public including: parks, trails, beaches and playgrounds.

Outdoor gatherings must not exceed more than 5 people. When spending time outdoors, it is important to practice physical distancing by maintaining a 2-metre (6 foot) distance from others outside of your household. When physical distancing is not possible, wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

Visit the Province’s website to learn about the COVID-19 Response Framework (external link) and proposed measures in this category.

Establishments/operators are required to follow O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 (external link) while in the Prevent (Green), Protect (Yellow) and Restrict (Orange) levels. For the Control (Red) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2 (external link) and for the Lockdown (Grey) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 82/20 (external link).

Halton Region Public Health will not be reviewing reopening plans or providing exemptions.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

The following guidance is intended for public transit agencies and passengers to help control the spread of COVID-19 on public transit.

Visit the Province’s website to learn about the COVID-19 Response Framework (external link) and proposed measures in this category.

Establishments/operators are required to follow O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 (external link) while in the Prevent (Green), Protect (Yellow) and Restrict (Orange) levels. For the Control (Red) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2 (external link) and for the Lockdown (Grey) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 82/20 (external link).

Halton Region Public Health will not be reviewing reopening plans or providing exemptions.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional guidance

Resources

Posters

Calls to the COVID-19 hotline related to food premises are directed to Public Health for response. An educational approach is taken with these complaints to assist operators in achieving compliance to protect customers. If Public Health notes repeat issues and observes continued non-compliance, a progressive enforcement approach would be employed (potentially including warnings, tickets and summons, if necessary).

Visit the Province’s website to learn about the COVID-19 Response Framework (external link) and measures in this category.

Establishments/operators are required to follow O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3 (external link) while in the Prevent (Green), Protect (Yellow) and Restrict (Orange) levels. For the Control (Red) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 263/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 2 (external link) and for the Lockdown (Grey) level, requirements are detailed in O. Reg. 82/20 (external link).

Halton Region Public Health will not be reviewing reopening plans or providing exemptions for sport organizations. Refer to the following public health guidance to keep coaches and athletes safe. Additional guidelines and recommendations for reopening may be provided by the sport organizational body.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

The following guidance document is intended for taxi and ride share companies, drivers, and passengers to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

Resources to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace

Mandatory Mask By-Law

Effective July 22, 2020, wearing a non-medical mask or face covering is mandatory in certain enclosed indoor public places in Halton region. Some individuals are exempt. Please be kind and support each other. The by-law is in effect until May 31, 2021, unless extended by Regional Council.

On September 16, 2020, Halton Regional Council approved amendments to Consolidated By-law 47-20. The amended by-law takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on September 23, 2020. The updated by-law is provided below. Details of the amendments are outlined in Halton Region’s September 22 media release (note: The By-law, with these amendments, was extended to May 31, 2021 by Regional Council on October 21, 2020 (external link)).

Learn more:

Mask by-law frequently asked questions

The following information is also available for download as a PDF for the Residents (PDF file) and Business Owners and Operators (PDF file)

On July 15, 2020, Halton Regional Council passed By-law 47-20, making it mandatory to wear a non-medical mask or face covering in certain enclosed public places. On September 16, 2020, Halton Regional Council approved amendments to the by-law. The amended by-law takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on September 23, 2020 and is in effect until May 31, 2021. Details of the amendments are outlined in Halton Region's September 22 media release. Some individuals may be exempt from the by-law.

Individuals five years of age and over are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering in certain enclosed (indoor) public places in Halton Region, unless exemptions apply.

