Think about the risks
As provinces and territories lift or adjust public health measures, we have to think about the risks associated with different settings and activities.
Minimize your risk by avoiding the 3 Cs:
- closed spaces with poor ventilation
- crowded places with many people nearby
- close faces, such as close-range conversations
Before going out, consider the risks and make informed choices to keep yourself, your family and your communities safe. If a planned activity makes you more likely to be exposed and puts you at higher risk of getting COVID-19, consider avoiding it.
If you're at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19 or if the activity means you can’t avoid the 3 Cs:
- stay home as much as possible
- take all possible measures to reduce your risk
- socialize with only a small and consistent group of people
- call ahead or check online to learn if the store, business or destination offers specific hours for you to visit
- use curbside pick-up or delivery options rather than in-person shopping for prescriptions and groceries
|Ask yourself||Lower risk||Higher risk|
|How much COVID-19 is spreading in your community right now?||Activities are lower risk if COVID-19 isn’t spreading in your community.||Activities are higher risk if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.|
|Will the people at the activity or event be from your small and consistent social circle or will they be strangers?||Risk is lower when you have limited contact with people outside of your household or small and consistent social circle.||Risk is higher when you have more contact with people outside of your household or small and consistent social circle.|
|Are you or somebody in your home or close social circle at risk of more severe disease or outcomes if you or they get COVID-19?||The event or activity has a lower risk if it involves limited or no contact with people who are at risk of more severe disease or outcomes from COVID-19.||The event or activity has a higher risk if those at risk of more severe disease or outcomes will be in attendance. This includes older adults, people of any age with chronic medical conditions, people of any age who are immunocompromised and people living with obesity.|
|Does the event or activity take place in a large, open space or small, enclosed space? Can you follow physical distancing and good hygiene practices?||Risk is lower when you’re in open, well-ventilated spaces where you can practise physical distancing and good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands.||Risk is higher when you’re in smaller, crowded or enclosed spaces, where you may be unable to maintain a physical distance from others and practise good hygiene, such as washing your hands.|
|Is the activity indoors or outdoors?||Risk is lower when the event or activity takes place outdoors.||Risk is higher when the event or activity takes place indoors.|
|Will there be few people or crowds?||Risk is lower when you’re at an event or setting with fewer people.||Risk is higher when you’re at an event or setting with a large number of people.|
|Will the interactions you have with others be short or long?||Risk is lower when you have short interactions with people.||Risk is higher when you spend a long period of time with people.|
|Are you able to follow personal preventive practices?||Risk is lower if you’re able to follow personal preventive practices.||Risk is higher if you’re not able to follow personal preventive practices.|
|Will you need to use public transportation?||Risk is lower if you don’t use public transportation.||Risk is higher if you use public transportation.|
|Will you be in frequent contact with high-touch surfaces?||Risk is lower if you don’t have frequent contact with high-touch surfaces.||Risk is higher if you have frequent contact with high-touch surfaces.|
|Will people at the activity or event be wearing a non-medical mask or face covering?||Risk is lower if people are wearing a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, particularly in crowded public settings.||Risk is higher if you have close, prolonged contact with people who aren’t wearing a non-medical mask or face covering in crowded public settings.|
Personal practices for all public spaces
Follow public health measures and reduce your risks when participating in personal and social activities by following the personal practices below.
- Stay home if you feel sick or have any symptoms, even if mild.
- Avoid physical contact with others.
- Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when:
- indoors in public spaces
- indoors or outdoors in closed spaces, crowded places and close contact situations where you can't keep 2 metres away from others
- required by the business or local public health authority
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm.
- Minimize handling cash by using cashless transactions, or cleaning your hands if you do use cash.
- Keep 2 metres away from anyone who doesn't live with you or isn't in your small and consistent social circle.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or carry hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Wash or sanitize your hands often, especially:
- before eating or drinking
- when you enter and exit a building
- after you touch common and frequently touched surfaces or objects
- Wash or sanitize your hands often, especially:
Read signs posted at entrances before entering the building and follow the public health measures in place.
Check the shop or business website or call ahead to see what COVID-19 specific practices and polices are in place. You may need to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to enter.
You may also want to know how the business will protect your health, such as:
- staff wearing non-medical masks or face coverings
- screening staff and clients for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure to COVID-19
- keeping staff and patrons home if they have COVID-19 or related symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who's sick
Public transportation includes transit such as:
- taxi or limo services
- buses, trains and subways
- shared bikes, skateboards and other micro-mobility devices
In addition to following personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures using public transportation.
- Clean your hands:
- when you enter and leave transportation services
- after touching common surfaces, such as ticket dispensers, door handles, railings or buttons
- Avoid commuting during peak hours, if possible.
- Follow visual cues and signage to ensure physical distancing:
- while seated
- at public transportation stops and stations
- when entering and exiting transportation services
- Check if your transit company or local public health authority has a policy on wearing masks at all times.
- Avoid carpooling in personal or rideshare vehicles. If you have to use a rideshare, taxi or limo service:
- keep your window open if possible
- sit in the back seat, away from the driver
Do not use public transportation to go to a health centre if you feel sick or have any symptoms, even if mild.
Going to work
In addition to personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures when going to work.
- Notify your employer if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been confirmed to have it.
- Bring your lunch, coffee and snacks from home.
- Avoid gathering in groups in breakrooms and common areas.
- Avoid visiting public spaces between your home and workplace.
Personal and social activities
In addition to personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures when participating in personal and social activities.
Bars and nightclubs
Gyms and fitness centres
Hair and nail salons
Hosting small gatherings
Remind your guests to follow the recommended practices for protecting themselves and others. If you must host an event, follow our guidance to do so safety.
In addition to personal practices for all public spaces, take these additional measures when running errands.
- Limit the number of people you bring with you to run errands.
- Limit what you touch by only picking up items you plan on purchasing.
- Follow floor markings and other physical distancing visual cues when:
- waiting in lines
- moving through the aisles
- entering and exiting a building
- Try not to take your mask off between stops if you're visiting more than one store or business. If you do remove your mask, sanitize your hands afterwards.
Visiting health professionals
In addition to following personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures when you visit your health professionals.
- Before your appointment, check for phone calls, texts or emails that explain any COVID-19-related measures. You may need to fill out a pre-screening questionnaire and wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
- Reschedule or cancel your appointment if you're feeling sick.
- Avoid bringing others to your appointment (unless essential).
- Wait in your vehicle or outside the building until it's time for your appointment (if possible).
- If you need to remove your mask for your appointment, such as dental procedures, handle it carefully.
Gathering in outdoor spaces
It's important to use protective measures while in public outdoor spaces. This includes areas like:
- outdoor recreation spaces
- parks, including playgrounds and dog parks
In addition to personal preventive practices for all public spaces, you should also:
- play only low-contact recreational sports and where you can keep a 2-metre distance from other players
- avoid large groups or crowding at:
- picnic areas
- lookout points
- trail entrance/exits
- wash or sanitize your hands after touching common surfaces, including:
- park benches
- public washrooms
- playground equipment
- carry a water bottles and refreshments and avoid using public drinking fountains
- avoid sharing items with people who don't live with you or aren't in your small and consistent social circle. These items include:
- swimming materials
- sports and recreation equipment