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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.

Public Health Guidance

Although wearing a mask in MOST indoor public spaces is no longer required, businesses are encouraged to support staff and customers 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. 

Wearing a mask IS REQUIRED:


Wearing a mask is RECOMMENDED:

  • After having COVID-19 symptoms, testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19 for 10 days and in all public places (including school and child care) unless you need to temporarily remove it (maintain physical distance when the mask is removed) or if you are unable to wear a mask (such as children under two years of age). Avoid non-essential activities where you need to remove your mask.
  • In other settings where individuals are at high risk for severe illness like congregate settings such as group homes and shelters.
  • For people at risk for severe illness to provide additional protection.
  • When a business or organization has developed their own masking policy.
  • It is recommended that staff and customers screen themselves before entering the business/organization and follow the direction provided.

    It is recommended that alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60-90% alcohol content be available at entrances and exits. Encourage all staff and customers 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. 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.

    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. 

    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, physical 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: July 10, 2023

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