Skip to Main Content Health Care Professionals

ALERT: We are currently experiencing a very high volume of calls regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). Please be patient, your call will be returned.

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Search

Infection Control Recommendations for Day Camps when Reopening

The following infection control document is under further development as they were created to fit Stage 3 conditions and may not apply to all provincial lockdown requirements.

All businesses are to adhere to the Reopening Ontario Act and its regulations at all times. Where recommendations below contravene legislation or regulatory requirements, legislation or regulation prevails. The information below is not legal advice and does purport to be or to provide an interpretation of the law.



Screen all individuals


All individuals, including camp participants, staff and parents entering the day camp must be screened.

This includes daily temperature checks, which can be performed prior to arrival to the camp or upon entry to the program setting.


If screening is conducted at the camp setting, physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet) should be maintained between the screeners and those being screened, a barrier (e.g. plexiglass) should be put in place for physical separation or personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and face shield should be used.


Thermometers must be disinfected between use or have single-use protective covers.


Individuals, including camp participants, staff, and parents showing COVID-19 related symptoms or those who have come in close contact with a person with symptoms of or confirmed COVID-19 in the past 14 days or have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days should not be permitted to enter the day camp.


In addition to active screening, signs should be posted at all entrances to prompt those who are ill to not enter.


Camp participants should be monitored for atypical symptoms and signs of COVID-19 (e.g. unexplained fatigue, confusion, chills, headache)


If licensing is required under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, day camps must report suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, by contacting their local public health unit. Advice on specific control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and monitoring measures for potentially infected individuals will be provided by the HNHU.


Camp participant showing COVID-19 related symptoms must be isolated until they are picked up by parents/guardians.


Day camps must have a protocol in place, which includes designating an isolation room and notifying parents/guardians.


Post signage at public entrances advising visitors not to enter business.


As much as possible, parents/ guardians should not go past the screening area.


Camp participants should be escorted to their program after screening.


Where reservations or other appointments are made, advise or screen callers indicating to not attend premise if they feel unwell, have symptoms of COVID-19, have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Staff and Participants


Summer day camps should operate in cohorts of no more than 15 individuals, including staff and camp participants for a minimum of 7 days.


Maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between cohorts and any other individuals outside of the cohort when in shared outdoor space.


Minimize personal belongings (e.g., backpack, clothing, towel, water bottles, food, devices that support alternate communication methods, etc.) brought by camp participants. Label all personal items and keep them separate and spread out within the cohort. These items should not be handled by individuals from other cohorts.


Outline a schedule for play structures to only be used by one cohort at a time. Clean and disinfect before and after each use.


Cohorts cannot mix with other cohorts. Cohorts may be within the same room/space (e.g. staff areas/rooms, tents, gymnasiums, museums, hallways) at the same time when they can guarantee there will be no interaction/mixing between the cohorts at any point. This includes during pick-ups and drop-offs, mealtimes, playtime and outdoor activities.  Barriers can be put in place to assist with this.


Plans should be made to prevent mixing of cohorts in washrooms/change rooms and to frequently clean and disinfect shared surfaces in washrooms/change rooms.


Programs that utilize a room/space that is shared by cohorts or has other user groups (e.g., programs in museums, community centres, etc.)must ensure the room/space is cleaned and disinfected before and after using the space. A cleaning log must be posted and used to track cleaning.


Each cohort should have designated equipment (e.g., balls, loose equipment) or clean and disinfect equipment between cohort uses.


If a camp participant requires a support worker or other additional personnel assistance, this person(s) must be included in the cohort count and that individual should follow all guidance provided herein.


Recreational water activities (e.g., pool, lake, beach, splash pad, wading pool) must adhere to regulatory requirements as well as municipal guidance and restrictions.


Staff members assigned to a group of camp participants should not work or interact with other staff or camp participants during the workday. If there is a need to speak with other staff, they should maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) and wear mask.


If staff are required to change to other duties involving potential interaction with another cohort, they must wear a mask when entering the space of the other cohort. The staff member should practice hand hygiene when entering and leaving the space.


Considering staffing ratios and staff expertise that may be needed to support camp participants with special needs. Physical distancing may be more challenging to achieve for participants who have communication issues or behaviour challenges.


Staff should work at only one location. Supply/replacement staff should be assigned to specific cohorts.