The by-law applies to certain indoor public places, including, but not limited to:

  • premises (or any part of premises) used as places of business for the sale of goods or services;
  • churches, mosques, synagogues, temples or other places of worship;
  • community centres including indoor recreational facilities;
  • libraries, art galleries, museums, aquariums, zoos and other similar facilities;
  • community service agencies providing services to the public, including municipal administrative buildings;
  • banquet halls, convention centres, arenas, stadiums and other event spaces;
  • premises utilized as an open house, presentation centre, or other facility for real estate purposes;
  • common areas of hotels, motels and other short-term rentals, such as lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms or other common use facilities;
  • concert venues, theatres, cinemas, casinos and other entertainment facilities; 
  • public transportation and private transportation services (such as taxis, private limousine services, Uber, Lyft and other similar ride programs); and
  • enclosed common areas of an apartment or condominium building, including the lobby elevator, laundry room and mailrooms.
The City of Burlington and Halton Region’s by-laws are also the same. When in Burlington, follow the Burlington By-law. 

Wearing of masks or face coverings is not required in these premises:

  • schools and post-secondary institutions
  • child care facilities
  • indoor/outdoor day care and day camps
  • correctional centres and jails
  • hospitals, independent health facilities and offices of regulated health professionals
  • court facilities and professional offices where clients receive purchased services (such as lawyer or accountant office) that are not open to members of the public except by appointment
  • staff-only areas within a public place
  • indoor areas of a building accessible to only employees

Note: These premises may have their own requirements for masks or face coverings. Contact before visiting.

Consolidated By-law No. 47-20 does not require individuals to wear a mask outdoors. However, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health encourages all individuals to wear a non-medical mask or face covering in situations where physical distancing is a challenge, including crowded outdoor spaces.

Some individuals are exempt from the by-law and not all exemptions are visible. Please be kind and supportive to those who may be exempt from wearing a mask. No person shall be discriminated against for not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering due to an exemption.

The following individuals are exempt from the by-law, and are not required to provide proof of their exemption:

  • persons under the age of five (5) years old;
  • persons who have an underlying medical condition where wearing a Mask or Face Covering would inhibit the person’s ability to breathe in any way;
  • persons who may experience a negative impact to their emotional well-being or mental health;
  • persons who have a developmental disability which inhibits their ability to wear a Non-Medical Mask or Face Covering;
  • persons who have a disability whereby the wearing of a NonMedical Mask or Face Covering would limit their ability to reasonably communicate with others or otherwise present a hardship for a person or persons assisting the individual;
  • persons unable to place or remove a Non-Medical Mask or Face Covering without assistance;
  • persons temporarily removing their Non-Medical Mask / Face Covering when necessary for receiving services (such as having a meal), or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity; and
  • employees and agents of the person responsible for the Public Place within an area designated for them and not for public access, or within or behind a physical barrier; in both instances where a physical distance of at least 2 metres can be maintained at all times between the patron(s) and the employee(s).

The primary goal is educate people about the importance of wearing of non-medical masks or face coverings in indoor public places. Halton Region Public Health, local by-law enforcement or Halton Regional Police Service may respond to reports of significant or on-going non-compliance. This may include enforcement measures such as set fines.

Halton residents and businesses are asked to do their part to protect the health of the community, and comply with the by-law.

If you have concerns about someone not wearing a mask or face covering, please keep in mind that there are a number of exemptions to the by-law and there is no requirement for people to prove they are exempt. Residents and business owners should take people at their word, and be kind and respectful. For additional questions about the by-law, please email accesshalton@halton.ca or call 311.

To report an incidence of significant or ongoing noncompliance, contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722. Staff will follow up within one business day.

  • If a customer has been refused entry, they should seek their own legal advice.
  • It should be noted that no person shall be discriminated against for not wearing a non-medical mask/face covering.

For more information about the by-law, please email accesshalton@halton.ca or call 311.

 

Additional information

Halton Region Public Health is working to protect the safety and health of all Halton residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest evidence from local data suggests that physical distancing and other public health measures are helping to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region. Learn how Public Health is protecting residents and what you can do to stay safe.

Local hospitals are responsible for COVID-19 testing. Please contact your local hospital testing and assessment centre to arrange a test if required.

