physical distancing line at store
print header


Reopening and Operating your Business Safely

We are currently in stage one of the Framework for Opening the Province. At this time the Declaration of Emergency and Closure Orders are still in place. Businesses and workplaces are being allowed to operate by following proper health and safety guidelines.

These new sector-specific guidelines include actions employers can plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality during COVID-19: 

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes, and enforcing handwashing before and after breaks.
  • Identify personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies to keep your employees and customers safe. Supplies are in high demand and the needs of frontline health care workers and first responders will continue to be prioritized. Access the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory for a list of companies that sell personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to keep your employees and customers safe from COVID-19.

As new sectors of the economy begin to reopen, additional resources will be made available to help protect the safety of workers and the general public.

In addition to the safety guidance provided for multiple sectors there are also other public health resources and guidance to support the reopening and ongoing operation of your business. Please see the following topics below:

Day camps provide short-term programs that provide care and learning opportunities for children of all ages. It is critical that we keep children in day camp programs safe and healthy. For public health recommendations provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health please seeCOVID-19 Guidance Summer Day Camps.

Other resources have been created by SMDHU to assist Day Camps providers to assess readiness to open, reduce the risk of introducing and spreading COVID-19 and recording active surveillance. Please see: 

With many buildings either closed or experiencing lower occupancy as a result of COVID-19, many properties have used less water and increased the amount of water stagnation in plumbing systems. It is important for business owners to flush both cold and hot water lines, and drain hot water tanks to remove stagnant water from their building’s plumbing system.

If you are reopening your business you need to sample the private drinking water supply at a licensed laboratory ahead of reopening.

For more information and resources for your business visit the small drinking water systems section of our website.

The Public Health Agency of Canada considers farm operations essential, however temporary foreign farm worker(s) are not considered essential workers and MUST quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

Farms are permitted to operate with temporary foreign workers and will be inspected when one of the following conditions are met:

  • the migrant farm has not received temporary foreign workers to-date OR 
  • it has been 15 days since the arrival of temporary foreign workers, the workers have completed their 14 day quarantine (self-isolation) and no reports of illness are received.

These provisions will reduce the risk associated with these inspections and will allow for physical distancing measures to be put in place during any inspection activity.

COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Employers of Temporary Foreign Farm Workers highlights public health guidance and resources to support employers of temporary foreign farm workers in Ontario to effectively respond to COVID-19 and protect these workers from becoming ill. This information complements the Ministry of Health’s guidance document: Guidance for Temporary Foreign Workers, version 1 – March 31, 2020

All restaurants and bars are to remain closed until June 9th, 2020. Note: that despite the order, restaurants and bars are permitted to offer take-out (no seating available for patrons) or delivery. For food premises that remain open to offer take-out and delivery please refer to the Guidance for Food Premises Best Practice Summary Sheet.

For more information and resources for your business visit the food services section of our website.

  • Landlords, and property managers play an important role by taking the necessary precautions to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19 in condominiums, apartment buildings, and other residential units.
  • Postpone any non-urgent inspections, renovations, or repair work, if possible.
  • Close all onsite recreational amenities (e.g. pool, gyms) and gathering spaces (e.g. party or entertainment rooms).
  • Limit the number of people that gather in shared spaces to ensure a distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from others where ever possible ( e.g. Lobbies, hallways, mail rooms, laundry rooms).
  • Remind residents to refrain from having guests in their unit in keeping with the requirements of Ontario Regulation 52/20 which restricts gatherings of greater than 5 people (immediate families of greater than 5 are exempt), and public health recommendations to interact only with one’s immediate family.
  • Consider removing frequently touched items (e.g. decorative objects and non-essential furniture) from shared spaces that may be difficult to clean and disinfect.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces in the building to at least twice a day. Further:
  • It is strongly recommended that the surfaces and objects are first cleaned and then disinfected.
  • Some areas to focus on are laundry room appliances (e.g. washers, dryers, baskets and counters), door handles, light switches, mailboxes, stairwell railings, elevator buttons, and buzzer systems.
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19 but it is recommended that disinfectants contain an 8-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN) which indicates that the product has been approved for use in Canada.
  • Anyone recently returning from international travel MUST self-isolate for 14 days in their unit and use delivery options if they need food, groceries, or other supplies. This is mandatory.

Should I consider making modifications to the ventilation system in my multi-unit dwellings?

While it has been shown that increasing ventilation (e.g. opening windows when weather permits) may help reduce the transmission of other viruses such as influenza, there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be spread through ventilation systems.

Knowledge on COVID-19 continues to evolve, however the current evidence does not suggest a risk of transmission from airborne virus in HVAC systems. Residents of multi-dwelling units can also take actions to protect themselves and others. Visit our main page for more information.

The Workplace Safety & Prevention Service (WSPS) has provided a document for guidance on health and safety for Personal Services Settings during COVID-19. This document can be found at the link below:

For more information and resources for your business visit the personal services settings section of our website.

While there is currently no timeline for reopening of recreational water settings, for facilities, pools and spas where water has been stagnant, standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other biofilm-associated bacteria. Stagnant water can also impact disinfectant levels. Please consider the recommendations from the Centre for Disease Control with respect to biofilm, flushing, water features and spa disinfection:

Contingency for physical distancing and restricting number of patrons based on scaling back of provincial orders should be planned. Protocols and procedures for cleaning and disinfection of your facility should be developed and implemented to ensure health and safety of employees and patrons.

At least 14 days before the re-opening of a public pool or public spa after any closure that lasts for more than four weeks, the owner or operator shall notify in writing the medical officer of health or a public health inspector for the health unit where the pool or spa is situate,

(a) of the date that the pool or spa is to be re-opened;

(b) of the name and address of the operator; and

(c) in the case of a pool, whether the pool is intended to be operated as a Class A or a Class B pool.

Prior to re-opening to the public, you will need to submit the completed form to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit - Environmental Health Department and ensure all requirements of Regulation 565 – Public Pools are met.

For more information and resources for your business visit the recreational water facility section of our website.

Grocery and Pharmacy: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues it is essential for retail stores such as grocery and pharmacies to ensure safe and reliable access to food, supplies and other provisions – and to take measures aimed at preventing further transmission of the virus. This guidance document outlines key steps for the sector to implement during the pandemic.

Clothing and other: Retail Operators must use one or more of the following methods to ensure that persons in the place of business can maintain physical distancing of at least two metres from each other at all times:

  • Using alternative methods of sale such as curb side pick-up or delivery. 
  • Operating by appointment. 
  • Limiting the number of people who may be in the place of business at any one time.

Retail operators that have a fitting room shall ensure that the fitting room remain closed unless,
(a) the fitting room stalls are equipped with a solid door that may be closed;
(b) customers are not permitted to occupy adjacent fitting room stalls at any one time; and
(c) the fitting room stalls are cleaned and disinfected after each use. 

Short term rentals (e.g. Air B&B,VRBO/seasonal rentals) for accommodations booked after April 4, 2020 must only be provided to individuals who are in need of housing during the emergency period.

This does not apply to hotels, motels and student residences.

The Public Health Guidance for Taxi and Rideshare Drivers information is intended to help taxi and ride share drivers reduce the risk of exposure to illnesses including COVID-19.

Full colour posters (8.5 x 11 inch)

Minimal ink versions (8.5 x 11 inch)

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...