COVID-19 Updates & Resources
A Message From Your Friends at Algoma Country:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Not forgetful. In these uncertain times, we’re doing our best to safeguard what is most precious to us. We cannot wait to welcome you back!
Updated Notice: Ontario has entered a provincial state of emergency to address the COVID-19 crisis. The province has issued a stay-at-home order and enhanced measures effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 am for 28 days.
There are a number of measures in place, but are not limited to the following:
- Restricting indoor access to shopping malls – patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (i.e. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
- Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings – curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25% capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50% capacity for in-store shopping.
- All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 am and close no later than 8 pm
- Restaurants and bars, and all other types of dining establishments can not open. They can provide take-out, delivery or drive-through services only.
- The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery.
- No indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with).
- Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings are restricted to a limit of 5 people with limited exceptions. This is consistent with the rules during the lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 in Spring 2020 and will allow individuals and families to enjoy time outdoors safely.
- Individuals are required to wear a mask or face covering in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open. Wearing a mask or face covering is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.
- Pools, spas, fitness centres, common areas, meeting spaces, and any other indoor recreational facilities must be closed.
- Tour and guide services are not permitted.
- Outdoor recreation such as ice rinks, snowmobile, cross country, dog sledding, ice-skating and snow-shoe trails, tobogganing hills and skating trails are permitted to be open as long as social distancing can be maintained. Ski hills must be closed.
- Businesses must record the name and contact information of each patron, as well as screen each patron upon arrival (i.e. questionnaire about COVID-19 symptoms, if they’ve been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive, and recent travel).
- Businesses or places that are open shall ensure that equipment, washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers that are accessible to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
Learn about Ontario’s plan to reopen businesses, services and public spaces as the fight against COVID-19 continues at: www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario
To learn more about Ontario’s COVID-19 zones: www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open
It’s important to do our part: this page is dedicated to resources and information about what we’re doing in Algoma Country and Northern Ontario to welcome you back when the timing is right. Your well being is our number one priority. Businesses and communities are continually implementing and updating enhanced health & safety protocols, and developing new and innovative ways to ensure you have fun safely.
The information found below is affected by the current Ontario-wide Stay-at-Home Order for the next 28 days. The information is to help you better understand the health & safety guidelines and protocols in place by businesses for when it is safe to travel again.
Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols
1. The next time you visit, things will look a bit different.
Businesses are learning new ways to serve you during these unprecedented times:
- Welcome signage for physical distancing, cleaning enhancements, current health & safety orders
- Non-medical Masks or Face Coverings required indoors
- Plexiglass barriers to help protect visitors and front line workers
- Hand sanitizer to assist with proper hand hygiene
- Online services such as bookings, shopping, takeout orders and more
2. Public Health Units in our region have issued mandatory indoor mask or face coverings orders.
You can learn about the orders, and FAQs from each Public Health Unit that services our catchment area:
- Algoma Public Health
- Porcupine Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Thunder Bay Public Health
We ask you to please adhere to the mandatory mask orders for indoor public settings. This means you should bring a mask with you at all times. Be prepared to wear a mask in indoor public settings, or outdoors when physical distancing isn’t easy. If you forgot your mask, businesses may be able to offer you one, and some businesses may sell locally made masks.
Do you have any questions or concerns about wearing non-medical masks? Algoma Public Health has Face Coverings Resources that may help you.
Additional Resource: Canada’s public health agency – How to safely use a non-medical mask or face covering
3. Sometimes, you may have to wait in line, or make a reservation in advance. We appreciate your patience. Please know that while service may not be as speedy as usual, it’s because staff is taking the time to maintain a healthy environment.
4. Businesses of all types have ensured all aspects of your stay are considered, but are not limited to:
- Arrival & departure whether by plane, train, or automobile
- Check-in & check-out
- Equipment rentals, life vests
- Enhancements to cleaning
- Housekeeping cleaning protocols
- Changes to common areas such as dining
- Guide services, and more
Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the new enhancements and protocols. It’s important we hear from you.
Mandatory Record Keeping in Restaurants, Bars, Boat Tours
It’s important for you to know that as of August 7, 2020, all restaurants (indoor and outdoor dining), bars, boat tours and guide services are required to keep client logs for a period of 30 days. These client logs can only be disclosed to the medical officer of health, or a health inspector upon request. This measure is to help with support case and contact tracing. Please help us keep our communities and businesses safe by doing your part and providing the correct information to these businesses!
What information will you be asked for?
- name and contact information, like a phone number
- contact information for only one person in a party entering indoor or outdoor dining areas is now required, with exceptions
What types of guide services and boat tours will ask for this information?
