Unmonitored and 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.

*New* As Ontario enters a second wave of COVID-19, our time to act is now. The Health Unit recommends you:

  • Limit social interactions to household members only, both indoors and outdoors. If you live alone, you may consider having close contact with another household.
  • Limit travel outside the home to attending school or work - if unable to work from home – and essential trips for groceries, medication, and medical appointments. 
  • Limit exercise and recreation to outdoor spaces where physical distancing is possible.
  • Avoid travel outside of our district, especially to areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, unless for emergencies or urgent medical appointments.

Size of Gatherings

As of September 19, 2020 the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100)

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.

The new limits do 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.

Face Coverings

The Health Unit is mandating the use of a face covering in enclosed public spaces effective Friday, July 24, 2020. Learn more here: Face coverings.

Socializing Safely During COVID-19:

Be a safe and responsible host or guest

Are you planning to host or attend a social gathering? Will there be other people there who are not part of your immediate household? Here’s how to be a safe and responsible host or guest during COVID-19.

*Adapted with permission from Algoma Public Health. 

Before the Event


  • Invite only the number of guests that are safe for your space. Your space should allow everyone to be comfortable socializing, while staying 2 metres apart from others outside their household. For example, set up different tables or picnic blankets for groups from different households.
  • Ask guests to stay home if they have any symptoms. This helps protect you and your own family, and can reassure those who are worried about possible exposures.
  • Tell guests to expect physical distancing. This lets everyone know that they must do their part as responsible guests.
  • Make a guest list with up-to-date contact information. This is important for quick notification and public health contact tracing, just in case someone becomes ill after the event.
  • Consider options for people to join in virtually if they prefer to do so for personal health reasons.
  • Wash hands before preparing food, cook food thoroughly and follow safe food handling tips. Serve food in ways that limit cross-contamination and avoid sharing utensils. For example, plate individual portions of food ahead of time, instead of serving buffet-style.


  • RSVP ahead of time. This helps your host know how many people are attending, so that they can prepare the space for a safe and physically distanced gathering.
  • Plan your transportation. Avoid carpooling with people outside your household. Have a designated driver.
  • If you have any symptoms, stay home. Don’t risk exposing other people if you might be sick. Let your host know you won’t attend in person, and ask if there’s an option to join in virtually.

During the Event


  • Invite guests to sit with their household and remind everyone to practice physical distancing with others who are not a part of their household.
  • Show guests where they can wash their hands. Make sure you are well stocked with hand soap or hand sanitizer.
  • Consider wearing a face covering when serving food to guests, especially if this will bring you closer than 2 metres with others.


  • Sit at the same table as members of your household. Practice physical distancing and stay 2 metres apart from everyone else.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating. Remind any children to do the same.
  • Give others their comfort space. Stay 2 metres apart from others who are not part of your household.

After the Event


  • Write down details of any close contact. Sometimes people get too close. If you spent more than 15 minutes together with someone outside your household and you were less than 2 metres apart, that is considered a close contact. Write down the person's name, place and time. Any close contact could be a possible exposure to the coronavirus.
  • Monitor yourself for any symptoms. If you get sick, stay home and call for testing. If someone at the event does test positive for COVID-19, the Health Unit will notify and call you, if you are considered a close contact.



North Bay

345 Oak Street West

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)