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This Version Posted: June 5, 2020

COVID-19 has changed many things, including workplaces. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace.  Carefully review the sector specific guidelines to reopen during COVID-19 and ensure that you are following the recommendations. No matter where and how you are working, it’s important to take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Key messages:
  • Plan for physical distancing whenever and wherever possible. If the 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. 
  • Practice 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.
  • 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 may help.
  • Communicate and share credible and evidenced based information with employees and customers. 
  • 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 support tips.
  • 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: 

Other Considerations 
  • 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 support tips.
  • Regularly communicate with employees and customers. Provide ongoing updates and let them know what you are doing to keep them healthy during the pandemic.
  • Develop a plan on what to do if a person who is ill visits or comes to work at your business 

Latest Updates

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Additional Resources:

Ontario Government (www.ontario.ca/coronavirus)
Government of Canada (www.canada.ca/coronavirus)
World Health Organization (www.who.int)

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If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020 or email at info@hkpr.on.ca