Ensure physical and social distancing.


Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between camp participants, parents/guardians and staff.


Incorporate more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between participants.


Considerations should be made for occupancy and layout of both indoor and outdoor areas to address this (e.g. play areas). Although physical distancing is advised, this must not compromise supervision or camp participant safety.


Limit the total number of people at the workplace and where they are assigned to work. Have staff work from home whenever possible (i.e. administrative staff), work schedules and break schedule adjustments where possible. Consider video or telephone conferencing for meeting between parents/guardians and staff. Restrict visitors and limit workplace entry to only essential personnel.


Pick-up and drop-off of camp participants should happen outside the day camp setting unless there is a determined need for the parent/guardian to enter the setting. There should be a pick-up and drop-off procedures in place supporting physical distancing and cohorting, such as separating cohort entrances, avoiding group transportation, designating parent/guardian pick-up and drop-off area and limiting the numbers of people in entry areas.


Place signage and markers to notify camp participants, staff and others attending of physical distancing requirements. Consider using signage/markings on the ground to direct families through the entry steps.


Encourage physical space between camp participants by spreading them out into different areas; staggering or alternating lunchtime and outdoor playtime and incorporating more individual activities or activities that encourage more space between camp participants.


Avoid getting close to faces of camp participants where possible. Limit the amount of face-to-face contact during activities (for camp participants and staff).


Arrange furniture, camp equipment and activity stations used by camp participants and staff more than 2 meters apart.


If the program includes naps, increase the distance between nap mats of cohorts to at least 2 metres, if possible. If space is tight, place camp participants head-to-toe or toe-to-toe and use temporary barriers, where possible. Linens must be laundered between camp participants.


Do not use community playgrounds; however outdoor play at the day camp is encouraged in small groups which facilitate physical distancing.


Set and post occupancy limits for indoor areas to ensure participants and staff can stay 2 metres apart. Smaller public areas within the premise (e.g. washrooms) should also have occupancy limits that are posted.


Where two cohorts are using the same indoor space (e.g. gym), ensure that a floor to ceiling temporary physical barrier is in place to ensure that physical distancing of at least 2 meters between cohorts is maintained.


Avoid carpooling. Where sharing vehicles is required, passengers should sit in back seats (if available).  Commuters should wear masks and open windows if possible.


Indoor singing activities and use of wind instruments should be avoided. Outdoor singing activities and use of brass or wind instruments should maintain physical distancing.


Trips/ activities requiring group transportation should be avoided

Provide easy access to hand washing or hand sanitizer


Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content should be provided at all entrances, program settings and screening stations.


Have all employees and visitors employees perform hand hygiene before entering and after contact with surfaces others have touched.  Hand washing is required where hands are visibly dirty whereas hand sanitizer can be used if hands are not visibly dirty.


Hand washing using soap and water is recommended over hand sanitizer for children.


Incorporate additional hand hygiene opportunities into the daily schedule. This is particularly important where camp participants are assisted with toileting and activities of daily living.


Where possible, supervise hand washing. Children should always be supervised if using hand sanitizer.


Position hand sanitizer stations in accessible but safe locations. Dispensers should not be in locations that can be accessed by young children.


Post signage to encourage proper hand washing in washrooms and food handling areas.


Ensure hand wash stations are adequately supplied at all times.

Enhance environmental cleaning


Increase routine cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, light switches, phones, railings, tabletops, water fountain knobs, toilet and faucet handles), electronic devices, toys, objects and other equipment.


Clean and disinfect a room/space that is shared by cohorts before and after use of the room/space by each cohort. Keep a log of cleaning and disinfection.


Play structures can only be used by one cohort at a time and must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use by each cohort.


Ensure all toys, objects and equipment used at the day camp are made of material that can be cleaned and disinfected (i.e. avoid playdough) or consider single use items that are disposed at the end of the day (e.g. craft supplies).


If toys, objects and equipment are shared, ensure they are cleaned and disinfected at a minimum between cohorts.


Clean and disinfect washrooms at least twice per day and when visibly soiled.


Ensure staff are trained in proper use of cleaning and disinfection products (e.g. contact times, if PPE needs to be worn).


