Small business owner smiling while turning the sign for the reopening of the place after the quarantine due to covid-19. Happy businesswoman standing at her restaurant or coffee shop gate with open signboard. Close up of woman"u2019s hands holding sign now we are open support local business.

This Version Posted: October 9, 2020

NOTE: If working during COVID-19, be aware of Employee Health and Safety considerations

On This Page

Who can reopen?
  • More businesses are being allowed to reopen during COVID-19. Read Ontario’s Stage 3 Framework for Reopening to get specifics on which businesses/services can open and what additional health and safety guidelines are in place.
  • If you have further questions about Stage 3 reopening, call Ontario’s Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.
  • For resources on reopening in Stage 3, visit the Ontario government website.
  • Click here for specific COVID-19 reopening guidelines/rules for community centres, pools/splash pads/wading pools, playgrounds/play structures, team sports/live sporting events, restaurants/bars, performing arts centres and weddings.

Common Health and Safety Measures to Follow

The Province is recommending health and safety measures be put in place to protect employers, employees and customers across all business sectors. They are listed below as general guidelines. 

You are strongly urged to review the sector-specific guidelines for your store/business to ensure you follow all the rules. Ontario has also released a new COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan for employers to put in place specific controls to make the workplace safer for everyone. 

Physical Distancing
  • Limit face-to-face contact by encouraging physical distancing at work
  • Ensure that customers/clients and staff maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from each other as much as possible 
  • Control and restrict the number and flow of customers/clients at any one time in your store/business to maintain physical distancing 
  • Post signs to remind employees and customers/clients to maintain physical distancing 
  • Install partitions wherever possible to protect staff and customers/clients 
  • Provide online ordering services and contact-less delivery wherever possible 
  • Ensure that workstations are 2 metres (6 feet) apart, install barriers or partitions, or rearrange workstations as needed  
  • Stagger employee start- and break-times. Consider changing the rotation of shifts 
  • Wherever possible, avoid sharing work stations, tools and equipment 
  • Postpone all non-essential tasks 
  • Allow employees to work from home wherever possible 
  • Hold meetings by teleconference or online instead of meeting in person 
  • If direct customer/client contact is essential, ensure employees wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suitable for their jobs (for example: gloves, masks) 
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
  • Encourage good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette by providing handwashing supplies and appropriate facilities 
  • Post signs to remind employees to wash their hands with soap and water frequently 
  • Post signs to remind employees of respiratory etiquette (coughing into sleeves, etc.) 
  • Food buffets should be closed. Instead food should be prepared and packaged to limit possible contamination 
  • Provide hand sanitizer at entrances whenever possible 
Non-Medical Masks and Face Coverings
  • Non-medical masks and face coverings must now be worn in indoor public places in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Get full details here.
  • Businesses are being directed to put in place a policy and post signs that direct customers/patrons to wear a mask upon entry. Certain age and medical exemptions do apply for wearing a mask. Click here for printable signs to post.
  • Employees who work in areas that serve the public must also wear masks.

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.

Information/Resources for Specific Businesses to Reopen

Visit the Ontario government website for a full list of sector-specific guidelines. You can also go to these Ontario health and safety associations for more COVID-19 health and safety advice tailored to your business: 

Workplace Safety and Prevention Services 
  • Serves: Agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors 
  • Contact: Toll-free 1-877-494-9777 
  • On Twitter @WSPS_News 
Public Services Health and Safety Association 
  • Serves: Hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, residential and community care, universities and colleges, school boards, libraries and museums, municipalities, provincial government and agencies, police, fire and paramedics and First Nations. 
  • Contact: Toll-free: 1-877-250-7444  
  • On Twitter @PSHSAca 
Workplace Safety North
  • Serves (province wide): Forestry, mining, smelters, refineries, paper, printing and converting. 
  • Contact: Toll-free 1-888-730-7821 
  • On Twitter @WSN_News 
Infrastructure Health and Safety Association
  • Serves: Construction, electrical and utilities, aggregates, natural gas, ready-mix concrete and transportation. 
  • Contact: Toll-free 1-800-263-5024 
  • On Twitter @IHSAnews 
Personal Protective Equipment
  • Ensure employees have the protection they need to do their jobs. The provincial government has created a new website to help businesses find Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suppliers. Click here for a directory of PPE suppliers.
Guidance for Reopening Workplaces

Reporting Workplace Health and Safety Concerns

File a complaint if you believe conditions in a workplace are unsafe, or if you or someone else is experiencing  harassment or violence on the job. Before reporting a situation, you can: 

  • Discuss your concerns with your supervisor or employer 
  • Consult your Joint Health and Safety Committee member or Health and Safety representative (if there is one) 

If the situation continues after trying to raise your concerns, you can file a complaint with the Ontario Health and Safety Contact Centre

Health Unit Support for Workplaces
  • Search this website for current information and resources about important public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including videos and printable resources 
  • For specific COVID-19 related questions and concerns, contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020 or 
  • Call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, if you have concerns involving any of the following:   
    • Child Care Facilities 
    • Recreational Camps 
    • Personal Services Settings (including mobile and home-based settings) 
    • Tanning Salons 
    • Facilities Providing Indoor Recreational Programs Including Indoor Public Pools and Whirlpools 
    • Food Premises, including restaurants 
    • Theatres and Cinemas (including drive-ins) 
    • Trailer Parks 
    • Schools (Public and Private) 

If you have further questions about COVID-19, contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020, or email at