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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

Effective April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario has issued a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely. The Ontario government has implemented a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge  in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. For latest information on gathering, please refer to the provincial site.

Residents of HPEPH are commended for their ongoing perseverance and efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Thanks to these efforts, many businesses and establishments are able to re-open, with restrictions in place. However, this is not a return to normal. In order to maintain our progress, all residents are asked to remain thoughtful about daily choices, as individual efforts can make huge impact to stop the spread of illness.

Please carefully consider decisions to gather with others. Always maintain physical distancing from those outside your household, and avoid travel between different regions of Ontario.

Social gathering limits

In the Green-Prevent level of the provincial framework, social gatherings of 10 (indoors) and 25 (outdoors) are permitted. Despite these permissions, please continue to 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.

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.

Adapted with permission from Ottawa Public Health.


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HPEPH is currently offering vaccine to eligible groups. In order to keep our phone lines free for those who are currently eligible, please do NOT contact us to inquire about vaccinations unless you have been invited to participate.

Groups Currently Eligible

For booking information for eligible individuals, please visit


To pre-register for your 2nd dose appointment please complete the
Extended-Interval (16 Week) Second Dose Pre-Registration Form.

You will need to provide your health card number.


A province-wide Stay-at-Home order is in effect, and requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. Please avoid close contact with anyone outside your household. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.


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.