covid 19 virus

COVID-19 – Guidance for Everyone

Lasted Edited/Reviewed: June 24 2020


Stay Home and Avoid Non-Essential Travel
Wash Your Hands Often
Practice Physical Distancing
Public & Social Gatherings
Create a Safe Social Circle
Who Should Continue to Self-Isolate?
Guidance for Wearing Non-Medical Masks
Should I Wear Medical Gloves?
Shopping Safely During COVID-19
Cottaging: Staying Safe at the Lake
Garage Sales

Stay Home and Avoid Non-essential Travel

While Ontario remains in a state of emergency, everyone is encouraged to limit all non-essential travel and stay home. This reduces your chances of getting exposed to COVID-19, and also decreases the chance of you spreading the virus to others, especially to at-risk groups.

Wash Your Hands Often

Keep Your Hands Clean:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cough into your sleeve or elbow, or sneeze into a tissue, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Wash your hands after handling nose and throat secretions (e.g. after throwing out used facial tissues).
  • Avoid touching your face and clean hands before touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Sanitize or wash your hands when entering and exiting buildings.
  • Use tap to pay rather than handling money


Practice Physical Distancing?

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community, Peterborough Public Health encourages everyone to practice physical distancing.

This means avoiding close contact (being within 2 metres or 6 feet) with people outside of your immediate household contacts or social circle.

Public & Social Gatherings 

On June 12, 2020, the Ontario government expanded social gathering rules to 10 people. People must still practice physical distancing by keeping at least two metres away from others outside their direct household.  Frequent handwashing for everyone in the group is also very important. This will help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

What does this mean?

  1. Can I have a gathering of up to 10 people indoors? 
    • Yes, However only you and your household or social circle contacts are allowed to be close; you must physically distance yourself from anyone outside of your household or circle by maintaining at least 2 metres (6 feet). Avoid social gatherings in households where an individual is ill or self-isolating.
  2. Do the 10 people include my household members/social circle?
    • For example, a family of four may gather with up to six other individuals.
  3. Can my guests use my bathroom?
    • Yes, minimize risk by encouraging hand hygiene and ensuring all horizontal and frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and sanitized between uses. At a minimum clean your bathroom before your guests arrive and after your guests leave.  You may choose to leave out cleaning supplies, and disposable paper towels for your guests to use at their discretion.
  4. What about serving food?
    • Encourage handwashing and physical distancing, having only one person serve, avoid sharing utensils and dishware; consider having your guests bring their own food, utensils, and beverages. Buffet style should be avoided and instead, opt for single portion foods. For example, individual small bags or containers of snacks versus a one large bowl of snacks.
  5. Can I visit an outdoor eating area (patio) with up to 10 others?
    • Yes, but all the members must be from the same household/social circle. Otherwise individuals from different households/social circles need to be seated at separate tables to ensure physical distancing measures can be followed.
  6. Is this enforceable?
    • Yes, this is enforceable by the police.  Please contact Peterborough Police Service non-emergency line: 705-876-1122 or Ontario Provincial Police non-emergency line: 1-888-310-1122
  7. Can I exercise or play sports with a group of friends?
    • Exercise is good for both your physical and mental health, however it is important to keep gatherings to 10 or less people and maintain physical distancing,  Check out Playing Unorganized Sports Safely for more information.
  8. I’m in a high-risk category (70 years and older, chronic condition, immunocompromised, etc.), can I still participate in a gathering of up to 10 people?
    • During these uncertain times, it is recommended that certain high-risk populations remain in self-isolation. However, your mental wellness is also important. If you have questions and would like to discuss this further please feel free to contact Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000.
  9. What about playdates with children?
    • Use caution when considering gatherings with children. It is often challenging for children to understand and practice physical distancing and hand hygiene and this may increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
    • Sleepovers are also not recommended at this time.

Be kind, respect each other’s space, and be patient!

For questions or more information, call 705-743-1000, email


Who Should Continue To Self-Isolate?

Self-isolation is when you have been instructed to separate yourself from others, with the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus, including those within your home. If you are ill, you should be separated from others in your household to the greatest extent possible.

You may have been asked to self-isolate due to a potential exposure, but have not developed any symptoms.  This is when you monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Dr. Rosana Salvaterra has issued a class order requiring certain groups, including those with COVID-19 symptoms, to self-isolate. Please click here for more information.



Should I Wear a Face Covering?

Ministry of Health guidance on face coverings can be found here. Medical masks (surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators like N95 masks) should be reserved for use by health care workers and first responders.

Click here for face covering considerations in the use of homemade masks from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Click here for a video on how to make your own face covering.

How to Safely WEAR & CLEAN a Cloth Mask

Where to Find a Handmade Face Mask in Peterborough


Should I Wear Medical Gloves?

The best way to protect your hands is to make sure you are following good hand washing practices. Medical gloves are helpful for health care workers, but should not be worn by the public.  People who wear gloves for day to day tasks might touch other objects and then without even knowing it touch their face, mouth, eyes or nose. Doing this would give the same risk of spreading the virus as if the person had not worn gloves at all.

Medical gloves are not durable and are designed for health care procedures. These gloves are not designed for rougher day to day tasks.  Gloves that rip or tear would need to be replaced and could increase the number of gloves being used. This would reduce the much-needed supply for front-line health care workers.

Your best method of protection for your hands is to wash regularly while following good hand washing practices.  This includes washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty.

Here is a good video that you can watch that explains this message:


Garage/Yard Sales

Take precautions if you are having a garage or yard sale.

On May 12, Peterborough Public Health asked residents not to hold garage or yard sales until further notice. As we enter Stage 2 of recovery and more businesses have been permitted to open, although still strongly discouraged, yard sales may be held, if public health measures are followed.

Our best advice is that these types of discretionary activities be avoided during a state of emergency, as currently exists, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents still intent on hosting a sale are advised to have a yard sale, rather than a garage sale, as the open-air environment helps to reduce the transmissibility of COVID-19. In addition, there are other precautions to take including:

  • Limiting the number of people on your property to a maximum of ten (10) at a time;
  • Space tables displaying items at least 2 metres apart and remind anyone in attendance to practice physical distancing;
  • Have a system set up to maintain physical distancing and protect yourself when taking payment for items. This means either erecting a plexiglass barrier or wearing personal protective equipment like a mask;
  • Ensure that you have hand sanitizer available for your use after handing cash; and
  • If anyone is displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19, they should be asked to leave.

If you are a yard sale enthusiast, try to limit browsing time and the number of yard sales you visit in one day. Carry hand sanitizer with you and adequately sanitize your hands between sales and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly when you arrive home. If you make a purchase at a yard sale, clean and disinfect the item before use and avoid purchasing anything that is difficult to wash and disinfect.