Additional COVID-19 Guidance For Meetings and Event Spaces
Speak with your area Public Health Inspector if you have any questions, or call our helpline at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475.
*This information is subject to change and is current as of April 12, 2021
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The following guidance is intended to help owners/operators of businesses or places that are using or renting out meeting and event spaces comply with requirements in Ontario Regulation 263/20 Rules for Areas in Stage 2 and described in the COVID-19 Response Framework.
Please note that gathering limits as stated in this guidance do not apply for wedding ceremonies, funeral, or religious services, court services, or operations on behalf of a government delivering or supporting government services. For more information about those events, please review the “General Public Health Measures” page.
To support safe operations, meeting and event organizers and operators or facilities that host meeting and events must also abide by the Ministry of Ontario Guidance for meeting and event facilities during COVID-19 and other regulations such as Ontario Regulation 493/17 Food Premises (if applicable) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
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
- Capacity limit for the venue, where physical distancing can be maintained:
- 10 people indoors, or
- 25 people outdoors
- Booking multiple rooms for the same event not permitted
- Limited operating hours - establishments must be closed between at 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Liquor may only be sold or served between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- No consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
- Face coverings required except when eating or drinking only
- Require active contact information for all seated patrons
- Limit of 4 people may be seated together
- Require screening of patrons (e.g. questionnaire). Download screening tool here
- Limit volume of music to be low enough that a normal conversation is possible
- A Safety plan is required to be available upon request
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Specific Enhanced Measures
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.
COVID-19 Safety Plan
When public health unit regions return to the framework, all businesses must have safety plans, no matter their colour-coded zone. Visit the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan Requirements webpage for details and templates for download.
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.
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 (for example, when seated to eat or drink). These items should be labelled with staff names and should not be shared. Review our fact sheet on approved eye protection for staff.
Train staff on the proper use, removal and disposal of non-medical masks.
- Face Coverings and Face Masks (Government of Ontario)
- WECHU How to Safely Wear a Mask (multiple languages)
- How to Safely Use a Non-Medical Mask or Face Covering (Public Health Agency of Canada)
- The wearing of a face mask does 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
- Every patron/customer/staff member that enters the facility/workplace must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. There are two different types of screening:
- Passive screening: people assess their own risk factors and make the decision themselves. Post clear signage at all entrances with screening questions and instructions. If active screening of patrons entering a facility is not possible (for example, public transit, grocery stores), post signage instructing people with symptoms not to enter. Note: for retail stores, screening is only required at entrance to shopping malls, and not individual stores.
- Active screening: an employer ensures that the information is collected and reviewed to determine whether a person may enter the workplace. Actively screen staff using the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces. This includes workers, volunteers, suppliers, and contractors.
- Post signage at entrances and throughout the building that clearly communicate procedures for physical distancing between staff and patrons. This include posters and floor markings such as instructional tape/stickers that direct the flow of people waiting for services, including any outdoor waiting areas. Examples of signage can be found in the Resources & Signage section of the WECHU website.
- Access to the facility should only be permitted to registered guests attending the event, security, workers, and the event organizer.
- Public access to the event/meeting space, room or thoroughfare should not be permitted.
- The need to access a room through other rooms that are not part of the same event/meeting should be limited or minimized. This shall be monitored by staff at the facility including security.
- The event/meeting should minimize allowing additional guests into the space.
- Once a guest leaves the event, the facility should not allow entry of a new guest to that event/meeting (i.e., no sharing passes between guests).
- As per provincial regulations, for areas in Yellow, Orange, and Red, the person responsible for the establishment must collect contact information from every seated patron.
- Use this Food Premises Contact Tracing Form for record keeping in your establishment.
- Maintain the records for a period of at least one month (30 days).
- Only disclose the records to a Medical Officer of Health or an Inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
- 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 in addition to active screening upon arrival, 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.
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:
- Install Plexiglas barriers at reception desks, and/or between workers who must work in close proximity to each other.
- Install barriers (e.g. Plexiglas) in areas where customers must come within 2 metres of employees (such as at check-in area or check-out areas) or within 2 metres of people from other groups (such as in dining areas).
- 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.
- If the entry/reception area is small and a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be
maintained, eliminate the use of this area. Attendees should be encouraged to wait in vehicles or outside until their meeting or event is about to begin.
- Ensure that guests can access their event/meeting area without wandering (i.e., entering other event/meeting rooms/areas) and, if possible, use a dedicated entrance/exit propped open by an automated or manual method by the facility.
- Elevator occupancy should be limited to allow for physical distancing to be maintained. All elevators should be sanitized frequently.
- Escalators should have signage explaining current procedures to ensure safety including appropriate physical distancing while in use.
- Ensure tables seat a maximum of 6 people and that they are spaced out to allow a minimum of 2 metres of physical distancing.
General Cleaning and Disinfecting
- 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.
- Clean and disinfect the room between each event/meeting. This includes cleaning and disinfecting audiovisual (AV) equipment (including microphones), podiums, tables, and chairs after each use; and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common spaces including washrooms, lobbies, and high-touch areas.
- Other high-touch surfaces that must be cleaned and disinfected include door handles, bar top, stools, light switches, payment hardware, POS terminals, kitchen surfaces and tools, condiment bottles, menus, and all other items after every use, when visibly dirty, or between uses.
- Do not pre-set tables; utensils should be rolled or packaged.
- Use single-use paper menus, electronic menus, menu-boards, or chalkboards, instead of regular menus.
- Avoid shared table items (for example, condiment bottles and salt and pepper shakers). Consider using single-serve versions.
- Encourage the use of contactless payments whenever possible. If handling cash, use alcohol-based hand rub after each transaction and avoid touching your face.
- Government of Ontario
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
- Workplace Safety & Prevention Services