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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.

Have you tested positive for COVID-19?

  1. Self-isolate (external PDF)
  2. If you require medical attention, call your health care provider or telehealth, 1-866-797-0000.
  3. If you require immediate medical attention, call 911.
  4. Review this Instruction Letter for Cases (PDF file) on what to do when you have tested positive for COVID-19.
  5. If you receive a COVID-19 text notification, click on the secure link and complete the form
  6. Tell people you have been in contact with that you have tested positive and share this Instruction Letter for Contacts (PDF file) with them.
  7. Tell your employer, provide them with this workplace letter (PDF file) and ask them to carefully review the instructions for businesses issued by Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health (PDF file).

To download and view this information in another language, select one of the links below:

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

If you have had a high-risk exposure (“close contact”) with someone who has tested positive, you should self-isolate immediately and get tested. If you are fully immunized and have no symptoms, you may not need to isolate. For further instructions, review this Instruction Letter for High-Risk/Close Contacts of COVID-19 (PDF file) or read information in the COVID-19 Core information section of this webpage (Testing and Results, Have been exposed to COVID-19) to determine actions to take.

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 Province’s website for the latest COVID-19 test and testing location information (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)

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: 

Getting to a testing location

  • When travelling to the testing location, travel alone if you can, to avoid possibly exposing others to COVID-19.
  • If you must be a passenger in a vehicle, wear a mask and sit in the back seat with the windows down.
  • Do not use public transportation. If you must take a taxi or ride share, make sure your nose and mouth are always covered, and wear a mask. Take note of the taxi company/rideshare name and driver information (for example, name/operator number) in case there is a need to contact them

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 (even if you have received a COVID-19 vaccine), 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 contact.

In general, you are considered a high-risk contact 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 retested on or after day 10 from the date you were last exposed to someone with COVID-19 if you:
    • were tested on day 0-6 from the date you were last exposed;
    • tested negative; or
    • have no symptom(s) of COVID-19.
  • 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, to get their COVID-19 vaccine) 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 advised to get tested. Right Away
You have a symptom(s) of COVID-19 (external PDF). Right Away
You do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but have been advised to be tested as part of an outbreak investigation. Right Away
You have had ongoing high-risk/close contact to someone with COVID-19 (e.g. you live with them). You may or may not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Right Away

* Get retested on or after day 10 from the date you were last exposed to someone with COVID-19 if:

  1. You were tested on day 0-6 from the date you were last exposed; and
  2. You tested negative; and
  3. You have no symptom(s) of COVID-19.
You have no symptom(s) of COVID-19, but had a single high-risk/close contact 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.

* Get retested on or after day 10 from the date you were last exposed to someone with COVID-19 if:

  1. You were tested on day 0-6 from the date you were last exposed; and
  2. You tested negative; and
  3. You have no symptom(s) of COVID-19.
You do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but received a notification from the COVID Alert app. Follow the instructions about 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.

Virtual Assistant

  • Residents who have recently tested for COVID-19 may get a text message from Halton Region Public Health with a secure link to our new “Virtual Assistant”.
  • The link in the text message is a secure link that is unique to you. The URL will contain covid.ontario.ca, and you will be asked to confirm your identity before completing the form.
  • If you receive these text messages, please complete the form to provide us with the most accurate information possible. This will help us identify contacts in a timely manner.
  • The Virtual Assistant is one more tool to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

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).
  • Extra monitoring is also available through the COVID@Home Halton program. To discuss the program, call your family doctor so that they can determine if a referral to the COVID@Home Halton program is needed. The program has been developed to support family doctors with extra resources to care for patients in the community. If you do not have a family doctor, please call (905) 855-9090 for further direction.

Complete the Virtual Assistant

  • Residents who have recently tested for COVID-19 may get a text message from Halton Region Public Health with a link to our new “Virtual Assistant”.
  • The link in the text message is a secure link that is unique to you. The link URL will contain covid.ontario.ca, and you will be asked to confirm your identity before completing the form.
  • If you receive these text messages, please complete the form within 24 hours of receiving it, to provide us with the most accurate information possible. This will help us identify contacts in a timely manner.
  • The Virtual Assistant is one more tool to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Inform your close contacts

  • Inform your close contacts (PDF file), 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. A fully vaccinated high-risk/close contact with no symptoms may not be required to isolate.
    • "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).
    • Learn more about the HPPA and PHIPA legislation and Halton Region Public Health’s role (PDF file).
    • High-risk/close contacts that have symptoms, or who don’t have symptoms but have had ongoing exposure to someone with COVID-19 (for example, you live with them) should get tested right away and retested on or after day 10 from the date last exposed to the person with COVID-19.
    • High-risk/close contacts who do not have symptoms but had limited exposure to someone with COVID-19 (for example, outside your home) should get tested on or after day 7 from the date last exposed to the person with COVID-19.
  • 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 generally not advised as a person can continue to test positive for COVID-19 for several weeks but not spread the virus to others.
  • 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).
  • 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 Roadmap to Reopen

Halton Region and all of Ontario moved to Step 1 of the Province’s Roadmap to Reopen (external link) on Friday, June 11, 2021. This is a three-step plan to safely and gradually lift public health measures based on ongoing progress of province-wide vaccination rates and improvements of key public health and health care indicators.

