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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
3 young adults outside wearing face masks and physically distancing

Social Gatherings and Physical Distancing

Please note – Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order and enhancing public health restrictions. No indoor social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household (the people you live with).

Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 5 individuals, and proper social distancing must be maintained.

Find out about the declaration of emergency and the latest public health measures, advice and restrictions as we continue to respond to the challenge of  COVID-19 at Ontario.ca

Social gathering limits

Limit close contact to only members of your household (the people you live with). If you live alone, you may consider having close contact with one other household only.

Up to 5 people may gather outdoors, as long as you can keep 2 metres physical distance from each other. You should also wear a mask or face covering.

You may attend a funeral, religious service or wedding of up to 10 people.

If you do not follow these rules for gatherings:

  • organizers may be fined $10,000
  • each attendee may receive a $750 ticket
  • enforcement personnel may break up the gathering or temporarily close the premises

Wondering who at your gathering will count towards the limit?

All guests and any hired staff are included in the count of individuals gathering at private settings. HPEPH considers any individuals on site at a private event (including photographers, caterers, etc.) as contributing towards the gathering limit.

The gathering limit intends to reduce risk of transmission by ensuring only small groups of people are gathered together at one time.

Please continue to practise physical distancing.

Physical distancing includes, but is not limited to:

  • Adhering to the provincial gathering limits.
  • Talking to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible.
  • Avoiding visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other congregate care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential.
  • Limiting non-essential trips in the community.
    • If you have to travel via taxi or ride-share, be sure to keep the windows down.
  • Hosting virtual meetings and social interactions instead of in-person events.

Please take steps to limit your close contacts.

  • Avoid crowded areas.
  • Wear a mask and/or face covering in all public spaces or where physical distancing is not possible.
  • Maintain a distance of two metres from those around you at all times.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Wash your hands immediately and thoroughly upon return to your home or workplace. 

Remember: While you may not feel sick, and these measures are an inconvenience, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. We are all in this together.


Confused by the difference between self-quarantine, self-isolation and physical distancing? You’re not alone. These definitions have been evolving as we learn more about COVID-19 and enhance measures to fight its spread.


Adapted with permission from Ottawa Public Health.

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Province of Ontario has Declared a Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives.  Read more.

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the provincial government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

Owner/operators of a businesses, workplaces and/or other community organizations who are unsure of how to adjust operations for COVID-19 are encouraged to visit sector specific guidance regarding provincial lockdown measures at Ontario.ca or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. If you are unable to find an answer to your questions or need further guidance, please fill out this web form.

During the provincewide shutdown, no indoor social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 5 individuals, and proper physical distancing must be maintained.

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.