Last updated: April 17, 2021
Effective April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government has issued a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely. The Ontario government has implemented a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake came into place Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least six weeks. Enhanced provincial restrictions were put in place on April 17, 2021.
HPEPH will continue to update hpePublicHealth.ca to include information for local businesses and residents. Local business owners/operators who are unable to find answers to their questions on our web page are invited to complete our online inquiry form.
Public Health Advice, Recommendations and Instructions
Businesses or organizations must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations, and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting, and working remotely.
Physical Distancing and Line Management
Businesses or places must not permit patrons to line up inside the businesses or place, or to line up or congregate outside of the business or place unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons and wearing a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless they are entitled to an exception set out in the regulation.
Businesses or organizations must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals. Workplaces must screen any workers or essential visitors entering the work environment.
Personal Protective Equipment including Eye Protection
Personal protective equipment that provides protection of the eyes, nose, and mouth, is required if a worker is required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering and not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
All businesses or facilities must limit capacity so that every member of the public is able to maintain two metres of physical distancing from every other person.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Businesses or places that are open shall ensure that equipment, washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers that are accessible to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently
as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
Businesses or organizations must ensure that masks or face coverings are worn by any person (including members of the public and workers) in the indoor area of the business or organization, with limited exceptions.
Requirement for all businesses open to prepare and make available a COVID-19 safety plan. A copy of the plan shall be made available to any person for review upon request, and be posted where it would come to the attention of individuals working in or attending the business.
- Resources to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace
- Guide to Developing Your COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan
- Where to Source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- COVID-19 Requirements for Enclosed Public Spaces and Commercial Environments (Replaces Garden Centre, Hardware and Retail Store Requirements During COVID-19) – Updated November 5, 2020
- Screening Tool For Workplaces – Updated
- Face Covering Requirements in businesses/establishments – FAQ
- Sample Attendance Record for tracking visitors
- COVID-19 Requirements for Personal Service Settings – Updated February 23, 2021
- COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Use of Public Washrooms
- Safe Operating Requirements for Community Gardens
- COVID-19 Requirements for Food Businesses – Updated March 19, 2021
- COVID-19 Requirements for Farmers’ Markets – Updated March 19, 2021
- COVID-19 Guidance for the Health Sector
- COVID-19 Guidance: Workplace Outbreaks
- Public Services Health and Safety Association Healthy & Safety Guidance During COVID-19
Signage and Posters
- Employee/Visitor/Patron Screening Poster – HPEPH – UPDATED March 30
- COVID-19 Retail Store Sign – HPEPH
- Mandatory Mask Sign with Exemptions – HPEPH
- Wash Your Hands – Public Health Agency of Canada
- Physical Distancing Poster – Ministry of Health
- What You Need to Stay Healthy – Ministry of Health
- How to Wear a Mask Safely – HPEPH
- Break poster – Ministry of Labour
- Lunch poster – Ministry of Labour
- Keep it to yourself poster – Ministry of Labour
If you have further questions about what is open or the impacts on your business or employment, call the Province’s Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659, or visit Reopening Ontario web page. Your role as an employer is to help manage the spread of COVID-19 in our community and is critical to reduce the spread of transmission.
Key Steps for Workplaces
- Follow the Government of Ontario COVID-19 Guidance Documents for essential workplaces, as well as sector-specific guidance for safe re-opening and operations, and any additional restrictions as per the local region’s current level.
- Direct all staff to self-monitor daily for signs of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing before attending the workplace
- Direct employees to stay home if they are ill
- Direct them to use the Ontario self-assessment tool if they have symptoms and/or believe they may have been exposed and follow the direction provided in the assessment tool.
- Individuals with at least one symptom of COVID-19 and/or believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, please contact a local assessment centre directly to book an appointment for testing and self isolate.
- Require frequent hand washing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (where possible), physical distancing, and cough etiquette among all staff to prevent the spread of infection
- Consider and acknowledge the mental health needs of employees in organizational planning and operations
- Increase the frequency of routine cleaning and disinfecting as a best-practice to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Workers who have been required to self-isolate will contact their employer when advised that they can return to work
Business Supports and Training
- HPEPH, in partnership with Hastings County’s Economic and Tourism Development Office, hosted a webinar on June 1 to provide an overview of provincial guidelines available to help local businesses re-open following COVID-19 closures.
- Resources for Quinte Region Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic – Quinte Economic Development Commission offers information on a wide range of business wage subsidies, financial assistance and human resource programs, as well as education and training opportunities and other resources
- Pandemic Recovery: Return to Business Checklist – Workplace Safety and Prevention Services has developed this high-level tool to assist your re-opening plans
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Hard surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers – Health Canada has compiled information on effective hard surfaces disinfectants and hand sanitizers available in Canada
Ergonomics for Working from Home
Workplace Safety and Prevention Services has ergonomic safety resources for Temporary Home Offices:
- Setting up a Temporary Laptop Workstation Youtube video
- Quick Steps for Setting Up Your Temporary Laptop Workstation Home Office Workstation Checklist
- At-Home Flexibility Stretches
Psychological Health and Safety During COVID-19
- Managing Through COVID-19: How to Support Your Employees’ Mental Health – Ottawa Public Health offers guidance on protecting the psychological health and safety of employees during the pandemic, using the 13 factors from the National Standard for Workplace Psychological Health and Safety
- COVID-19 Crisis Response Training Resources – Mental Health Commission of Canada provides links to virtual crisis response training for essential workplaces, self-care and reliance guides for workers, infographics and other mental health resources
- Videos to Support Workplace Mental Health During COVID-19 – Workplace Strategies for Mental Health offers this series of short videos with recommendations on supporting mental health for employers and employees
As the pandemic continues to evolve, HPEPH is working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Health Ontario, the Ministry of Health and our community partners to monitor and respond to this situation.
Creating Healthy Workplaces
According to the World Health Organization, a healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to continually improve the ways the workplace protects and promotes the health, safety and well-being of all workers and the sustainability of the workplace.
Healthy workplaces provide an environment that is supportive of employees’ mental and physical health, making the healthy choice the easy choice.
Why Create a Healthy Workplace?
Today’s business environment requires organizations to leverage every possible advantage to in order to thrive, be competitive and be sustainable. Research has shown that organizations with an engaged, healthy workforce are more effective, more productive, and enjoy a better reputation. Such organizations also tend to have reduced absenteeism, fewer health-related expenses, and lower staff turnover.
How Can I Support a Healthy Workplace?
Researchers have shown that, to effectively address health in the workplace, employers need to use a comprehensive approach, acting on a variety of factors. The Ontario Workplace Health Coalition (OWHC) Healthy Workplace Model has four essential elements that work together to create a healthy workplace. It can be used by workplaces of all sizes.
How Can Public Health Help?
HPEPH can provide information, resources, and support to encourage the creation of a healthy workplace. Have a look at our lending programs, resources available below, or give us a call at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 610.
Resources to Support a Healthy Workplace
Healthy Eating at Work
The workplace often involves food and meal times. Our Healthy Workplace Nutrition Environment Toolkit and Hosting Healthy Meetings and Events brochure can provide some ideas to encourage healthy eating at work.