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FAQs: COVID-19 enforcement

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about what is – and isn’t – allowed under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act, or by provincial or other order.

Click here to learn more about Ontario’s list of essential workplaces.

To notify our enforcement team of an issue in the community, please call 519-428-8019.

Other people are having a few people over, is this allowed?


The province has prohibited social gatherings of more than five people. This does not apply to people who live in the same household. Visits should be limited to essential purposes, such as food delivery, and should be from a safe distance.

There are a group of neighbours talking in one of their driveways, is this allowed?


Social gatherings larger than five are prohibited by the province. Social distancing is strongly recommended at all times.

My ex-spouse is not following social distancing rules. What should I do?


The province has prohibited a social gathering of more than five people, but this does not apply to a gathering of members of a single household, that is people who live in the same household. We recognize some children live in more than one household. Visiting with non-household individuals, including other family members, is strongly discouraged for non-essential purposes. If it is necessary it should be from a safe distance. It may be illegal if it involves more than five people who do not reside in the same household. In the event a custody dispute arises, please contact your legal counsel for advice.

What are landscapers allowed to do?


As of May 4th, landscapers are now considered an essential service and are permitted to provide any services that they typically provide.

What services can pool companies do?


At this time companies servicing pools are restricted from operating unless they meet the requirements as outlined by the province. Maintenance and repair are permitted strictly to maintain the safety, security, sanitation, and essential operation of residential properties and buildings. While the weather is cool, companies servicing pools are not permitted to open or fill a pool for the season. However, as the weather becomes warmer, it may become necessary to arrange for pool servicing and maintenance to address safe water chemistry or stagnant water/West Nile virus. These concerns generally do not arise until the end of May or beginning of June and maintenance is encouraged nearer to the warm weather being upon us.

 Are greenhouses allowed to be open and do they have to be curbside?


As of May 8, 2020 garden centres and nurseries will be allowed to be open and are allowed to have customers enter to purchase and pay for products much like grocery stores.

Are parks and trails open?


Yes, parks (though not playground equipment) and trails are open for use. Please practice safe social distancing while using these areas, and do not gather in groups larger than five.

Where can I fish?


Provided social distancing, gatherings of 5 or less and applicable fishing legislation (e.g. catch limits) is adhered to, shore fishing may resume from properties that are open to the public and allowing persons to do so. Please note: fishing is still not permitted from properties closed to the public such as Port Dover pier and public beaches. People are encouraged to visit conservation authority and provincial park websites to find out which of their properties are open.

Can I boat?


Yes, and marinas are now permitted to open when they are ready, and both Haldimand and Norfolk have opened their marinas and boat launches. Check with your specific marina for details. 

What workplaces are considered essential by the Ontario government?


The Province of Ontario’s list of essential workplaces can be found here.

I'm a photographer - can I open my business now?

The Province of Ontario’s list of essential workplaces can be found here. At present, it does not include photographers or photography studios.

Can I visit/have a yard sale?


The Health Unit strongly discourages yard or garage sale at this time. It will be difficult to control gatherings and maintain the necessary physical distancing, increasing the risk of COVID-19 community spread. Instead, the Health Unit strongly recommends selling items through trusted online means and contactless pick up. Those purchasing used items should clean and disinfect them prior to use (e.g. wash used clothing, clean and disinfect tools, furniture, etc.) and should avoid purchasing any used items that cannot be cleaned or disinfected.


Yard and garage sales that operate as a business (for example those who hold multiple yard or garage sales in a year or those who sell used good from multiple households) are not deemed essential by the province and must be closed at this time.

Can I go camping or stay at my trailer park?


As of Saturday, May 16, 2020 seasonal campgrounds are open to trailers and recreational vehicles that are permitted to be there by the terms of a full season contract.  Short term stays are not permitted at this time.  Only campsites with electricity, water service and facilities for sewage disposal are allowed for use and public facilities (e.g. washrooms, playgrounds) are closed.  Please note:  Operators are permitted in other areas of the campground that are closed to patrons for the purposes of preparing the campground for reopening.

Can I go golfing?


As of Saturday, May 16, 2020, golf courses and outdoor golf driving ranges are open with restrictions as determined by the province. Clubhouses, restaurants, pools, meeting rooms, fitness centres or other recreational facilities on the premises are to remain closed to the public.  Washrooms can be opened and take-out food service is allowed.

What should businesses be doing to keep staff and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?


The Province of Ontario has developed a number sector-specific guidelines for businesses to follow to keep their staff and customers safe.  Employers are also responsible to ensure the Occupational Health and Safety Act is adhered to in their workplace.

Can I stay at my cottage or other secondary residence in Haldimand or Norfolk Counties?


On May 16, 2020, the Medical Officer of Health rescinded the order prohibiting occupancy of a secondary residence for those residing outside of Haldimand or Norfolk. However, the Health Unit continues to ask people to postpone non-essential travel. If travel to your secondary residence is absolutely necessary, please bring your own groceries and fuel up your vehicle in your home community.


What outdoor amenities are open? Which are closed?


Outdoor amenities that are open:

  • Off-leash dog areas
  • Open space areas, parks, trails, and sports fields, are open for walk through or similar use only; sports fields are closed for team sports
  • Park benches and shelters, picnic sites
  • Low-contact sports amenities for tennis, badminton, pickle ball and ping pong
  • Two metre physical distancing must be maintained and groups of greater than five are prohibited, except for those in the same household

Outdoor amenities that are closed:

  • Playgrounds, play structures and equipment
  • Fitness equipment
  • Splash pads
  • Municipal washrooms

Where can I stay if I visit Haldimand or Norfolk Counties?


Short-term rental accommodation is severely restricted at this time. Provincially, no short-term rentals are permitted except for those are in need of housing during the emergency period, though hotels, motels and student residences are excepted from this restriction.


Additionally, the Haldimand-Norfolk Medical Officer of Health has prohibited short-term rentals for any purpose at any location that would normally accommodate short-term stays, including hotels and motels, if those stays are less than 8 days. Exceptions for emergency or essential worker needs may be permitted upon approval by the Medical Officer of Health.

Are beaches open?


At this time provincial beaches and all beaches in Haldimand and Norfolk are closed. The Health Unit enforcement team patrols beaches in the two counties, but has no jurisdiction over provincial beaches. If you have concerns about provincial beaches, please call the provincial park warden for the particular provincial beach or call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.


Can I sit on the patio at a food premise (e.g. take-out food, food truck, bar, restaurant)?


Food premises like food trucks, restaurants and bars are currently only allowed to provide take-out or delivery services. This means that people are not able to eat at the property including inside the premise, outside on a patio or any other seating at that location. All food premises should remove or block all inside and outside seating and ensure social distancing requirements are being followed at all times.