COVID-19 Guidance for Special Events (Indoor and Outdoor)
As of Oct. 2, Ontario recommends we all pull back from our social circles and limit close contact only to those living in their own household.
Large gatherings like special events can contribute to the spread of respiratory pathogens, such as COVID-19.
The following guidance is to support event organizers and operators with their planning. It provides recommendations to reduce the risks of COVID-19 -- it's not legal advice. Indoor and outdoor events or gatherings covered in the guidance includes:
Concerts and live shows, including performing arts events
Meeting or event spaces
Movie theatres and cinemas
All other organized or spontaneous indoor and outdoor events and social gatherings, such as parties, fundraisers, fairs, wedding receptions and funeral receptions
Requirements issued by Niagara Region and / or local municipalities to ensure your plan and venue complies with regulations, including public health measures from Niagara Region Public Health
Individuals or groups planning to organize or operate any event where the general public is invited and will consume food or beverages or receive personal services must notify Niagara Region Public Health. Complete and submit an application within the required 30 days of the event for review by a public health inspector.
If your event doesn't have any food or personal service settings vendors, you don't need to notify Niagara Region Public Health.
This application doesn't replace the need for applicable city permits. You must contact your local municipality for permits.
Minimum Guidance Requirements
The province has set restrictions and public gathering limits for higher risk settings and activities where people assemble. These limits apply to indoor and outdoor events and include staying at least two metres away from people who are outside your household.
Indoor and outdoor events or gatherings cannot be combined in order to increase the applicable limit on the number of people at the event or gathering. Refer to Ontario Regulation 364/20 for more detailed information and exceptions.
Consider pre-event / gathering communications to attendees to share information on protocols and expected behaviours. Reinforce the message that people must not attend if they're ill.
Use posters to encourage passive screening before entering the venue. Direct anyone who answers YES to any of the screening questions to go home immediately, self-isolate, and call their health care provider or the COVID-19 Info-Line at 905-688-8248 and a public health professional will provide further direction.
All staff, patrons and performers must wear a face covering indoors, as per the face covering by-law. Some exceptions apply, including children under the age of five, and people with medical conditions that make wearing a face covering difficult.
Face coverings are strongly recommended outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained
Workers must wear eye protection where patrons without face coverings are within two metres of workers
Employers should refer to the sector-specific guidelines to find out what types of mask guidelines and preventive measures are appropriate for their workplace settings
Assign staff to complete environmental cleaning and disinfection duties
Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces and objects at least twice daily or more often when visibly soiled in staff, vendor, performer and patron areas, such as doorknobs, tabletops and railings
Consider virtual options, such as live streaming, pre-recorded shows, small acoustic concerts, solo performances, or virtual reality and other digital experiences
Where possible, hold events outdoors instead of indoors
Offer more events / gatherings at a reduced capacity rather than hosting a single large event / gathering, such as offering multiple, staggered activities with a limit on the number of attendees
Allow sufficient time between events / gatherings for safe and distanced exit and entry, and sufficient environmental cleaning and disinfecting in between
Keep the duration of the event / gathering to a minimum to limit contact among attendees
Close or restrict access to non-essential common areas, such as photo booth with props, merchandise kiosks, concession stands and communal lounges
Discourage activities that can contribute to the spread of COVID-19, such as singing, cheering, dancing, playing wind instruments and hugging. Encourage alternative practices, where applicable, such as humming, clapping, noisemakers and waving.
Keep a list of names and contact information for all individuals who attend the event / gathering. The contact list shall be disclosed to a Niagara Region Public Health professional for COVID-19 contact tracing or where other public health purposes are required. The contact list must be securely stored for 30 days and then destroyed by the premise operator, if it's not used for the purposes outlined above.
Develop protocols in advance that specifically address how to safely care for attendees who develop COVID-19 related symptoms, or who need care for such things as injury, illness or who are emotionally upset while at the event / gathering
Contact Niagara Region Public Health COVID-19 Info-Line at 905-688-8248 press 7, then press 3 for guidance if you have been notified that an employee, vendor, performer or attendee has tested positive, and / or you have concerns that others may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 at the event / gathering