COVID-19 has changed many things, including how we work. No matter where and how you are working, it’s important to follow key preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Jan. 12, 2021, the Province has announced a second State of Emergency in Ontario due to rising cases of COVID-19. The Ontario government’s order means people must stay at home except for getting essentials and follow these restrictions and public health measures.
- Stay home if you are sick or have been directed to self isolate by the Health Unit.
- Plan for physical distancing whenever and wherever possible. Avoid sharing work stations, tools or equipment. If you have to share items, clean and disinfect all commonly touched surfaces before you touch them. Allow for lots of space between you and other people, especially in lunch rooms and other common areas. Stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart whenever possible.
- If staff/workers are performing tasks indoors that require them to be less than 2 metres from an unmasked or improperly masked individual without a barrier (e.g. Plexiglass, partition, wall), appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be worn, including proper protection for eyes, nose and mouth. At a minimum, this would include a medical mask and eye protection (NOTE: This is also a requirement of the Ministry of Labour). Please refer to this COVID-19 Eye Protection guidance resource for more information.
- Use appropriate PPE when needed.
- Ontario is now requiring that non-medical masks or face coverings be worn inside public places. Employees who work with the public are covered by this. Learn more on how to ensure a mask fits properly and when you can temporarily remove a mask.
- Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash.
- Clean and disinfect your work stations, and all commonly-touched surfaces often.
- If you are carpooling to work with another person, ensure physical distancing on the drive. Stick to two people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver. Masks should be worn on the trip. The only exception to this two-person limit is if travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.
- Review these workplace video resources for more information.
- Communicate and share credible and evidenced based information with coworkers and customers.
- Take care of your mental health.
Workplace health and safety resources:
Visit the Ontario government website for a full list of sector-specific guidelines to reopen workplaces. You can also go to these Ontario health and safety associations for more COVID-19 health and safety advice tailored to your workplace:
- Workplace Safety and Prevention Services
- Public Services Health and Safety Association
- Workplace Safety North
- Infrastructure Health and Safety Association
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- Workers Health and Safety Centre
You have a right to a safe workplace – now more than ever during COVID-19. Learn about your rights during COVID-19 and discover resources/supports that can help reduce the risk of illness for you and others in your workplace.
- Guidance For Workers During COVID-19 – Ontario Government
- Mental Health Support During COVID-19
- Advice For Businesses on Reopening During COVID-19
- Reopening Ontario in Stages During COVID-19
- Understanding Your Human Rights During COVID-19 – Ontario Human Rights Commission
What if There is a Case of COVID-19 in My Workplace?
- Anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 must NOT go to work and should self-isolate at home. If contact with a positive case is confirmed, further directions will be provided by the Health Unit
- Physical distancing rules at work mean employees should not be in close contact with each other. If, however, an employee is identified as being a close contact of a co-worker who is confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, the person should immediately take Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see what further care is needed. They can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. The employee may also be contacted by the Health Unit with further directions on what to do, including self-isolating or self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Employers are strongly urged to support the COVID-19 instructions your employees have received from any health care provider. This protects the health of your workers and customers
- Encourage everyone at work to continue following physical distancing rules (staying 2 metres or 6 feet apart from others) and regularly wash hands with soap and water
- Continue to frequently clean and disinfect commonly touched or shared surfaces at work, including tools, equipment and workstations.
- Follow direction from the Health Unit about any extra precautions that are needed to reduce the risk of illness. These directives can include: getting employees/staff who were in close contact with the customer/client to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfecting at your workplace, and other measures
- Continue to keep employees and customers safe:
- Follow provincial rules that specify how your business/workplace can operate (for example, only offer curbside pickup, limit number of people in store, etc.).
- Ensure a 2-metre (6-foot) distance is kept between people.
- Reduce overcrowding.
- Increase your online or phone services
- Offer curb-side delivery
- Make hand sanitizer available for customers at entry and exit points.
Frequently Asked Questions
Follow us for COVID-19 Updates
You can find and follow updates on COVID-19 in your local community via the following HKPR resources:
If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020 or email at email@example.com