COVID-19 Information for Community Partners and Service Providers

Last revised on July 31, 2020

On this Page:

  1. Support and encourage behaviours to reduce the spread of germs
  2. Guidelines for Food Banks, Donation Centres and Volunteers
  3. Guidance for Food Premises Offering Food Delivery and Takeout Services
  4. Mobile Food Premises during COVID-19
  5. Guidance for Retail Stores – including Grocery Stores and Pharmacies
  6. Guidance for Farmer's Markets
  7. Guidance for Multi-Unit Dwellings
  8. Landlord Guidance Document – Site Visits
  9. Additional Resources

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to cause infection in the respiratory system. COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through direct contact or over short distances by droplets through coughing or sneezing. A person may also get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly eyes. Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19, although carriers may also show no symptoms. OPH encourages all organizations and agencies to implement their own internal policies for the protection of staff, volunteers, and clients.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

1. Support and encourage behaviours to reduce the spread of germs

To reduce the spread of germs, OPH recommends that everyone practice physical distancing by maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you, to limit the number of people you come into close contact with.

It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 situation is evolving very quickly. Please refer to OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

2. Guidelines for Food Banks, Donation Centres and Volunteers

Food banks and food donation centres provide essential services to residents and require continual donations from the community. OPH encourages all organizations and agencies to implement their own internal policies for the protection of staff, volunteers, and clients.

The following recommendations aim to provide guidance and reduce risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 with respect to food donations, pick-ups, and deliveries to food banks and donation centres:

Reducing the Risks of Transmissions During Operations

Food banks and food donation centres provide essential services to residents and require continual donations from the community. OPH encourages all organizations and agencies to implement their own internal policies for the protection of staff, volunteers, and clients.

The following recommendations aim to provide guidance and reduce risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 with respect to food donations, pick-ups, and deliveries to food banks and donation centres:

Reducing the Risks of Transmissions During Operations

  • Screen staff, volunteers, and clients through phone calls prior to their arrival on site, if possible using the Ontario Government self-assessment tool
    • Staff, volunteers, and clients are to stay home if they are sick
    • Arrange for alternate methods of delivery.
    • If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care
  • Incorporate physical distancing throughout the operation by maintaining a 2 metre (6 feet) separation between people in all scenarios:
    • Consider the installation of a physical barrier at checkout stations (e.g. cubicle, Plexiglas window) to protect staff/volunteers and reduce risks
    • Visitors should be reminded that masks are required in all areas open to the general public.
  • Place signage at entrances and throughout the operation:
  • Review the Ministry of Health - Reference Document for Safe Food Donation

Recommendations for Pick-up and Delivery of Food Items

To reduce risks, OPH recommends implementing strategies that encourage physical distancing, including:

  • For pick-up, encourage clients to call ahead to arrange a time to avoid any gatherings of people
    • Schedule volunteers accordingly to reduce the number of people on-site and ensure they are provided with a mask to wear when in the facility.
    • Organize appointments for food pick-up to reduce the number of people on-site at the same time, if possible
    • Upon pick-up, ensure physical distance is maintained
    • To limit interactions with the public for pick-up, staff can leave the packaged food on the counter or set up a table and have an individual pick it up
    • Clean/disinfect high contact surfaces immediately
    • Practice hand hygiene with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after each interaction
    • If line-ups do evolve, support clients to physically distance by providing markings on the floor for 2 metre (6 feet) distance
  • If delivering, food items should be left at the door rather than a face-to-face interaction
    • A knock at the door to alert receiver then walk away
    • Alternatively, place the items at the door and step back or to the side 2 metres (6 feet)
    • Practice hand hygiene with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Clean and disinfect high contact surfaces and objects in delivery vehicles, including any re-usable delivery containers, at least twice daily
  • Avoid direct contact with other people. Use non-physical forms of greetings instead of shaking hands

Recommendations for Staff or Volunteers Carrying Food into Homes

Given there is community transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, please make every effort to avoid the need to enter someone’s home. If a staff or volunteer is required to enter a home, OPH recommends they take appropriate precautions to protect themselves:

