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Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

Trail Etiquette and COVID-19 - The Novel Corona Virus

For the foreseeable future the Covid-19 virus has changed everything about you and the outdoors.

The personal and public protocol required by emergency orders, and enforced through By-Law, is to stop the spread of the virus.

To do this best:

1. Stay home.

2. If you have been exposed or have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 quarantine yourself for 14 days. Quarantine Information

3. Self-isolation controls the spread. Self-Isolation Information

4. Social distancing is a way to be in public while limiting the chance of transmission. Social Distancing Information

5. Essential trips only.

6. No unnecessary travel.


7. TRAILS – some public spaces are open, while on the trail maintain your distance, no group interaction. Single file activity only.

8. Vacancy – many public spaces may be closed, have a trail and yet look open. They may not be. They are just empty. Do not use closed empty spaces.

9. Passing - step as far to the side as possible, note - many trails are too narrow to maintain a 2-metre distance side by side. If you cannot do this along the length of the trail don’t use the trail.

10. Trail Maps - not all trails have signs or maps showing pinch points where the trail narrows to less than 2 meters. Find out about the trail before you use the trail.

11. Trails not otherwise closed are open for “walkable access”. Being open does not mean trail use is encouraged. See 1-6. It means you are not restricted from using the trail for "walkable access." 

12. Other Uses - 

a. Regular Trail Users you know your trail and trail areas best. Perhaps in your area you are more able to maintain your trail use. Please follow steps 1-6, if you do go out do not gather at trailheads, avoid contact with others.

b. Irregular Trail Users - if you are unfamiliar with the trail and the trail area seek out a knowledgeable expert before going out. If one cannot be found because trail supports, the administration or management office is closed - stay home.

13. Your Health and the Health of others is now Your responsibility. Please do your part to reduce the spread of the Novel Corona Virus to 0 transmissions.

As parks and public spaces close, remaining open trails are going to be used more. Concentrated use may be a problem. BE AWARE.

Remember when on the trail, expect and respect other users! A healthy trail attitude includes safety, respect, and relaxation. 

More information

Ontario Trails COVID-19 Page

Ontario Trails Open and Closed Trails

Ontario Trails Trail Poll

Regarding Trails - March 30, 2020

Emergency Order Extended - non-essential trips, including ON trails- restricted.

Consider your trail closed. Consider your outside exercise severley limited towards 0.

Consider the trails on this website closed.

EMERGENCY ORDER = Government of Ontario.

Many other regional or municipal governments have also passed their own emergency order thereby strengthening the Provinces course of action.

"Based on the best medical advice available, we are taking further steps today to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians by closing outdoor recreational amenities, like sports fields and playgrounds, and extending our emergency orders to save lives. We all need to work together and do our part to stop COVID-19 by staying home, practising physical distancing, and avoiding social gatherings."

This new order would close all communal or shared, public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities. Green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and conservation areas that aren't otherwise closed would remain open for walkthrough access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres apart from others. Ontario's provincial parks and conservation reserves remain closed."

In General - the outdoors offer fresh air and exercise. Playgrounds are closed.

Trails, exterior paths of travel, sidewalks and roads unless otherwise posted are open for individual use where users practice social distancing. Individuals must remain 2 meters apart, on the trail and at trailheads.

The City of Orangeville writes "During the COVID-19 period of social distancing, when people are encouraged to stay home, town officials repeat essential outings do not include trips to the skate park or playground..Parks and trails remain open for walkers based on maintaining “social distancing.” Orangeville police will be conducting extra patrols of these areas."

All activity organizers have cancelled group activity, group hikes for example.

Most trail sites like parks and nature centres have closed administration, education and recreation centres and buildings.

Distance Needed Even When Walking Around

Get a sense of Space - Social Distancing Tool in Toronto

What is Social Distancing?

Social Distancing in the Outdoors

Open and Closed Trails

Ontario Trails Statement to Members

Risk to Canadians


At this time, (March 12, 2020) PHAC has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada but this could change rapidly. There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • aged 65 and over
  • with compromised immune systems
  • with underlying medical conditions

While a COVID-19 outbreak is not unexpected in Canada, our public health system is prepared to respond. PHAC, along with provincial, territorial and community partners, continues to reassess the public health risk, based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves.

The risk to Canadian travellers abroad will vary depending on the destination, as well as the person’s age and health status. There are some destinations where the Government of Canada recommends avoiding all travel or all non-essential travel. Check the latest travel health notices before travelling.

As well, the risk for COVID-19 may be increased for certain settings such as:

  • cruise ships
  • heavily affected areas
  • international conferences and other large gatherings in enclosed spaces

It is important for all travellers to:

  • self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after returning to Canada
  • avoid places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill

If you have even mild symptoms, stay home and call the public health authority in the province or territory you are in to inform them. They will provide advice on what you should do.

We will continue to adapt our risk assessment based on the latest data available.

How coronavirus spreads

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
  • close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

Preventing coronavirus

At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to protect against it.

If you have travelled to an at-risk area

If you have travelled to Hubei province, China, Iran or Italy in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others for 14 days, starting the day you began your journey to Canada. This means self-isolate and stay at home. Contact the public health authority in your province or territory within 24 hours of arriving in Canada for advice.

If you have COVID-19, reduce contact with others

If you are sick, the following steps will help to reduce contact with others:

  • stay at home and self-isolate (unless directed to seek medical care)
    • if you must leave your home, wear a mask or cover your mouth and nose with tissues, and maintain a 2-metre distance from others
  • avoid individuals in hospitals and long-term care centres, especially older adults and those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems
  • avoid having visitors to your home
  • cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing and sneezing
  • have supplies delivered to your home instead of running errands
    • supplies should be dropped off outside to ensure a 2-metre distance

Being prepared

It is important to know how you can prepare in case you or a family member become ill.

Self-isolate vs. self-monitor

There is a difference between advice to self-isolate and advice to self-monitor.

You should self-isolate if:

  • you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • local public health has identified you as a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19

If you have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 or identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you may be asked to self-monitor.

This means:

  • monitor yourself for symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing

If symptoms develop:

  • stay home
  • limit contact with others
  • contact local public health, and follow their instructions


Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
    • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • when coughing or sneezing:
    • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
    • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • clean the following high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water):
    • toys
    • toilets
    • phones
    • electronics
    • door handles
    • bedside tables
    • television remotes

Wearing masks

If you are a healthy individual, the use of a mask is not recommended for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Wearing a mask when you are not ill may give a false sense of security. There is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal. They also need to be changed frequently.

However, your health care provider may recommend you wear a mask if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 while you are seeking or waiting for care. In this instance, masks are an appropriate part of infection prevention and control measures. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading you when you cough or sneeze.

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