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COVID-19

Operating your Business Safely

Simcoe and Muskoka businesses continue to play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Businesses are encouraged to review their procedures and take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection for customers and staff.

Public Health Guidance

Masking requirements in most indoor settings (e.g., public transit) expired on June 11, 2022, however masks are still required in long-term care and retirement homes.

Masking is still recommended in higher-risk congregate settings such as group homes and shelters.

Every person indoors in a setting where wearing a mask/face covering continues to be required must do so in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin.  In these settings, masks or face coverings can only be removed temporarily:

  • to receive services that require the removal of their mask or face covering,
  • to engage in an athletic or fitness activity,
  • to eat and drink, or
  • for health and safety reasons.

Businesses are encouraged to support customers, staff and/or volunteers who choose to continue to wear a mask for their protection and the protection of others.

Businesses and other settings may also voluntarily implement their own masking policies. Should your business or organization create a policy that requires a mask be worn within your business/organization, we encourage you to consult with legal representation. 

To learn about face coverings or masks and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19, visit Ontario.ca

It is recommended that staff and individuals screen themselves before entering the business/organization and follow the direction provided.

Passive screening signage can be posted to show individuals how to screen themselves for COVID-19 before entering the premises. Sample signage can be found in the Public Signage section below.

Businesses and organizations that wish to screen workers and employees may refer to COVID-19 Screening Tool for Businesses and Organizations (Screening Workers).

It is recommended that alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60-90% alcohol content be available at entrances and exits. Encourage all customers/visitors to wash or sanitize their hands often using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially as they enter the premise.

Glove use does not replace handwashing. Ensure hands are washed before and after handling food, after handling dirty utensils, using the bathroom, handling cash, etc. Gloves are to be replaced/changed at this time as well

It is recommended that handwashing, hand sanitizing and cover your cough posters be posted in areas that can be clearly seen. Sample signage can be found in the Public Signage section below.

Where possible, it is also advised to open windows and keep doors open to increase air flow.


In addition to routine daily cleaning and disinfection, surfaces that are frequently touched with hands should be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as necessary to maintain a sanitary condition, as well as when visibly dirty.

Use only disinfectants with a Drug Identification Number (DIN) given and approved by Health Canada.

More guidance on cleaning and disinfection including for COVID-19 is provided by Health Canada and Public Health Ontario.

Resources for Employers and Workplaces

The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect your workplace from the risks of COVID-19. It is safe and effective at reducing virus spread and protecting against serious illness.

Establishing a vaccination policy for your workplace

Employers have an obligation to maintain a safe work environment for their workers. They may also consider the need to maintain continuity of their operations. To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, a workplace vaccination policy is an important measure employers should implement, along with other public health measures such as COVID-19 screening, physical distancing, masking, hand hygiene and good ventilation. As COVID-19 may continue to wax and wane for the foreseeable future, such policies will remain relevant and can be updated as the situation evolves.

 

To protect the health of international agriculture workers (IAWs), the health unit recommends that employers of IAWs follow and adhere to the Ministry of Health Outbreak Guidance: Workplace and Living Settings for Seasonal International Agriculture Workers (IAWs)  (available in French). 

COVID-19 vaccination is important to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among IAWs and to protect our food supply. Information on how to book a vaccination appointment can be found here

The following public health guidance and resources support employers of IAWs in Ontario to effectively respond to COVID-19 and protect people from becoming ill:


Order PPE
If you need personal protective equipment, you can use the province’s Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to identify companies that sell PPE and other supplies to keep employees and customers safe from COVID-19. 

Pandemic PPE Transitional Support for Eligible Sectors
If you represent an eligible sector and require critical PPE supplies, you can use the Ontario Health (Central) Online PPE and Swab Kit Intake Form to request supplies.

Guidance Documents

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program allows organizations to add an additional safety measure in workplaces, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Through the program, rapid antigen screening tests are distributed to enhance existing routine screening measures. Rapid antigen screening tests may allow workplaces to proactively identify cases of COVID-19 that may have otherwise been missed, supporting employee safety and business continuity. 

  • Rapid antigen testing does not replace public health and safety measures, including infection prevention and control protocols (e.g. hand washing, PPE, physician distancing, staying home while ill etc.).
  • Rapid antigen tests should only be used as a screening tool, and as an added layer of security for workplaces beyond routine workplace screening measures and infection prevention and control measures.
  • The most appropriate use for rapid antigen screening is for frequent, repeated screening of asymptomatic individuals. 
  • False negative and false positive results can occur with rapid antigen tests, and at a higher frequency than lab-based PCR tests. 
  • More information on the Provincial Antigen Screening Program can be found on the Province’s website.

Public Signage

IMPORTANT NOTE: While the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit aims to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided in this guidance, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice. Please visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website regularly for updates and additional guidance.

Page last updated: June 14, 2022

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