  • Always ensure physical distancing:
    • Develop policies where customer unlocks door, moves 2 metres (6 feet) away prior to you entering, and then always maintains physical distance for the duration of your visit (i.e. customer remains in another room)
    • Avoid physical contact with clients, use non-physical forms of greeting
    • Minimize the number of people involved in the operation
  • Always ensure proper hand hygiene:
    • Practice hand hygiene with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately before and after each delivery
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
    • Try to limit contact with any surfaces while in the home
  • Use of cloth masks:
    • The use of masks is required in all indoor public spaces to limit the spread of COVID-19 as per the  Temporary Mandatory Mask By-Law no. 2020-186 (use cloth masks when commercial surgical masks are in shortage so that these remain available for the health care sector), and when the 2 meter (6 feet) physical distance recommendation cannot be maintained. 
    • Although an individual’s home isn’t a public space, it is an indoor space! OPH recommends that volunteers wear a mask when entering someone’s home.
    • Clean hands before putting on, if needing to adjust, before taking off, and after taking off

Environmental Cleaning Guidance

Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated. Clean and disinfect these surfaces often
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on any products being used:
    • properly prepare solutions
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label)
    • wear gloves when handling cleaning products, including wipes
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer
  • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty

For more information, consult Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.

Practice proper glove use

Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that foods or surfaces are not contaminated.

Gloves should always be worn when a staff member or volunteer handling food has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound. In the event you are wearing gloves:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on gloves.
  • Do not touch your face or use any personal items (e.g. cell phone, bag) that you might touch again when you do not have gloves on.
  • When finished with the gloves, throw them out in a closed garbage bin right away and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Remember:
      • Do not touch your face with your gloves.
      • Do not touch your mask with your gloves (if you are wearing one).
      • Do not touch your personal items (like your phone) with your gloves so you don’t bring the virus home with you!
      • Do not re-use gloves that are made for one use.

General Mask Use

  • Effective July 7, Ottawa Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health is mandating that all enclosed public space in Ottawa adopt a mask policy to ensure that no member of the public is permitted to enter or remain in the public areas of the indoor public space unless he or she is wearing a mask in a manner that covers their nose, mouth and chin. There are exemptions including (but not limited to) children under two years of age and individuals with medical conditions. 
    • Please read the letter from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches to business owners and operators – July 6, 2020.
    • Wearing a mask does not replace other protective measures including physical distancing, hand washing, not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and staying home if you are sick. Mask use should be combined with these other protective measures.
    • Wearing any mask helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19
    • Mask” means a cloth (non-medical) mask, medical mask or other face covering such as a bandana or scarf, that securely covers the nose, mouth and chin, and is in contact with the surrounding face without gapping, and filters respiratory droplets
    • Benefits are increased when masks are worn properly (securely cover the nose, mouth and chin without gapping) and the mask is made of at least 2 layers of tightly woven fabric.
    • All volunteers, clients and staff should be wearing a mask when indoors
    • Masks should also be worn when outside in circumstances where physical distancing of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
    • No person should be required to provide proof of evidence of exemption or turned away from indoor spaces if unable to wear a mask.
      • Exemptions include:
        • children under the age of 2, or children under the age of 5 years either chronically or developmentally who refuse to wear a mask and can’t be persuaded to do so;
        • individuals with medical conditions rendering them unable to safety wear a mask
        • anyone who is unable to remove the mask without help
        • anyone who is unconscious or incapacitated
        • Evidence shows that plastic face shields alone are NOT equivalent to wearing a mask.
        • Physical distancing is still required while wearing a mask, and the person responsible for a business or service that is open to the public, must fully ensure that at least 2 meters of physical distancing is achieved and maintained.

Learn more on Masks and Face Coverings.

For information about wearing masks and gloves, please consult OPH’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page

Supporting each other and our community

We understand that this is a challenging time, but measures like this are needed to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 in our community is limited.

OPH thanks you for the services you provide to our community.

Resources and References

 OPH Resources
 Provincial Resources
 Federal Resources

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3. Guidance for Food Premises Offering Food Delivery and Takeout Services

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is recommending that any food premises that are operating during the pandemic take added precautions to protect the health of their employees and the health of those around them.

In addition to existing practices to maintain health and safety within a food premises, OPH is encouraging further precautions during this time. Refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Guidance for Food Premises for more information.

