Going out: Personal and social activities during the COVID-19 pandemic

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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:

Before going out, consider the risks and make informed choices to keep yourself, your family and your communities safe. If a planned activity puts you at higher risk of getting COVID-19, consider avoiding it.

Check your risk level
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 increased risk of more severe illness 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 higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19. The event or activity has a higher risk if those at risk of developing severe illness will be in attendance, including older people and anyone with an existing medical condition.
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.

People at higher risk of severe illness

If you're at higher risk of severe illness or at higher risk of getting COVID-19:

  • 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

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.

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:

Using transportation

Public transportation includes transit such as:

In addition to following personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures using public transportation.

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.

Personal and social activities

In addition to personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures when participating in personal and social activities.

Download our poster to raise awareness on going out safely during the pandemic.

Bars and nightclubs

  • Limit your alcohol consumption so you're able to make safe decisions and follow public health practices.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when not seated at your table.
  • Don't share drinks or utensils.
  • Clean your hands after touching:
    • menus
    • chairs and tables
    • bar tops and rails
    • payment machines

Gyms and fitness centres

  • Confirm that your gym or fitness centre has public health measures in place, such as:
    • ensuring hand sanitizer is available
    • cleaning and disinfecting equipment before and after use
    • limiting the use of, or closing, shared spaces like locker rooms
    • rearranging the layout to allow participants to keep at least 2 metres away from each other
  • Use online reservation and check in systems, if available.
  • Bring your water bottle and avoid using drinking fountains.
  • Don't use equipment that can't be cleaned and sanitized between every use.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when the type and intensity of the exercise allows for it.
  • Only participate in group sessions that are:
    • outdoors with physical distancing measures in place
    • indoors with small group sizes and enough space for everyone to practise physical distancing

Hair and nail salons

  • Avoid waiting in the salon with other people by:
    • booking services online or by phone
    • staying outside or in your car until it's time for your appointment
  • Don't bring children or other guests to your appointment.
  • Confirm that your salon has public health measures in place, such as:
    • providing hand sanitizer
    • using single-use supplies where possible
    • keeping workstations at least 2 metres apart or using barriers like clear acrylic/plastic separators
  • Clean your hands after receiving nail services.

Public libraries

  • Clean your hands after touching:
    • public computers
    • book return slots
    • touch screen checkout stations
    • books or other available resource materials
  • Use online reservation and resource checkout systems if available.
  • Pick digital resources over print and hard copy materials, if possible.
  • Clean and disinfect materials in plastic containers, such as audiobooks, when you pick them up and return them.

Movie theatres

  • Clean your hands:
    • before and after eating or drinking
    • after touching your seat or armrest
    • after using touch screen ticketing machines
  • Don't share snacks or drinks.
  • Use online reservation and check in systems, when available.
  • Sit away from anyone who doesn't live with you or isn't part of your close social circle.

Restaurant dining

  • Eat outside, if possible.
  • Don't share drinks or utensils.
  • Clean your hands after touching items like:
    • menus
    • chairs and tables
    • condiment bottles
    • payment machines
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when not seated at your table.
  • Avoid self-serve food and drink options, like buffets and drink dispensers in fast food restaurants.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption so you're able to make good decisions and practise safety measures that protect yourself and others.

Hosting small gatherings

Remind your guests to follow the recommended practices for protecting themselves and others. In addition to the general precautions, take the following measures when hosting small gatherings.

If one of your guests has symptoms during or after your gathering:

Running errands

In addition to personal practices for all public spaces, take these additional measures when running errands.

Visiting health professionals

In addition to following personal practices for all public spaces, take additional measures when you visit your health professionals.

Gathering in outdoor spaces

It's important to use protective measures while in public outdoor spaces. This includes areas like:

In addition to personal preventive practices for all public spaces, you should also:

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