Clean surfaces immediately following spills or where someone displays respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough or sneeze) in the area. Remove items that cannot be properly cleaned or disinfected (e.g. stuffed animals) after becoming contaminated.


Change stations should be cleaned and disinfected between each use.


Disinfectants and cleaning products used should have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) and virucidal claim. Check expiry dates and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.


Ensure safe and correct use and storage of disinfectants to avoid food contamination and harm to staff, camp participants and other individuals. This includes storing products securely away from children.


Wash, rinse, disinfect, and then sanitize food contact surfaces, food preparation surfaces, and food preparation equipment.


Ensure that cleaning or disinfecting product residues are not left on table surfaces. Residues could cause allergic reactions or cause someone to ingest the chemicals.


Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.

Ensure food is provided safely


Ensure proper hand hygiene is practices before and after eating and when staff are preparing food.


Ensure there is no self-serve or sharing of food at mealtimes. Camp participants must have their own individual meal or snack with no common food items (e.g., salt/pepper shaker). Reinforce “no food sharing” policies.


Label camp participant’s drink bottle and ensure they are kept with them and not shared.


Meals should be served in individual portions to camp participants.


Non-disposable food service items (e.g. utensils, dishes) should only be provided upon food service.


Remove self-serving food items and open access dishware


Use disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes, napkins, tablecloths). If disposable items are not feasible or desirable, ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water, or in a dishwasher after each use. Employees should wash their hands after removing their gloves or after handling used food service items.


There should be no food provided by the family outside of the regular meal provision of the program (except where required and special precautions for handling and serving the food must be put in place).


Camp participants should neither prepare nor provide food that will be shared with others.


Camp participants should practice physical distancing while eating.


There should be no sharing of utensils.


Fill water bottles rather than drinking from the mouthpiece of water fountains


Shared Items


Provide each cohort with designated equipment (e.g., balls). If this is not possible, clean and disinfect equipment before and after each cohort uses the equipment.


Minimize the sharing of toys, objects and equipment and the touching of surfaces.


Water or sensory tables should not be used.


Do not share personal items (e.g. sun protection).


Ensure each participant has their own drink bottle that is labelled and not shared.


Play structures can only be used by one cohort at a time and must be cleaned and disinfected before and after use by each cohort.

Provide personal protective equipment and physical barriers where applicable


Where persons cannot maintain physical distancing, install barriers (e.g. plexiglass) or provide appropriate PPE (e.g.face coverings/ masks for staff who may need to be within 2 m of customers or other staff members). Change face covering/masks when they are visibly soiled, damp, or damaged.


Face coverings may not be tolerated by everyone based on underlying health, behaviour issues or beliefs. Consideration should be given to mitigating any possible physical and psychological injuries that may inadvertently be caused by wearing a face covering (e.g., interfering with the ability to see or speak clearly, or becoming accidentally lodged in equipment the wearer is operating).


Appropriate PPE should be determined based on the task being completed


Ensure staff are trained as to how to don (i.e. put on) and doff (i.e. take off) PPE


Change out of work clothing at the end of each shift and wash them. Do not store your street clothes and work clothing in the same space unless both are clean

Provide alternative service delivery where possible

Avoid offering any self-serve food or drink options.

Activities with exposures to animals or pets should be avoided. Activities with limited or no touching (e.g., horseback riding, wildlife viewing, etc.) should follow all requirements for health and safety as well as the Recommendations for the Management of Animals in Child Care Settings document


Avoid cash transactions. Debit or credit using ‘tap’ option is preferred. If cash transaction is used, ask customers and employees to exchange cash or card payments by placing on a receipt tray or on the counter rather than by hand to avoid direct hand to hand contact.


Consider implementing a system for virtual and/or telephone consultations when and where possible. Non-essential face-to-face appointments should be postponed or converted to virtual appointments.


Consider extending business hours if it reduces surges in camp participants.


Hold meetings so that everyone is 2 metres (6 feet) or more apart, online or via teleconference.


Offer options for vulnerable employees at higher risk for severe illness (including older adults and people of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions) that limits their exposure risk (e.g., modified job responsibilities).

Get your water system ready after a prolonged facility shutdown


For those on a municipal or communal water supply, flush your water lines by opening all faucets for 10-15 minutes and the water runs clear.