Pick-up and Delivery Guidance

OPH encourages all organizations and agencies to implement their own internal policies for the protection of staff, volunteers, and clients. To reduce risks, OPH recommends implementing the following strategies that encourage physical distancing:

  • Post physical distancing signs at the entrance and throughout the food premises
  • Onsite pick-up and delivery service:
    • Reduce the number of patrons allowed in the establishment to allow for the maintenance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) physical distance
    • Encourage customers to pre-pay online, over the phone, or by e-transfer to avoid cash handling where possible
      • Otherwise, have clients pay by debit or credit card (tap if possible) and have a staff member wipe the machine and use hand sanitizer immediately before and after the interaction. However, cash can be handled provided hands are sanitized immediately afterwards so that unclean hands are not touching food preparation areas, food, or any frequently touched surfaces. Never touch your face (especially eyes, nose or mouth) with unwashed hands.
      • Food premises should identify one staff member at a time who is solely responsible for these transactions and must clean and sanitize all surfaces, before and after each interaction, followed by washing their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid direct contact with other people. Use non-physical forms of greetings instead of shaking hands.
    • Delivery person should follow proper hand hygiene after they pick up a used bin.
    • Ensure anyone providing take out or delivery services washes their hands or uses alcohol-based hand sanitizer after they have provided any items for pick-up or delivery.
  • For pick-up:
    • Encourage clients to call ahead to arrange a time when they can pick-up food to avoid any gatherings of people
      • To limit interactions with the public for pickup of take out packaged food items, staff can leave the packaged food on the counter or set up a table and have an individual pick it up
    • Schedule staff and/or volunteers accordingly to reduce the number of people on-site
    • Upon pick-up, ensure physical distance from anyone in the premises is maintained, consider physical distancing markers on the ground to ensure 2 meters / 6 feet apart while waiting for their order, to prevent gathering of patrons
    • Practice hand hygiene with either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately after each interaction
  • For delivery:
    • Upon arrival, food items should be left at the door rather than a face-to-face interaction take place
    • Consider knocking at the door to alert receiver then walk away
    • Alternatively, place the items at the door and step back or to the side 2 metres (6 feet)
    • Delivery person to follow proper hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette
    • Clean and disinfect high contact surfaces and objects in delivery vehicles, including any re-usable delivery containers, twice daily 

 OPH also recommends that you follow general food safety guidelines to reduce the likelihood of foodborne illness.

Environmental Cleaning Guidance

Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on any products being used:
    • properly prepare solutions
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label)
    • wear gloves when handling cleaning products, including wipes
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer
  • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day and when visibly dirty

For more information, consult Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings

Practice proper glove use

Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that foods or surfaces are not contaminated.

Gloves should always be worn when a staff member or volunteer handling food has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound. In the event you are wearing gloves:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on gloves.
  • Do not touch your face or use any personal items (e.g. cell phone, bag) that you might touch again when you do not have gloves on.
  • After use, throw the gloves out in a closed garbage bin right away and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Remember:
      • Do not touch your face with your gloves.
      • Do not touch your mask with your gloves (if you are wearing one).
      • Do not touch your personal items (like your phone) with your gloves so you don’t bring the virus home with you!
      • Do not re-use gloves that are made for one use.

For information about wearing masks and gloves, please consult OPH’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page

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4. Mobile Food Premises during COVID19

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is recommending that any food premises that are operating during the pandemic take added precautions to protect the health of their employees and the health of those around them.

In addition to existing practices to maintain health and safety within a food premises, OPH is encouraging further precautions during this time. Refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Guidance for Food Premises for food safety information during the pandemic.

