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The following guidance is intended to help with clarification of general public health measures as mandated in Ontario Regulation 263/20 Rules for Areas in Stage 2 and described in the COVID-19 Response Framework. This includes information on private gatherings, workplaces and the wearing of face masks.

Visit WECHU’s Local Pandemic Status page for updates on Windsor-Essex’s status level, links to provincial guidance, and a summary of current provincial requirements and local enhanced measures.

COVID-19 Response Framework Measures

Gathering limits for functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbeques or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks: 

  • 5 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors
  • Must comply with physical distancing

Gathering limit for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities:

  •  5 people indoors
  • 25 people outdoors
  • Must comply with physical distancing

Effective Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the gathering limits for outdoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites, and ceremonies in regions in all levels of the framework, will be adjusted to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance. Note, these changes do not apply to the social gatherings associated with these services, such as receptions.

Requirement for workplace screening. See the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces for more information

Requirement for face coverings in all indoor public spaces, with limited exemptions

The person responsible for a business, place, facility, or establishment that is open shall prepare and make available a safety plan in accordance with this section, or ensure that one is prepared and made available. A copy of the safety plan must be posted in a visible place to those working or attending the location.

Requirement to maintain 2 metres physical distancing from others in the business or facility (unless from the same household, or to complete a transaction, or receive a service).

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Specific Enhanced Measures

General Instructions for residents:

  • Zero tolerance on all COVID-19 prevention measures.
  • Minimize your close contacts to your household members only.
  • Minimize visiting to a private home or residential premise, including social gatherings (both indoor and outdoor) except for essential reasons.
  • Cancel, postpone, or hold virtually any other discretionary in-person activities, or participate only with your household and essential supports.

Workplace Instructions

  • Enable, as possible, work from home options for employees.
  • Prohibit non-essential visitors (persons whose presence is not essential to the functioning of the workplace as a workplace) from attending their facilities.

Managing & Reporting COVID-19 Outbreaks in the Workplace

The Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace: Guidance for Employers, Owners, and Operators provides guidance for businesses and workplaces to appropriately manage employees who have either tested positive for COVID-19, been identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms without any known exposure to COVID-19.

Reporting Workplace Outbreaks

The ‘Reporting Workplace Outbreaks to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit: Guidance for Employers, Business Owners, & Operators’ provides information for employers to understand their roles in a suspected workplace outbreak, their responsibility to notify the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) about COVID-19 cases in the workplace, and how workplace outbreak information will be disclosed to the public.

Return to Work Timelines

The COVID-19 Decision Guide for Workplaces provides details on return to work guidelines for employees based on their level of exposure to COVID-19 (i.e., high or low risk contact), the results of their COVID-19 test, and the severity of symptoms from COVID-19. For additional information, you may also review the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 self-isolation and return to work webpage.

Non-Medical Face Masks, Face Coverings, and Eye Protection

Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open mandates the wearing of face coverings in indoor public places and workplaces. Municipalities and organizations have created further regulations through the development of face-covering policies. Several local municipalities have included further spaces where masks are required by passing by-laws.

  • Non-medical masks or face coverings should also be worn in other situations (for example, outdoors) when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • In addition to wearing a non-medical face mask or face covering, staff must wear eye protection when they are within 2 metres of patrons who are not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering. Review our fact sheet on approved eye protection for staff.
  • Train staff on the proper use, removal and disposal of non-medical masks.
  • Non-medical masks do not replace other important public health measures, such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve and staying home when feeling ill.

Signage and Screening

  • Workplaces and organizations must develop a communication and/or public education plan for the public that highlights COVID-19 risk in the workplace or organization.  For information about how to assess COVID-19 risks and to plan risk modifications, please refer to the WECHU Risk Assessment for Workplaces page.
  • Post signage at entrances and throughout workplaces that clearly communicate procedures for physical distancing between staff and customers.  This include posters and floor markings such as instructional tape/stickers that direct the flow of people waiting for services, including any waiting areas. Examples of signage can be found in the Resources & Signage section of the WECHU website.
  • Post signage to communicate entry procedures such as hand sanitizing, sneeze and cough etiquette, wearing of cloth masks, and/or screening for symptoms.
  • Ensure employees are aware of common COVID-19 symptoms and instruct them to complete a daily provincial screening tool for workplaces before reporting to work.
  • Provide training to employees on effective hand hygiene practices and if required, the proper way to put on and remove PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.
  • Prohibit non-essential visitors from entering workplaces.

Physical Distancing


In public areas and workplaces, complete any needed modifications in areas where there will be staff and/or customers, to assist with physical distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection. For example:

  • Enable work-from-home options for employees if possible.
  • Monitor entrances to control staff and customers entering the workplace.
  • Rearrange workplace layouts and remove non-essential furniture/items, to allow ease of movement for physical distancing.
  • Establish directional aisles to manage staff flow.
  • Place visual markers (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) spaced 2 metres apart for areas where staff may congregate.
  • Install barriers (e.g. Plexiglas) between workers who must work in close proximity to each other, less than 2 metres.
    • For barriers in areas where people are standing, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest patron or employee, which would be at least 2 metres (79 inches) from the ground.
    • For barriers in areas where people are sitting, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest seated patron or employee, which would be at least 1.46 metres (58 inches) from the ground.

General Instructions for Residents

  • Minimize visiting to a private home or residential premise, including social gatherings (both indoor and outdoor) except for essential reasons.
  • Minimize your close contacts to your household members only.

General Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • In addition to routine cleaning and disinfection, high-touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per day or when visibly soiled. For example, doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, washroom areas, counters, hand rails, and common areas of a workplace such as break rooms.
  • Ensure hand washing facilities are available and in good working order.
  • Ensure there is always sufficient supply of approved disinfecting solution or wipes, and an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) with a minimum of 60% alcohol content, liquid hand soap, and paper towels. These should be easily accessible to employees.
  • Provide additional garbage bins for safe disposal of used masks, tissues, and paper towels and wipes.


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Last modified: 
Saturday, April 3, 2021 - 10:17am