NOTE: If working during COVID-19, be aware of Employee Health and Safety considerations.
- Who can reopen?
- Common Health and Safety Measures to Follow
- What if There is a Case of COVID-19 in My Workplace?
- Information/Resources for Specific Businesses to Reopen
- Workplace Safety and Prevention Services
- Public Services Health and Safety Association
- Workplace Safety North
- Infrastructure Health and Safety Association
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Reporting Workplace Health and Safety Concerns
- Health Unit Support for Workplaces
Who can reopen?
- With conditions improving, the province is allowing more businesses to reopen during COVID-19. The list of essential businesses in Ontario details which ones are allowed to open or expand their operations, as long as they follow public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On May 14, 2020, the Province announced additional workplaces that can open provided they follow proper public health measures like physical distancing.
- The list of essential services is divided into sectors and includes detailed guidelines and resources for reopening safely and reducing the spread of COVID-19.
- Have questions on whether your business can reopen or not? Call Ontario’s Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659 or read the Frequently Asked Questions.
Common Health and Safety Measures to Follow
To protect employers, employees and customers, the province is recommending common health and safety measures across all business sectors. They are listed below as general guidelines. You are also strongly urged to review the sector-specific guidelines for your store/business to ensure you follow all the rules.
- Limit face-to-face contact
- 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 customers/clients to maintain physical distancing
- Install partitions wherever possible to protect staff and customers/clients
- Provide online ordering services and contactless delivery wherever possible
- Ensure that workstations are 2 metres (6 feet) apart, install barriers or partitions, or rearrange workstations as needed
- Post signs to remind employees to maintain physical distancing
- 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)
- Post signs reminding employees and customers/clients that if they have symptoms of COVID-19, they must go home and self-isolate
- It is recommended that all staff 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 .
- Clean and disinfect all commonly touched or shared surfaces frequently
- Workstations, tools and equipment must be cleaned before use by another employee
- Follow these public health guidelines for cleaning/disinfecting public washrooms
- Provide hand washing 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
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 or 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:
- Serves: Agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors
- Contact: Toll-free 1-877-494-9777
- On Twitter @WSPS_News
- 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
- Serves (province wide): Forestry, mining, smelters, refineries, paper, printing and converting.
- Contact: Toll-free 1-888-730-7821
- On Twitter @WSN_News
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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)
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