Reducing the Risks of Transmission During Food Operations

  • Screen staff,  through phone calls prior to their arrival on site, if possible using the Ontario Government self-assessment tool
    • Staff are to stay home if they are sick
    • If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care
  • Incorporate physical distancing throughout food operations by maintaining at least 2 metres (6 feet) separation in all scenarios:
    • Limit the number of occupants in the mobile unit to allow for the maintenance of at least 2 metres (6 foot) physical distance
    • Consider the installation of a physical barrier at checkout stations (e.g., Plexiglas window) to protect staff and reduce risks
    • Have customers pay by debit or credit card (tap if possible), or e-transfers to avoid cash handling where possible and have a staff member wipe the machine and use hand sanitizer immediately before and after the interaction. However, cash can be handled provided hands are sanitized immediately afterwards so that unclean hands are not touching food preparation areas, food, or any frequently touched surfaces. Never touch your face (especially eyes, nose, or mouth) with unwashed hands.
    • Food premises should identify one staff member at a time who is solely responsible for these transactions and must clean and sanitize all surfaces, before and after each interaction, followed by washing their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Place signage at entrances and throughout the food premises:
    • OPH encourages you to post physical distancing signage, as well as the signage found on OPH’s website in different languages that address topics such as handwashing and cough etiquette, as well as physical distancing.
      • Refer to OPH’s physical distancing fact sheet
    • Ensure physical distance from anyone on the premises is maintained, consider physical distancing markers on the ground to ensure at least 2 metres / 6 feet apart while waiting for their order, to prevent gathering of patrons
    • Encourage customers to wait in their vehicle or at a distance from the order/pick up area maintaining, 2 metres (6 feet) from others
    • No sampling product stations should be permitted
    • Remove customer self-serve condiment stations, provide single service condiment packets or offer toppings upon ordering
  • For pick-up:
    • To limit interactions with the public for pickup of take out packaged food items, staff can leave the packaged food on the counter or set up a table and have an individual pick it up
    • Clean and disinfect high contact surfaces immediately
    • Consider contactless pre-order/pick-up/delivery models to limit interactions
    • Refer to OPH’s information for Food Premises Offering Delivery and Pick Up Services for more information

Environmental Cleaning Guidance

Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated. Clean and disinfect these surfaces often
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on any products being used:
    • properly prepare solutions
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label)
    • wear gloves when handling cleaning products, including wipes
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer
  • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day and when visibly dirty

For more information, consult Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings

Reducing the Spread of COVID-19

We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19. OPH recommends that all staff, volunteers, and customers take the following actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
  • Practice physical distancing (at least 2 metres or 6 feet apart) from others at all times
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your sleeve at your elbow, not your hand
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres
  • The use of masks is encouraged (use cloth masks when commercial surgical masks are in shortage so that these remain available for the health care sector) – clean hands before putting on, if needing to adjust, before taking off, and after taking off

Even if you do not have symptoms, you MUST self-isolate for 14 days (do not attend leave your house) if you have:

  • Returned from travel to an affected area
  • Been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting to hear the results of a lab test for COVID-19
  • Have symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild
  • Been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Lived or worked in a facility that has an outbreak of COVID-19
  • Ottawa Public Health recommends, as the safest practice, self-isolation for
    • all persons over 65 years of age
    • Individuals with underlying medical conditions (particularly if poorly controlled)
      • Underlying medical conditions may include heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, or severe obesity.
      • individuals who are immunocompromised

For more information, visit OPH Self-Isolation webpage.

Practice proper glove use

Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that foods or surfaces are not contaminated.

Gloves should always be worn when a staff member or volunteer handling food has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound. In the event you are wearing gloves:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on gloves.
  • Do not touch your face or use any personal items (e.g., cell phone, bag) that you might touch again when you do not have gloves on.
  • After use throw the gloves out in a closed garbage bin right away and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Remember:
      • Do not touch your face with your gloves.
      • Do not touch your mask with your gloves (if you are wearing one).
      • Do not touch your personal items (like your phone) with your gloves so you don’t bring the virus home with you!
      • Do not re-use gloves that are made for one use.

For information about wearing masks and gloves, please consult OPH’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page

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5. Guidance for Retail Stores – including Grocery Stores and Pharmacies 

OPH is recommending that any stores take added precautions to protect their health and the health of those around them.

Refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Guidance for Food Premises for more information. 

Practice physical distancing by maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you.

In order to ensure physical distancing, the following steps should be taken: 

  • Increase the space between employees and customers at check-out counters
    • Consider using screens or barriers 
  • Place signage at entrances and throughout the operation
  • Limit the number of occupants, including staff, in the store to allow for the maintenance of a 2 metre (6 foot) physical distance  
    • Line management practices require 2 meters (6 feet) physical distancing for any customers waiting outside to enter the store 
  • Consider placing markers on the floor at check-out aisles to ensure customers maintain a 2 metre (6 foot) distance from one another  
  • No sampling product stations should be permitted 
  • Consider pre-order/pick-up/delivery models to limit interactions

Consider vulnerable populations  

Some businesses have begun a practice where they have dedicated the first hour of in-store operation for customers who are seniors, or for those with compromised immune systems 

Environmental Cleaning Guidance

Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated. Clean and disinfect these surfaces often
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on any products being used:
    • properly prepare solutions
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label)
    • wear gloves when handling cleaning products, including wipes
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer
    • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty

For more information, consult Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.

