This Version Posted: September 22, 2020
No matter where and how you work, it’s important to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As an employer, it rests with you to ensure all preventive measures are being followed.
Carefully review the specific guidelines to reopen your business during COVID-19 and read on for further recommendations/resources.
On this page:
- Key messages
- Workplace health and safety resources
- Latest Updates
- What if There is a Case of COVID-19 in My Workplace?
- Plan for physical distancing whenever and wherever possible. If work can be done at home, allow staff to do that. Avoid face-to-face meetings. Avoid sharing work stations, tools or equipment, alter shifts, and stagger breaks. Arrange for delivery or curbside pick up for customers and clients. Prioritize physical distancing as a key measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.
- Practise good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette always. Remind employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. Provide hand sanitizer and ensure access to handwashing facilities and soap.
- Clean and disinfect work stations, and all commonly touched surfaces often.
- Be aware that the Health Unit is now instructing that non-medical masks or face coverings be worn inside public places. Employees who work with the public are covered by this. Learn more about this.
- Develop a plan to effectively manage employee absence and ensure that everyone stays home if they are sick.
- Consider employee and visitor screening strategies. Place posters at entrances and employee common spaces. You may also want to get staff to complete a health screening questionnaire before each work shift. The survey would ask if staff have any COVID-19 symptoms. Such a questionnaire could be done electronically or using a paper-based questionnaire sheet like the sample provided here.
- Train employees on key public health measures to prevent COVID-19. These workplace videos can help.
- Regularly communicate and share credible and evidenced based information with employees and customers. Provide ongoing updates and let them know what you are doing to keep them healthy during the pandemic.
- Ensure employees are equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to do their jobs. For a directory of Workplace PPE Providers, click here.
- Support your employee’s mental health. Remind staff of their Employee and Family Assistance Program if your workplace has one. You can also share these Mental Health supports.
- Develop a plan on what to do if a person who is sick visits or comes to work at your business.
Workplace health and safety resources
Visit the Ontario government website for a full list of sector-specific guidelines for reopening. 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
- Advice For Businesses on Reopening During COVID-19
- List of Essential Services Allowed to Stay Open During COVID-19
- Ontario’s Framework for Reopening After COVID-19
- Stop the Spread Business Information Line – Call 1-888-444-3659 for advice on essential services and how to reopen
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 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.
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, ext. 5020, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org