COVID-19 update as Ontario government declares a State of Emergency

The Ontario government has declared a State of Emergency effective immediately and a Stay at Home order comes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 14. These measures are being put in place to try and slow the pace of COVID-19 cases in the province and to help ensure that Ontario’s healthcare system is able to manage the demands of the pandemic and patient care.

The decisions McMaster has made during the pandemic means that in many cases the university does not need to alter its protocols based on the new provincial rules. The details of the new regulations are being reviewed and decisions that impact any programs or services will be shared with the university community as soon as they are available.

It is important that the new regulations are followed.

Stay at Home order and the requirement that only essential workers be in the workplace

If you can work from home, it is important to do so. The majority of university employees are already working from home with only essential work being carried out on campus. However, the number of people working from a university location increased as restrictions were eased through the summer. It is important that supervisors review any access requests that have been approved to ensure that any access employees have to work on campus or in their offices are for exceptional circumstances and meet the requirement that only essential workers be in the workplace.


Discussions are ongoing on the status of on-campus research and fieldwork activities. The Vice-President, Research, Karen Mossman, will communicate any updates directly to the research community and they will also be available on the university’s COVID-19 website.

Face masks

The province has updated its face mask protocol. It requires that every person wears a face mask that covers their mouth, nose and chin when they are in indoor areas of an organization or business. Face masks are required in all campus buildings and facilities, with limited exceptions for those with health conditions that impact their ability to wear a mask. Wearing a face mask is now recommended outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres.  

Resources and Information

Ontario Declares Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives | Ontario Newsroom

COVID-19 News & Resources – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) (