Provide public access to hand hygiene stations and supplies 

  • Ensure that patrons have easy access to handwashing stations, hand sanitizer and washrooms 
  • Encourage patrons to wash their hands properly and frequently 

Transactions 

  • If possible, encourage patrons to pay by debit or credit card (tap if possible) and have staff wipe the machine and use hand sanitizer immediately after each interaction 
  • Staff may choose to wear gloves. If they do so, they should practice proper glove use (see below) 
  • All cashiers should have hand sanitizer at their cash, if possible. 

Practice proper glove use

Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that foods or surfaces are not contaminated.

Gloves should always be worn when a staff member or volunteer handling food has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound. In the event you are wearing gloves:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on gloves.
  • Do not touch your face or use any personal items (e.g. cell phone, bag) that you might touch again when you do not have gloves on.
  • Throw the gloves out in a closed garbage bin right away and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Remember:
      • Do not touch your face with your gloves.
      • Do not touch your mask with your gloves (if you are wearing one).
      • Do not touch your personal items (like your phone) with your gloves so you don’t bring the virus home with you!
      • Do not re-use gloves that are made for one use.

For information about wearing masks and gloves, please consult OPH’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page

Resources and References

 OPH Resources
 Provincial Resources
 Federal Resources

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6. Guidance for Farmers' Markets

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) causes infection of the respiratory system. COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through direct contact or over short distances by droplets through coughing or sneezing as well as speaking, singing, or breathing. A person may also get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. 

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 situation is evolving very quickly. Please refer to OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

OPH encourages all organizations and agencies to implement their own internal policies for the protection of staff, volunteers, and clients based on their specific operations.

Do you plan on operating a Farmers’ Market during COVID 19?

The following information will provide direction when used in combination with the Farmers’ Market’s of Ontario (FMO) protocols. Please note that market organizers require landowner permission to operate while Provincial orders in place. Market organizers must also contact Ottawa Public Health to review their plans before operating.

Follow these steps if you plan to operate a Farmers’ Market during the pandemic:

Step 1: Review the Farmers’ Market Ontario website public safety protocols and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) Farmers’ Market Operating During COVID-19 Objectives. 

Step 2: Obtain permission to operate in writing from the landowner while the COVID-19 Provincial Order is in place. If the market is on City property, send the request to sports@ottawa.ca for permission. It will be determined on a case by case basis if the site is appropriate for the market.  A written approval will be issued to OPH if the market can proceed.  Markets must inquire if there are site policies that may dictate what type of service delivery model is permitted at this time.

Step 3: Create an operational market plan that meets the protocols set out on the Farmers’ Market Ontario website, site specific guidelines as well as Ottawa Public Health’s Farmers’ Market Objectives. OPH continues to encourage operators to choose e-commerce options in an effort to take all measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Market plans must include, but are not limited to, provisions that ensure physical distancing, hand hygiene, one-way directional flow, as well as provide a site plan and vendor list.

Step 4: Contact OPH to review plans with a Public Health Inspector at least 10 days prior to opening. Market organizers can call OPH at 613-580-6744 and follow the prompts to speak with a Public Health inspector, or email healthsante@ottawa.ca.

Step 5: Coordinate a site visit with an OPH Public Health Inspector on opening day of the market to support the operational plan.

OPH Objectives:

  • Promote and practice physical distancing by maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you at all times, post signage
  • Support and encourage behaviours to reduce the spread of germs at Farmers’ Markets
  • Take extra precautions to clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible, and as needed, at the market
  • Provide both customers and staff access to hand hygiene stations and supplies while at the market
  • Refer to OttawaPublicHealth.ca/CoronaVirus for more information, including guidance on proper glove and mask use, and appropriate signage for posting

Best Practices to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19:

  • Screen staff,  through phone calls prior to their arrival on site, if possible using the Ontario Government self-assessment tool
    • Staff are to stay home if they are sick
    • If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care
    • Post reminder signage for staff and customers.

Practice Physical Distancing

In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19, OPH is recommending that all residents of Ottawa practice physical distancing. Physical distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of close contacts. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The practice of physical distancing promotes everyone keeping a 2 metre (6-foot) distance from each other. This includes measures such as avoiding group gatherings, avoiding non-essential trips in the community, and as much as possible, limiting contact to household members and your social circle.