Public Health:

  • educates the public (individuals, organizations, businesses) regarding steps they can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19;
  • provides infection prevention and control recommendations and guidelines to support local organizations and businesses throughout the stages of reopening;
  • assesses the risk among residents with symptoms and determines what further care is required;
  • coordinates testing (when required) at an appropriate location;
  • ensures those who are showing symptoms understand how to reduce the risk of transmission to others; and
  • provides guidance to cases and their contacts, such as self-isolation protocols and monitoring for symptoms to minimize the risk of spread.

Physical activity and getting fresh air are important for our overall physical and mental wellness. For most residents, it is safe to go outside for a walk, run or bike ride, or play in the park; others may need to stay on their private property for their own safety and the safety of the community.

Follow the instructions below:

Your situation Can I go outside in my private property (backyard, balcony or porch)? Can I go for a walk, run or bike ride off my private property?
I have tested positive for COVID-19 Yes No
I have symptoms of COVID-19 (even if mild) Yes No
I have returned from travel outside Canada in the past 14 days (unless you are exempt) Yes No
I am a close contact of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 Yes No
I am over 70 years of age Yes Yes, however, please be aware that you are at increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19
I am immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions Yes Yes, however, please be aware that you are at increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19
All other Halton residents (except those listed above) Yes Yes, but only if you stay 2 metres (6 feet) from those outside your household and have no symptoms of COVID-19

Other steps you can take to reduce your risk while being active outside:

  • Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) distance from others. You may need to change your route or the time of day that you go out in order to keep this distance.
  • Step aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks.
  • Do not enter spaces that are barricaded or have signage indicating the area is closed.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.

Remember to wash your hands when you return home.

  • To report an incident of non-compliance with the provincial emergency orders in Halton, please call the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 hotline at 905-825-4722.
  • The hotline will accept non-compliance reports for the following:
  • A police officer or by-law officer will follow up to address the situation and describe the importance of the emergency measures. If necessary, the officer will issue a ticket or summons.
  • Halton residents can also report non-compliance with public health recommendations involving food premises and/or personal service settings by calling the Halton Regional Police Services COVID-19 Enforcement Hotline. All complaints will be forwarded to Halton Region Public Health for follow-up by a Public Health Inspector within one business day. After-hours calls will be returned the next regular business day.
  • Health care settings have specific guidelines, which are established by the Ontario Ministry of Health Regulated Health Professionals Act (external link) and are enforced by the Regulatory Colleges. Halton Region will work with health care settings and regulatory colleges as deemed necessary to ensure that organizations are following Public Health direction. For more information please visit health.gov.on.ca (external link)
  • Please call 911 for emergencies only. To report non-compliance with Regional by-laws or to contact Halton Region Public Health, please call 311.

As the spread of COVID-19 continues in Halton region, it’s recommended that you only have close contact with your immediate household. Avoid attending or organizing social gatherings with those from outside your immediate household.

If you interact with others from outside your household for social reasons, stay safe by:

  • only gathering with members of your household (individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household);
  • keeping a physical distance of two metres (six feet) when in public;
  • wearing a non-medical mask or face covering; and
  • staying home if ill.

For more tips on gathering safely, read the following documents.

To prevent COVID-19 from spreading, Canada has put the following travel measures in place:

  • advising all Canadians to postpone or cancel all non-essential travel;
  • restricting all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border;
  • banning entry of most foreign nationals entering Canada by air;
  • preventing symptomatic passengers from boarding a plane to Canada; 
  • redirection of the vast majority of international passenger flights to four airports (external link);
  • encouraging staff and passengers travelling by air, bus/motor carrier, rail, marine or air to wear a non-medical mask or face covering as much as possible, especially when physical distancing is not possible; 
  • requiring passengers to demonstrate they have the necessary face covering or non-medical mask before they are permitted to board an aircraft; and
  • requiring anyone entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, under the Quarantine Act (external link), except those who are exempt (for example, cross-border workers).

