Are you prepared to reopen your business?
Government safety guidelines announced
Ontario is planning for the next phase of responding to the COVID‑19 outbreak – reopening our province. The government safety guidelines were recently released and provide directions to those working in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector in order to continue to help prevent spread of COVID-19. Please refer to the sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) posted on the Ontario Government website.
Tips for Reopening your Business
We know getting back to work is top of mind for many business owners right now. To assist you in this transition, we’ve put together some helpful tips based on the Ontario government’s guidelines on how to safely reopen your physical workplace – once permitted, of course.
- Start slowly.
- Continue to impose physical distancing. Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
- Conduct daily screening of workers and volunteers upon entering the workplace.
- Make necessary changes or redesign the workplace to encourage distancing where possible. Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays.
- Continued use of personal protective equipment in the workplace; such as face masks and gloves. Ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing hand washing before and after breaks.
- Regularly clean and disinfect your workplace. Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming.
- Promoting alternative forms of communication and service. For example, having barriers in place to separate workers from customers or to conduct phone or video conferences instead of in-person meetings.
As per the guidelines, it is likely that at some point, workplace inspections may occur and inspectors will be using these guidelines to assess health and safety compliance. It is also very possible that employers who are out of compliance could be temporarily shut down and fined.
We’ve also found some helpful resources to provide further information on reopening your business:
- The stages of reopening a business: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-after-covid-19
- Workplace safety guidelines: https://www.news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/04/ontario-providing-employers-with-workplace-safety-guidelines.html
- Framework for reopening our province: https://www.ontario.ca/page/framework-reopening-our-province