  • Physical distancing includes customer to customer, customer to vendor, and vendor to vendor
  • Physical distancing requirements apply to all components of the Farmers’ Market: approaches, entrances, within the market, exits and parking
    • Managing flow is central to managing physical distancing. Consider placing physical distancing markers on the ground to ensure at least 2 meters / 6 feet apart while waiting to be served, prevent gathering of patrons
    • No sampling product stations should be permitted
    • Remove customer self-serve condiment stations, provide single service condiment packets or offer toppings upon ordering
  • Post physical distancing signage, as well as the signage found on OPH’s website in different languages that address topics such as handwashing and cough etiquette

Reducing the Spread of COVID-19

We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19. OPH recommends that all staff, volunteers and customers take the following actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
  • Practice physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet apart) from others at all times
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
  • Stay home if you are sick - do a self-assessment before each shift using the Ontario Government self-assessment tool
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres
  • The use of masks is encouraged
    • particularly when the 2 metre (6 foot) physical distance recommendation cannot be maintained (– clean hands before putting on, if needing to adjust, before taking off, and after taking off)

For more information, visit OPH Self-Isolation webpage.

Take Extra Precautions to Clean and Disinfect

Clean and disinfect surfaces as often as possible and when necessary at the market

Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

  • Bring an adequate supply of water, soap, paper towels for cleaning and disinfectant    
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces often (doorknobs, hand railing, light switches, tables, cash registers, portable payment devices, washrooms and hand hygiene stations etc.) or as they become visibly soiled
  • Use an appropriate cleaner and disinfectant, as per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Use non-porous tables that permit easy disinfection, if possible.
  • Remove items that are hard to clean and disinfect.

For more information on cleaning and disinfecting, please consult OPH’s cleaning and disinfection checklist and Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.

Recommendations for Farmers’ Markets and Community Agricultural boxes (CSA’s) including pickup and delivery options

To reduce risks, OPH recommends implementing strategies that encourage physical distancing, such as:

  • Have customers pay by debit or credit card (tap if possible), or e-transfers to avoid cash handling where possible and have a staff member wipe the machine and use hand sanitizer immediately before and after the interaction. However, cash can be handled provided hands are sanitized immediately afterwards so that unclean hands are not touching food preparation areas, food, or any frequently touched surfaces. Never touch your face (especially eyes, nose or mouth) with unwashed hands.
  • Food premises should identify one staff member at a time who is solely responsible for these transactions and must clean and sanitize all surfaces, before and after each interaction, followed by washing their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Pre-package food items
    • No sampling product station should be permitted
  • Limit the number of people inside the market to allow for physical distancing – encourage one member per family
  • Limit number of vendor’s at each stall to ensure 2 metre (6 feet) physical distancing
    • Provide barriers between staff, volunteers and customers where possible. Consider the installation of a physical barrier at checkout stations (e.g., Plexiglas window) to protect staff and reduce risks
  • Vendor stalls/vehicles to be at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart
  • If line-ups do occur inside, support clients to physically distance by providing markings on the floor for a 2 metre (6 foot) distance
  • Establish line management practices for any customers waiting outside to enter the market that require 2 meters (6 feet) physical distancing

For pick up:

  • Consider contactless pre-order/pick-up/delivery models to limit interactions
  • Refer to OPH’s information for Food Premises Offering Delivery and Pick Up Services for more information
  • Encourage organized/staggered appointments for food pick-up to reduce the number of people on-site at the same time

Upon customer pick-up:

  • Ensure physical distance is maintained
  • Recommend no contact pick-up, by encouraging customers to stay in vehicle and place items in trunk
  • Practice hand hygiene with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after each interaction
  • If delivering food, items should be left at the door 
    • Delivery person can knock at the door to alert receiver, then walk away,
    • Alternatively, place the items at the door and step back or to the side 2 metres (6 feet)
    • Practice hand hygiene with either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after each delivery
    • Clean and disinfect high contact surfaces and objects in delivery vehicles, including any re-usable delivery containers, at least twice daily
  • Use non-physical forms of greetings instead of shaking hands, avoid direct contact with other people outside of your immediate family

For additional food safety and cleaning information, please consult:

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7. Guidance for Multi-Unit Dwellings

COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through direct contact or over short distances by droplets through coughing or sneezing. A person may get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19, although carriers may also show no symptoms. OPH encourages all organizations and agencies to implement their own internal policies for the protection of staff, volunteers, and clients.

