COVID-19 Volunteer Health and Safety Protocols
Last updated: April 20, 2020
Thank you for your willingness to volunteer during these complex and challenging times. Your health and safety as a volunteer in the community is our number one priority. As such, we have put together the following guidelines to keep volunteers, community members, clients and staff safe and healthy while volunteering:
- Your safety and stopping the spread of the COVID-19 is the priority. If you are unwell or you have been in contact with someone who is unwell, DO NOT VOLUNTEER.
- Clean your hands often. Whether you’re creating something at home like a care package, or volunteering outside of the home, it is important that you protect yourself and others. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. For visual instructions, here is a handwashing video for your information.
- If you are volunteering out in the community, make sure you continue to exercise proper physical distancing (2 meters/6 feet) and keep plenty of space between yourself and other people.
- For high touch volunteering (must be performed with increased contact, such as passenger transportation to appointments & volunteer supporting essential services), be prepared with your personal supply of food and drink. You then will not have to share dishes / food with others.
- Practices and protocols to protect volunteers, including directives regarding personal protective equipment may vary based on the organization's mission, clients, and geography. Check with the Volunteer Manager at the organization where you are volunteering and follow their specific guidelines, which will evolve based on directions from Ottawa Public Health.
- If someone asks you to do something you can’t do, let the person know that you cannot help and inform the Volunteer Manager at the organization where you are volunteering who may be able to help find a solution.
- It is important for volunteers to balance the willingness to help others with proper care of your own physical, mental and social wellbeing. Take care of yourself!
Protecting your health protects everyone’s health
Here are some additional resources you may want to consult for further health and safety guidance:
- Video on Volunteering Hygiene Recommendation from #StudentsAgainstCorona.
- World Health Organization Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public.
- Public Health Agency of Canada Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources
- Public Health of Ontario Fact Sheets:
a) Take Care of Yourself and Each Other
b) Physical Distancing
c) How and When to Wear a Mask
d) How to Wash Your Hands
- City of Ottawa COVID-19 in Ottawa
- Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 resources for community partners