- Guided fishing and hunting trips, tastings and tours of wineries, breweries and distilleries, trail riding, walking tours, bicycle tours, and other motor sports vehicle tours
Keeping Our Communities Safe
The health of our region’s residents is our top priority. Our region’s communities have taken steps to implement the most current health & safety guidelines in their community. As we work to keep Ontario safe and open, it’s imperative that we follow these guidelines and protocols closely.
To do this, we ask that you respect and adhere to guidelines:
- Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when in a public indoor space
- If you are sick, please stay home
- Follow physical distancing guidelines in different types of situations and settings (6 feet apart/2 metres apart)
- Wash your hands frequently
- Follow any other guidelines or policies set by businesses and communities
Be Kind. Please be Compassionate. Please be Respectful. We want to create positive and friendly environments within our communities and businesses.
Recommended reading: How to Travel Safely to Northern Ontario
What’s Open in Algoma
Please Note: current state of emergency orders will affect how businesses operate for the next 28 days.
With a phased approach and directive from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, more and more businesses have been able to remain open.
Food Services & Dining
Restaurants, bars, and indoor dining services may vary based on provincial COVID-19 zones and orders. Outdoor patios, takeout services, and curb-side pickups can be arranged at many establishments. No matter your preference, you will be able to enjoy delicious food and drink options.
You can expect these current restrictions: no buffets, tables spaced 2 metres apart, gathering restrictions and mandatory mask orders
All patrons will be required to be seated at all times, in both indoor and outdoor areas, with limited exceptions.
Rules for Bars, Food & Drink Establishments
Restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments must now prohibit the sale of alcohol at 11 pm, prohibit the consumption of alcohol from 12am to 9am (including employees), and close by midnight and remain closed until 5am (except for takeout or delivery).
Restaurants and Bars can sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders, and can also offer mixed cocktails and growlers with their food delivery or takeout orders.
Places to Stay
All types of places to stay are allowed to open: lodges & resorts, remote outposts, cottage resorts, campgrounds & RV parks, motels & hotels, and bed & breakfasts. There are new policies, guidelines, and may be some restrictions, please know that tourism businesses are ready for your arrival and will provide you with the very best in hospitality. Click here: Where to Stay to speak with businesses to plan your future trip.
As the province moves through levels by region, our region’s attractions can open. In the region’s catchment area, golf courses, heritage sites, museums, access to natural wonders are ready and waiting for you. We recommend following attractions on social media for virtual experiences. This is a good way to keep up to date on what’s happening.
What’s your favourite outdoor activity? Hiking, cycling, fishing, boating, swimming, parks, camping, or maybe it’s something else you love to do. We’ve always been a place to get away from it all and disconnect! We have the vast wilderness, no crowds, and wide-open spaces that you’re looking for.
Social Circle vs Social Gathering
Please Note: all gathering limits are currently affected by the Stay-at-Home orders.
We love traveling with our family and friends as much as you do! To make sure we’re following the guidance from public health, we want to help you understand the differences between a Social Circle and a Social Gathering.
Social Circle – a group of up to 10 of the same people who can interact with one another without physical distancing, regardless of which stage of reopening their region is in. Social or public gatherings may include different social circles, but are subject to gathering limits and physical distancing of at least two metres. Learn more about social circles.
Social Gathering – refers to a planned or spontaneous event, indoors or outdoors, such as a community event or gathering, wedding, funeral, concert, live show, festival, conference, parade, sporting event, fundraiser, fair, festival, or open house. These settings would be subject to indoor and outdoor gathering limits until the recovery phase.
Update on Gathering Limits For Private Social Gatherings:
Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.
The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:
- indoor event or gathering: 10 people
- outdoor event or gathering: 25 people
Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be combined. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.
Physical distancing remains a requirement for those that are not in the same household or social circle.
*The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect. These are:
- Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people
- Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people
A two-metre distance (or 6 feet apart) must still be maintained at these events.
The Canada-U.S. border closure has been extended until February 21, 2021. To all our U.S. friends: we miss you and cannot wait until we can welcome you back when the time is right! We will keep you updated on changes in orders.
You can reach out any time with questions and interest in planning a future trip to Algoma Country.
Algoma Country Staff
We’re happy to answer your questions and provide you with the most up to date information. Here are the many ways to reach us:
Toll Free: 1-800-263-2546
PM – Facebook
DM – Instagram
Start planning your next adventure by ordering our visitor guide or navigating through our website to learn more about how you can enjoy your favourite activities in our area.
Need to reach a travel information centre in our region? Find visitor centres in Algoma by clicking here
Need help navigating Ontario? Our friends at Ontario Travel are happy to help:
Live Chat Available on the website
Toll Free: 1-800-ONTARIO (1-800-668-2746) toll-free 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays (excluding December 25 and January 1). All hours are Eastern Standard Time (EST).