Currently, there is no evidence that transmission of COVID-19 takes place through ventilation systems.

Practice physical distancing by maintaining 2 metres (6 feet) from those around you, to limit the number of people you come into close contact with; for example:

  • Avoid groups of people or crowds.
  • Take precautions to maintain distance in shared spaces; for example:
  • Avoid crowded elevators (wait for an empty one if you can).
  • Avoid using the mail room or laundry room at the same time as other residents (limiting the number of people  will help to maintain physical distancing measures). For more information on how to use shared laundry facilities please refer to the multi-unit dwelling resources.
  • Avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices, and other congregate care settings unless absolutely essential.

Visit the OPH physical distancing webpage for other suggestions.

To encourage these precautions, OPH encourages landlords and property managers to post physical distancing signage, as well as the signage found on OPH’s website in different languages that address topics such as handwashing and cough etiquette. 

Physical distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Encourage residents to check in with others by phone or other technology. Take care of your mental health too. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available. Residents are encouraged to reach out to the Distress Centre of Ottawa at  613-238-3311 if needed. For more general information on Mental Health and COVID-19, and a list of telephone, text, and chat mental health services visit the OPH website.

Additional Recommendations for Multi-unit Dwellings

OPH recommends the following additional actions in multi-unit dwellings:

  • Close all onsite recreational amenities and gathering spaces (e.g. party rooms, fitness facilities, pools), if possible.
  • Encourage limited use of public areas for necessary outings and take additional precautions in shared spaces (e.g. lobbies, hallways, mail rooms, laundry rooms).

Environmental Cleaning Guidance

Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated. Clean and disinfect these surfaces often (e.g. buzzer systems/kiosks, doorknobs, hand railings, light switches, elevator buttons, etc)
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on any products being used:
    • Properly prepare solutions
    • Allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label)
    • Wear gloves when handling cleaning products, including wipes
    • Wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer
  • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day and when visibly dirty
  • Remove items from shared spaces that may be hard to clean or disinfect (e.g.  intricate lamps).

For more information, consult Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings

Additional Cleaning Information

Please consult OPH’s cleaning and disinfection checklist and Public Health Ontario’s fact sheet on cleaning and disinfection for public settings for more information.

Resources

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8. Landlord Guidance Document – Site Visits

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) encourages virtual options to show units to potential tenants. If virtual or remote options are not feasible, we recommend the following in order to keep everyone involved safe and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

As always,  follow the legal requirements of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17

If the unit is occupied, while providing the appropriate amount of notice to the tenant(s), to the extent possible, politely request that tenant(s) vacate the premises while the showing is occurring. Any tenants vacating a rental unit should be sure to continue to practice physical distancing while the showing occurs.

It is suggested to screen potential tenants wishing to enter a unit prior to their visit to ensure they are not showing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or meets the criteria requiring self-isolation. If they meet any of the criteria the visit must be postponed. For more information please refer to OPH’s Self-Isolation resource page.

If current occupants of a rental unit are self-isolating/quarantining due to recent travel, confirmed COVID-19, or having signs and symptoms of COVID-19, the visit must be postponed. For more information please refer to OPH’s Self-Isolation resource page.

  • If the tenants are not able to leave the unit during a showing, always ensure physical distancing.
    • This includes but is not limited to:
      • Asking that those occupying the unit stay in their room(s)
      • Always stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
    • For more information, visit our Physical Distancing resource page
  • If physical distancing cannot be maintained:
    • It is recommended that all involved wear a mask. Cloth masks are preferred in order to preserve medical masks for healthcare use. For more information visit our resource page on masks.
    • OPH does not recommend wearing gloves. If you choose to do so, here is some information on gloves.
  • If the site visit is occurring, please ensure that:
    • Highly-touched surfaces are cleaned and disinfected prior to the visit and any surfaces touched during the visit are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. For more information visit our Environmental Cleaning resource page and Cleaning Checklist.
    • All parties wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub prior to entering and after exiting the premises. Please refer to OPH's Hand Hygiene resource page
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands.

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9. Additional resources

The Ethical Framework for Pandemic Response

The Ethical Framework for Pandemic Response was developed by the Public Health Ethics Working Group to support Ottawa Public Health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

First Nations, Inuit, Métis

Low income/homeless/street involved

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