Non-essential travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

Background
 
  • On June 19, 2020, the Ontario government released its safety plan and approach to reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year.
  • On July 30, 2020, the Ontario government announced that elementary students will return to school full-time in September 2020, remaining in a single cohort, including during recess and lunch. Class sizes will remain at the mandated maximum levels in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Secondary students in designated boards will open using an adapted model, with class cohorts of approximately 15 students attending on alternate days or schedules, and with in-person attendance accounting for at least half of instructional days. Remote learning will continue to be available to all students. For more information, refer to the Guide to reopening Ontario’s Schools (external link).
  • Halton Region Public Health will provide support to schools in implementing appropriate infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures and with developing protocols for managing any probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases in students or staff.
  • Please check our immunization page regularly for updates about school-based immunization clinics. 

Halton Region continues to offer prenatal and breastfeeding education programs for expecting parents and families with newborns.

To support residents, the Halton Region Health Department is enhancing our free online courses. For more information, visit Halton Region’s webpages on Prenatal classes and supports and Breastfeeding.

  • Latest testing guidance (exernal PDF) released from the Provincial Government recommends testing the following populations:
    • all Ontario residents presenting with at least one symptom or sign of COVID-19;
    • those who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 (as informed by Halton Region Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app);
    • are a resident or employee at a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak (as identified by Halton Region Public Health); and
    • those who are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
  • Low risk, asymptomatic individuals should not be considered for testing. For more information, refer to the COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance on the Ministry of Health Website (external PDF)
  • Please report all individuals who are tested to Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.
  • It is now mandatory for all travellers returning to Canada to self-isolate for 14-days from return. If symptoms develop, they are to remain in self-isolation for 14 days from when symptoms began. 
  • Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health is also advising individuals and families who arrive or return to Ontario during the province-wide shutdown period (effective December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.) to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
  • Several categories of people are exempt from mandatory 14-day self-isolation provided they have no symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Returning travelers who are considered “essential workers” at their place of employment may be able to return to work earlier and should consult their employer’s policy for further direction regarding returning to work. They should continue to follow self-isolation guidelines outside of work.
  • Travellers age 5 and up arriving to Canada by plane are now required to provide proof of a negative test result (from a PCR test) within 72 hours of their departure flight.
  • Beginning February 1, 2021 the Government of Ontario (external link) requires all international travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Ontario.
  • In the coming weeks, travellers will have to stay at an approved hotel (at their own expense) until they receive a negative test result, for up to three days. Any returning travellers that test positive will be required to quarantine in designated government facilities to ensure they are not carrying any COVID variants of concern.
  • Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. They must not go to work, the grocery store or go on walks.

Refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website (external link) for more information on the requirements of travellers returning to Canada

  • If you have access to testing supplies (nasopharyngeal swabs) AND appropriate personal protective equipment for droplet precautions (gown, gloves, surgical mask, eye protection), you can perform COVID-19 testing in your clinic.
  • Anyone with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 can be assessed and tested. (Refer to the Ministry of Health’s Provincial Testing Guidance).
  • Individuals without symptoms who meet any of the provincial testing criteria (external link) may contact select pharmacies (external link) to book an appointment for testing.
  • N95 respirators are NOT required for COVID-19 testing.
  • If you are testing someone in your clinic, you must report this to Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.
  • If you are not able to perform COVID-19 testing at your clinic:
    • Refer patients who live in Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills to call 905-203-7963 to book an appointment at a Halton Healthcare Assessment Centre.
    • Refer patients who live in Burlington to call 905-632-3737, extension 6550, or visit covidtesting.josephbranthospital.ca to book an appointment at the Joseph Brant Hospital COVID-19 Assessment Clinic or drive-thru clinic. The drive-thru clinic is dedicated to testing individuals without symptoms, while the Assessment Centre is dedicated to testing individuals who are experiencing symptoms.
    • Refer patients without symptoms to call select pharmacies (external link) to book an appointment for testing.
Patients without OHIP coverage are still eligible to access COVID-19 services.
  • Updated guidance (PDF file) from the Ontario Ministry of Health outlines that health care providers are encouraged to continue to implement a system for virtual and/or telephone consultations when and where possible.
  • Refer to the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ COVID-19: Tips for Family Doctors for information on providing virtual visits.
  • The Province has implemented provincial rate and billing code changes to allow for virtual care for patients, including physician services (PDF file), nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work and dietetics.
  • Please see the memo and guidance document attached to the March 20, 2020 Physician Update.

