Public Health Protocols

The MacLaren is committed to building a vibrant, healthy and creative community. We will be reopening in a phased process, in accordance with the Government of Ontario’s reopening strategies. These guidelines support the MacLaren’s goals of preventing the spread of COVID-19, both within the communities we serve and our dedicated team of employees and volunteers. We are committed to working collaboratively and with transparency to serve our community while delivering exceptional programmes, and look forward to a progressive return to normal operations. 

Facility Maintenance

The MacLaren is a city-owned building. The City is responsible to ensure that all enhanced cleaning protocols are followed, including twice-daily cleanings of high-touch public areas. Any maintenance work will be cleared with Jessica Comella in advance, and external contractors will be asked to sign the MacLaren’s COVID-19 screening and policies when they register at the Gallery to complete work.  

Visitor Entry


All gallery visitors will be required to wear a mask and complete the active visitor screening by either scanning the QR code and filling out an online form or by filling out a paper screening upon entry. Visitors dropping into the café for to-go items will not be required to complete the screening but must wear a mask. Patrons planning on sitting at the café seating will be required to complete the screening and wear their mask when they are not eating.  

Vaccine Certification Policy  

Beginning on September 22nd 2021, the MacLaren Art Centre’s Vaccine Certification policy will come into effect in accordance with the Province Ontario Proof of Vaccination Policy. 

General Admission patrons, defined as patrons visiting exhibitions, using the washroom or purchasing to-go options at the café only, will not need to show proof of vaccination. General Admission patrons (other than those only purchasing to go items from the Café) must fill out an active screening prior to entry and wear a mask. 

Patrons whose visit includes purchasing refreshments from the Gallery Café and staying onsite to consume them in either Harris Hall or the Massie Family Courtyard, who are attending any event (receptions, openings, ceremonies, meetings etc.), as well as anyone attending classes, must show proof of vaccination upon entry in addition to completing an active screening and wearing a mask while onsite.  

A negative rapid test result is not admissible to enter a class, only proof of vaccination (or a valid doctors note to prove exemption) and a pass of the active screening will allow participants to attend classes.  

Regarding Family Sunday, all children must be accompanied by an adult who has proven vaccination, children (those under 18 years of age) are not required to show proof of vaccination.  

Staff Policy  

All staff members, including artist instructors, are required to complete the active screening each day before arriving onsite and are required to wear a mask. 

In addition to active screening, artist instructors will be required to either have proof of vaccination (vaccination information will not be shared with the public) or have passed a COVID-19 rapid test onsite prior to teaching their class.  

Information about the measures that the MacLaren is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19 will be available on the website (Plan Your Visit) and front desk greeters will share this information with visitors when they arrive. 

Health Standards

Hand sanitizer (comprised of a minimum 60% alcohol) is provided by the City and will be available in the following locations:  

  • Public entrance (main door) and Café entrance 
  • Administrative entrances (lunchroom door and loading bay door) 
  • By the elevator at each level 
  • Inside and outside each bathroom 

Visitors will be asked to use hand sanitizer upon arrival and at designated points and after touching any surface (i.e. bathroom and gallery doors). For visitors with sensitivities to chemicals, nitrile gloves will be offered in lieu of sanitizer. Masks must be worn to enter, and while on site at the MacLaren.  

Plexiglas shields have been installed at the front desk and café. Contactless payment methods will be encouraged. Interpretive and programming material will be available online to limit the sharing of printed materials. 

Screening information will be available online and at the Gallery entrance. MacLaren staff reserve the right to refuse entry to symptomatic or unvaccinated individuals. 

 Stanchions and other physical  barriers will be introduced on an as-needed basis to manage lines at the visitor services desk. 

Capacity Limits

Based on current best practices, capacity limits for the building are calculated based on 50% of the maximum occupant load of the facility. Each dedicated space and gallery must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two meters from every other person and in any event may not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the room. Decisions have been made based on both square footage, pressure points and bottlenecks in accessing or moving through the space.  

Certain areas remain off-limits to visitors, including all office areas and the framing workshop. 

 The MacLaren reserves the right to amend capacity limits based on user experience as well as advice from the Government of Ontario, Public Health Ontario, and the Simcoe Muskoka Public Health Unit. Signage will be clear and updated as needed.  


Visitor seating is available in the exhibition spaces and limited to one wooden bench in each of the three second floor galleries. The Gallery Café and the Massie Family Sculpture Courtyard are closed to the public. 


Additional signage will be available throughout the Gallery indicating directional routes, capacity limits and information on hand-washing and other sanitation standards.



The MacLaren is dedicated to providing a safe, inclusive and welcoming visitor experience for everyone. We ask all visitors to respect all policies outlined in this document and to work together to create a safe environment for all visitors, volunteers and staff.  



Throughout the pandemic, the MacLaren will continue to use all avenues available for public communications. The website will be updated as measures change and evolve; signage at the Gallery will shift as required. All MacLaren staff will be trained on this new policy and visitor feedback is encouraged. The MacLaren’s commitment to clear, generous, and engaged customer service remains a priority. 

Public Spaces – MacLaren Covid-19 Protocols PDF