For those on a private water supply, ensure equipment is operating properly (e.g. filters, treatment units), flush and consider shock chlorinating system. Only commence use of water system once satisfactory drinking water samples are obtained.   

Increase ventilation


Where possible, increase the ventilation system’s air intake or open doors and windows. Avoid central recirculation where possible. Change HVAC system filters regularly.


Similarly, open windows when in vehicles with others where possible.

Manage ill camp participants and staff.


Do not permit camp participants who are ill to attend the day camp.


Programs must keep daily records of anyone (e.g., camp participants, parent/guardian, and staff) entering the program setting. Records (e.g., name, contact information, time of arrival/departure, screening completion, etc.) must be kept up-to-date and available to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case or outbreak.


If a camp participant begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 while in the day camp, immediately separate the symptomatic camp participant from others until they can go home. Ensure the camp participant is in a supervised area. Staff caring for a symptomatic camp participant should maintain a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet). If a separate room is not available, the sick person should be kept at a minimum of 2 meters (6 feet) from others.


If it is not possible to maintain a 2-metre distance from the ill camp participant, contact the local public health unit to get direction on preventing/limiting virus transmission to those providing care. While contacting the local public health unit, the camp participant (if above the age of 2) and staff member should wear a surgical/procedure mask, and the staff member should also wear other PPE appropriate for the circumstance (goggles or face shield).


Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette should be practiced while the camp participant is waiting to be picked up.


Tissues should be provided to the camp participant for proper respiratory etiquette, along with proper disposal of the tissues.


Notify the local public health unit of a potential case and seek guidance on the information that needs to be shared with parents/ guardians of camp participants and staff.


Children in particular should be monitored for atypical symptoms and signs of COVID-19


Programs must have protocols in place to notify parents/guardians if a camp participant begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 while in the day camp, including the need for immediate pick up.


If licensing is required under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, day camps have a duty to report suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The day camp should contact their local public health unit to report a camp participant suspected to have COVID-19. The local public health unit will provide specific advice on what control measures should be implemented to prevent the potential spread and how to monitor for other possible infected staff members and camp participants. The local public health unit can also provide the employer guidance on what information should be shared with other parents/guardians of children in the day camp.


Environmental cleaning and disinfection of the space where the camp participant is separated from others should take place following their pickup. Additionally, all spaces and items attended and handled by the camp participant should be cleaned and disinfected. All items that cannot be cleaned (paper, books, cardboard puzzles) should be removed and stored in a sealed container for a minimum of 7 days.


Other camp participants and staff in the day camp who were present while a camp participant or staff member became ill should be identified as a close contact and cohorted (i.e., grouped together). The local public health unit will provide any further direction on testing and isolation of these close contacts.


Camp participant or staff who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 should be excluded from the day camp for 14 days.


Camp participant or staff who have been in contact with a suspected COVID-19 case should be monitored for symptoms and cohorted (i.e., grouped together) until laboratory tests, if any, have been completed or until directed by the local public health unit.


Staff members and camp participants awaiting test results should be excluded from camp.


Symptomatic staff and camp participants should be referred for testing. Testing of asymptomatic persons should only be performed as directed by the local public health unit as part of outbreak management.


The employer should consult with the local public health unit to determine when the staff member can return to work.


Day camps must consider a single, symptomatic, laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member or camp participant as a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak in consultation with the local public health unit. Outbreaks should be declared in collaboration between the day camp program and the local public health unit to ensure an outbreak number is provided.

Keep staff up-to-date on the evolving situation and applicable health and safety issues


Ensure staff know how to report an illness in a timely manner and take action to protect themselves and others when at work


Review signs, symptoms and methods of transmission of COVID-19


Ensure staff know when and how to self-isolate should it be required


Consider having a point person for each shift that can address COVID-19 concerns

As with all workplaces, the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be applied.  Safety is everyone’s responsibility under the act and thus all staff should assess and plan to address their tasks with infection control in mind.


Application of R.A.C.E. is recommended:

Rrecognize the hazard

Aassess the risk associated with the hazard

Ccontrol the risk associated with the hazard (e.g. Hierarchy of Controls)

Eevaluate the controls

Please be advised, the HNHU is not responsible to address health and safety complaints issued by employees against their employers.  Employees and employers seeking further direction on occupational health and safety measures should consult the Ministry of Labour.