Roadmap to reopen - Key highlights:


 Halton Region is currently in Step 1. 

 

Roadmap to reopen Step 1 (external link)

60% adults with one dose

 

Permit with restrictions

Outdoors first with limited, well-managed crowding and permitting restricted retail


  • Larger outdoor gatherings for up to 10 people
  • Outdoor dining for up to 4 people per table
  • Essential retail capacity at 25%
  • Non-essential retail at 15%
  • Outdoor religious services, rites and ceremonies with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
  • Outdoor sports, fitness and personal training up to 10 people
  • Day camps
  • Campsites and campgrounds
  • Overnight camping at Ontario Parks
  • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways
  • Outdoor pools and wading pools
 

Roadmap to reopen Step 2 (external link)

70% adults with one dose
20% fully vaccinated


Permit with restrictions

Open indoors with small numbers and face coverings and expand outdoors


  • Larger outdoor gatherings for up to 25 people
  • Small indoor gatherings for up to 5 people
  • Outdoor dining for up to 6 people per table
  • Essential retail at 50% capacity
  • Non-essential retail capacity at 25%
  • Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times
  • Outdoor meeting and event spaces
  • Outdoor amusement and water parks
  • Outdoor boat tour operators
  • Outdoor county fairs and rural exhibitions
  • Outdoor sports leagues and events
  • Outdoor cinemas, performing arts, live music events and attractions
 

Roadmap to reopen Step 3 (external link)

70-80% adults with one dose
25% fully vaccinated


Permit with restrictions

Expand indoors where face coverings can’t always be worn


  • Larger indoor and outdoor gatherings
  • Indoor dining
  • Essential and non-essential retail open with limited capacity
  • Larger indoor religious services, rites, and ceremony gatherings
  • Indoor meeting and event spaces
  • Indoor sports and recreational facilities
  • Indoor seated events
  • Indoor attractions and cultural amenities
  • Casino and bingo halls
  • Other outdoor activities from Step 2 permitted to operate indoors

FAQs for Province-Wide Roadmap to Reopening

Halton Residents are encouraged to only gather with household members. Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) when gathering with members of another household. Wear a mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

  • Step 1:
    • Maximum 10 people for outdoor gatherings and organized public events
    • Indoor gatherings are not permitted
  • Step 2:
    • Maximum 25 people allowed for outdoor gatherings and organized public events
    • Maximum 5 people allowed for indoor gatherings and organized public events with other restrictions
  • Step 3:
    • Larger indoor and outdoor gatherings and organized public events with size limits

Yes, but with capacity limits.

  • Step 1:
    • Maximum 15% capacity of a particular room permitted indoors
    • Outdoor ceremonies are permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
    • Drive-in services are permitted
  • Step 2:
    • Indoor ceremonies are permitted at 25% capacity of the room
    • Outdoor ceremonies are permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
  • Step 3:
    • Indoor capacity limited, more details to follow
    • Outdoor ceremonies are permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres

Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive, close contact with one other household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.

If you are gathering with others outside of this household you should following all gathering limits, follow physical distancing rules and wear a mask.

Public Health and Workplace Safety Measures

Medical Officer of Health (MOH) instructions for businesses

Halton Region’s MOH has issued the following instructions to businesses to keep residents safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

This section provides additional information on sector-specific measures identified in the Provincial Roadmap to Recovery and general COVID-19 prevention information. 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

Emergency child care

Local child care operators are supporting eligible front line and health care providers with children age four to 12 who may not be able to accommodate their child’s learning/care at home during the period where schools are operating virtually. This targeted emergency child care program is offered at no cost to eligible parents. Learn more about emergency child care.

COVID-19 emergency child care

Halton Region Children’s Services is currently working on a plan with local child care operators to support eligible front line and health care providers with children age four to 12 who may not be able to accommodate their child’s learning/care at home during the period where schools are operating virtually. This targeted emergency child care program will be offered at no cost to eligible parents. Learn more.

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

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Additional Guidance

Resources

Allotment gardens or community gardens are permitted to operate in Step 1 of the Province’s Roadmap to Recovery (external link).

