Going Outdoors: When You Can and When You Can’t

Many people have questions about whether they can go out to walk the dog or for physical activities such as walking, cycling or jogging. This depends on a number of circumstances, described below.

People who CANNOT leave their private property to go outdoors

These directives apply to you if:

  • You have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days (even if you have no symptoms) OR
  • You have symptoms of COVID-19 OR
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 OR
  • You have been advised to remain in isolation by the EOHU or another health authority

If you are in one of the above groups, you CANNOT leave your private property to go for a walk or other physical activity, or to walk your pet until the EOHU advises you that you are no longer at risk of spreading the virus. You can only leave your property for an emergency.

However, if you have a private yard, deck or balcony, you can use these to go outdoors as long as you are following the instructions for self-isolating/isolating. If you live in an apartment, you cannot leave your apartment unit.

People who CAN leave their private property to go outdoors

You can leave your private property to go outdoors for a walk or other physical activity, or to walk your dog, if:

  • You have not been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You do not have symptoms of COVID-19
  • You have not travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days

NOTE:  As part Stage 1 of the Provincial government’s Framework for Reopening the Province, outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, including baseball diamonds, soccer fields, frisbee golf locations, tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts, basketball courts, BMX parks and skate parks, ARE NOW OPEN. In addition, off-leash dog areas, benches, picnic areas and shelters are also open. In all cases, physical distancing of at least two metres is required. 

Please note that play structures, swings, slides, splash and spray pads, wading pools and exercise equipment, REMAIN CLOSED.

If you go outdoors for a walk or other physical activity, or to walk your pet:

  • Stay close to home.
  • You can walk or exercise alongside other members of your home (e.g. spouse, children), as long as they are allowed to leave the home (see above).
  • Avoid crowds and always practise physical (social) distancing by keeping at least 2 metres distance from other people at all times, unless you are walking with someone that you live with.
  • Solo physical activities such as jogging or cycling are fine, however do not engage in physical activities that involve other people who do not live with you (e.g. group sports), as these activities can easily spread germs between participants.
  • While you are out, avoid touching handrails or other commonly touched surfaces.
  • Remember to practise hand hygiene and sneeze or cough into your sleeve or a tissue.
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.

If you live in an apartment, you should take precautions if you go outdoors:

  • Avoid or minimize contact with commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, and elevator buttons.
  • Use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces such as these while you are out.
  • Avoid using elevators if possible; if you do use an elevator, try to keep as large a distance as possible between you and any other people using the elevator. Do not enter the elevator if it is crowded.
  • When you return home, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water right away.

For more information on self-isolation, click here.
For information on what to do if you have symptoms, click here.

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario