Participating in Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas-3 during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated 19 April 2021

The continuing impact of COVID-19 across Ontario necessitates that Atlas participants understand and comply with current COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions at all times while atlassing, which may include stay at home orders. By following the guidelines, atlassers protect themselves and others. It is particularly important that atlas participants do not cause an increased COVID-19 risk for any vulnerable communities or individuals.

Atlas participants should adhere to all COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions mandated by provincial and local authorities, including Indigenous communities, in their atlas region. If there is a discrepancy between local and provincial guidelines, atlassers should follow the more stringent guidance.

Prior to travelling or conducting atlassing where there may be contact with other people, businesses, or workers, atlassers should use the Ministry of Health Screening Tool to ensure others are not put at risk.

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines:

  • Atlassers must be in compliance with provincial health regulations, local health authority guidance, or any other health authority region guidance relevant to their atlassing
  • Atlassers must adhere to all appropriate COVID-19 health restrictions and guidance, including maintaining two-metre physical distancing wherever possible, staying at home if sick, use of face masks, practising careful hygiene (e.g., thorough and frequent handwashing, use of hand sanitizer), etc.
  • Travel for atlassing must only be undertaken when permissible by health authorities. Prior to any atlassing trip, atlassers should check current guidelines with the appropriate local health authority, or any area through which travel may occur.
  • In addition to obtaining the necessary permissions, atlassers should check to be sure they meet safety protocols for surveys on private or protected lands, including land trusts, federal or provincial parks, Indigenous lands, or conservation areas.
  • Atlassers must recall that safety for themselves and others is the priority. No one should survey if they feel unsafe.

Additional Considerations for Surveying Outside Your Atlas Region During COVID-19:

  • Prior to planning or undertaking a trip, atlassers should understand and remain compliant with all current local and provincial COVID-19 guidance and regulations. Restrictions on permissible travel may be in place, and some communities may require self-isolation upon arrival.
  • Atlassers should take the daily COVID-19 Self Assessment prior to travel and follow the instructions provided by the assessment.
  • Atlassers should confirm in advance that travel accommodations (e.g., hotel, campground, crown land) are open to the public and will be able to provide the expected amenities.
  • Atlassers must have appropriate and sufficient personal protective equipment and sanitizers with them.

Additional Considerations for Organizing Atlas Events During COVID-19:

  • The Atlas partners strongly recommend that atlassers consider virtual events until further notice since limitations on group events and gatherings continue. Atlas-related activities must follow all provincial and locally-specific regulations regarding events. Anticipate that there will be restrictions on gatherings during the Atlas and that provincial and local health restrictions can change quickly.
  • Event organizers must be aware that event safety is their responsibility.
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