The following guidance is intended for operators of community and allotment gardens to ensure public safety as these spaces reopen.

Halton Region Public Health Guidance

Day camps will be permitted to operate in Step 1 of the Province’s Roadmap to Reopen plan.

Ontario Ministry of Health Guidance

Ontario Workplace Safety Guidelines

Resources

In Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link), indoor organized public events and social gatherings are prohibited. A limit of 10 people is permitted for outdoor social gatherings and organized public events.

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, you are encouraged to wear a non-medical mask.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

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.

In Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link), indoor entertainment including casinos, gaming establishments, cinemas, and preforming arts facilities must remain closed.

Halton Region Public Health’s 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. 

Meeting and event spaces are closed in Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link) with exceptions for social services, government operations, court services, and in-person examinations for select professions (subject to conditions).

Outdoor meeting and event spaces will be permitted to open in Step 2 with 25% capacity and other restrictions.

Indoor meeting spaces will be permitted to open in Step 3 with restrictions.

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

In Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link) outdoor recreation amenities are open.

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.

Halton Region Public Health Guidance

Additional Guidance

At this time, personal care services must remain closed. Personal care services will be permitted to operate in Step 2 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link) with capacity limits and other restrictions.

The following guidance is intended for operators of places of worship and faith communities to ensure public safety.

Halton Region Public Health 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.

In Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link), outdoor dining is permitted with capacity and other restrictions. Indoor dining will be permitted in Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen with capacity and other limitations.

Halton Region Public Health’s Guidance

Resources

In Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link), essential retail is permitted to open at 25% capacity, and non-essential retail is permitted to open at 15% capacity.

Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, has issued continued instructions to retail businesses (PDF file) to keep staff and patrons safe. These instructions continue to be in effect and include further requirements for shopping malls and retail stores to ensure

  • all stores comply with the maximum capacity limit and monitor this limit.
  • all patrons and staff wear a mask.
  • physical distancing of at least two metres is maintained by patrons and store staff within the retail store, in line-ups, common areas, washrooms, hallways, entrances, etc. at all times.

Halton Region Public Health Guidance

In Step 1 of the Roadmap to Reopen (external link), essential retail is permitted to open at 25% capacity, and non-essential retail is permitted to open at 15% capacity.

Halton Region Public Health’s 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 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 December 31, 2021, unless extended by Regional Council.

On September 16, 2020, Halton Regional Council approved amendments to Consolidated By-law 47-20 that took effect 12:01 a.m. on September 23, 2020. On April 21, 2021 Halton Regional Council approved an extension to Consolidated By-law 47-20. The updated by-law is provided below . (refer to the April 21st Regional Council meeting)

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 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 December 31, 2021. Some individuals may be exempt from the by-law.

Individuals five years of age and over are required to wear a non-medical mask 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 non-medical 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. 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 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 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 Non-Medical 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 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, 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.

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.

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. 
  • Child care open for non-school-aged children. This includes child care offered in licensed centres, in home-based settings (licensed and unlicensed) and by authorized recreation and skill-building providers.
  • All child care centres and home child care providers are required to have enhanced health and safety measures in place, including but not limited to:
    • enhanced cleaning
    • mandatory screening of staff and children
    • a plan in place to support operation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • See above for more information on requirements for child care operators
  • On or after September 1, 2020, operators are permitted to begin charging fees or deposits in order to hold a space. Parents must be given 14 days’ notice to accept a placement for their child that will be available on or after September 1, 2020.
  • For information on available child care in Halton, contact the Child Care Directory and Information Line (CCDIL) (external link) at 905-875-0235 or childcaresearch@thrc.ca.

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.

The COVID-19 pandemic may be challenging to parents who are not living together but are co-parenting their children.

For tips on co-parenting during this difficult time, as well as guidance on self-isolation, please refer to our fact sheet Public Health Tips for Parents on Sharing Child Custody and Co-Parenting during the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF file).

  • 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 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 10 days from when symptoms began. 
  • 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.
  • International travellers returning to Canada 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.

You are encouraged to stay home and only go out for essential purposes such as:

  • getting vaccinated
  • 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.

Individuals and families in higher transmission areas should avoid travel to lower transmission areas except for essential reasons.

Ontarians will be able to leave home to travel within the province to a secondary residence for any reason, however, they are not permitted to host members of another household indoors except for a person from another household who lives alone or is a caregiver. For more information, read the June 1 provincial news release (external link).

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.
  • 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.

As of April 22, 2021, at 11:30 p.m., the Government of Canada has suspended flights from India and Pakistan for a period of 30 days. During this period, passengers who travel to Canada from India or Pakistan via an indirect route will need to obtain a pre-departure negative COVID-19 molecular test result from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

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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