For the most recent physician communications from the Halton Region Medical Officer of Health on COVID-19 and links to physician directives and guidance documents, please visit our Information for Physicians page.

All Halton residents should consider COVID-19 to be widely circulating in the community.

Stay home and only go out for essential purposes such as:

  • going to work (work from home, where possible);
  • going to school;
  • getting groceries or essential items;
  • attending medical appointments;
  • assisting vulnerable individuals; and
  • exercise or physical activity.

Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their home. People who live alone can gather with one other household. Everyone should avoid social gatherings.

Individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid travel to lower transmission areas (for example, from red to orange, from yellow to green), except for essential reasons.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Trips outside of the home should only be for essential reasons.

Individuals and families who are thinking of travelling to another province should:

  • consider the risk associated with travelling – this includes COVID-19 transmission in other provinces and entry restrictions and exemptions (external link) of other provinces or territories.
  • review and consider domestic travel requirements (external link).
  • self-isolate, or drastically reduce close contact with others 10 to 14 days before travelling and after returning home, to help lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
    • Please note: individuals and families who arrive or return to Ontario during the province-wide shutdown period (effective December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.) to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
  • consider public health advice, and follow any rules and regulations of other provinces.

Do not travel if you are not feeling well.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point during your travel, use the self-assessment tool (external link) to determine what to do next. The screening tool will help determine if you need to seek care or testing, based on your symptoms.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents are advised to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Federal government, in co-operation with major airlines, has suspended all air service to Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting January 31, 2021 until April 30, 2021.

If you're still considering travel outside of Canada, you should:

As of December 11, 2020, individuals requesting a COVID-19 test for international travel clearance are no longer eligible for a publicly funded COVID-19 test in Ontario (external link). Some pharmacies offer rapid testing for international outbound travel. Fees may apply.

Travellers returning to Canada:

As of February 1, 2021, all international passenger flights will land only at Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal airports. All international travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport will require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the airport upon arrival in Canada, in addition to their required pre-boarding test. As of February 22, 2021, all travellers arriving to Canada by air, will be required to take a molecular test upon arrival. Travellers will have to stay at an approved hotel (at their own expense) until they receive a negative test result, for up to three days. Any returning travellers that test positive will be required to quarantine in designated government facilities to ensure they are not carrying any COVID-19 variants of concern. To learn more, read the Government of Canada’s February 12 news release (external link).

Effective January 7, 2021, air travellers 5 years of age or older will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. For further details, refer to Transport Canada’s December 31, 2020 News release.

Requirements include:

  • The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test;
  • The test must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada;

Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. They must not go to work, the grocery store or go on walks. Exemptions may apply for certain groups (external link), such as health care workers.

All travellers entering Canada (by any mode of transportation) must follow the rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act (external link).

Beginning February 21, 2021 all travellers must submit their travel and quarantine plans to ArriveCAN (external link) prior to arriving in Canada. Travellers must check in to ArriveCAN daily during the mandatory 14 day quarantine. Read the travel restrictions for more information on what must be included in your quarantine plan (external link).

Border restrictions:

There are currently border restrictions for individuals entering Canada who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Travellers entering Canada may seek approval from the Government of Canada for an exemption from border restrictions and a limited release from mandatory quarantine for compassionate reasons. Before your trip to Canada, you must receive advance approval for both the exemption to the border restrictions and a limited release from quarantine.

For information and the form to apply, please visit Compassionate entry for travellers and limited release from quarantine (external link) on the Government of Canada’s website. Please note that local public health units have no role in this process.

For more information on border restrictions and requirements for returning travelers, please visit the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice webpage (external link).

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