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 frequent cleanings of high-touch public areas.

Visitor Entry

The building and room capacity is limited to ensure social distancing (see below, Building Capacity). All visitors are to use the front main doors on Mulcaster St. to enter. All visitors are to exit by the Gallery Café door. Visitor contact information will be recorded in case contact tracing becomes necessary. Information about the measures that the MacLaren is taking to limit the spread of COVID-19 is available on the website (Plan Your Visit). Front desk greeters will share this information with visitors when they arrive.

Health Standards 

Self-screening information will be available online and at the Gallery entrance. MacLaren staff reserve the right to limit entry to symptomatic individuals.

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

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

Visitors are asked to use hand sanitizer on arrival and prior to entering the Gallery Shop, or at any points after touching any surface (i.e. the bathroom and gallery doors). For visitors with sensitivities to chemicals, nitrile gloves are available in lieu of sanitizer. As of July 13 the public must wear face masks indoors at the Gallery. Cloths masks are available for purchase in the Gallery Shop. MacLaren staff engaging with the public will wear cloth masks at all times.

Plexiglas shields are installed at the framing and visitor desk. Contactless payment methods are encouraged. Interpretive and programming material is available online to limit the sharing of printed materials. 

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

Capacity Limits

Based on current best practices, capacity limits for each dedicated space and gallery have been lowered to encourage physical distancing. Decisions have been made based on both square footage and pressure points and bottlenecks in accessing or moving through the space. Consequently, the following capacity limits are in place: 

    • Armstrong Hall: 8 
    • Gallery Shop: 2
    • Janice Laking Gallery: 5
    • Gallery 3: 5
    • The Carnegie Room: 5
    • Molson Community Gallery: 2
    • MacLaren Boardroom: 2
    • Framing Desk: 1 (2, if from the same household)
    • Elevator: 1 (exceptions made for households and caregivers)
    • Bathrooms: 1 (exceptions made for households and caregivers) 
    • Building capacity: 30

Certain areas remain off-limits to visitors, including all office areas, the framing production area, the Rotary Education Centre, and the Massie Family Sculpture Courtyard. 

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. 


Public WiFi is not available this summer.



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 physical distancing measures 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