A summary of current public health recommendations can be found on the COVID-19 Public Health Measures and Advice.
Communicate clearly to employees that Infection Prevention and Control Measures can still be used together, along with vaccination, for optimal effectiveness in stopping the spread of illness.
More details on these general measures can be found on the Stop the Spread page.
- Remind employees to stay that they should stay home if they are ill and also to go home if they experience symptoms at work. They should follow the guidance at COVID-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment or at Ontario.ca/exposed for themselves and their household members. A negative COVID-19 test is not required for employees to return to work.
- If workers experience mild symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, employers should follow the Guidance for Employers Managing Workers with Symptoms within 48 Hours of COVID-19 Immunization
- Businesses are no longer required to post patron screening signage at entrances; however, it is advisable to continue this practice. Updated signage is available on the Workplace Printable Posters and Tools page.
Visit Ontario COVID-19 screening guidance for employers to learn more about workplace COVID-19 screening
Questions regarding COVID-19 health and safety measures for employees, including employee screening, can also be directed to the MLTSD Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.
The Ontario government is offering a rapid testing portal to make it easier for all essential businesses to access free rapid testing for COVID-19. Businesses are encouraged to learn more about the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, and then check their eligibility and apply.
The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is providing free rapid antigen tests to small and medium-sized businesses in Thunder Bay with 150 employees or less. Information on this program is found at on the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce website.
Refer to Ontario Public Health Measures and Advice for next steps after a rapid test.
It is no longer mandatory for businesses to ensure that workers and patrons maintain a 2 metre physical distance. However, physical distancing is still a measure for infection prevention and control.
As physical distancing requirements are lifted, it is important to be patient and respectful of people who are not yet comfortable being in close proximity to others. It is also important for the public to be considerate of businesses and organizations who choose to follow stronger protective measures.
Individuals are no longer required to wear a mask or face covering in indoor places, except in long-term care and retirement homes. However, everyone is strongly encouraged to continue to wear them for a little while longer.
Whether to continue to wear a mask will be a matter of personal choice based on individual risk assessment and the local situation. Those who are most vulnerable to illness, as well as their household members, are strongly recommended to continue to wear a mask.
Masks remain an important measure for protecting ourselves and others from illness. Treating everyone with tolerance, respect, and kindness is ever so important as we each decide what is right for ourselves.
A business can develop its own mask policy and should seek independent legal advice on what that policy should contain.
- Ontario: Using Masks in the Workplace
- COVID-19 Guidance Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Health Care Workers and Health Care Entities
Visit the Masks page for more information.
- Promote frequent hand washing by employees, contractors and customers. Details on proper hand hygiene practices can be found on the Hand Hygiene page.
- Display posters promoting hand washing. Combine this with other communication (i.e. OH&S, intranet, briefings at meetings etc.).
- Provide access to hand washing facilities and place hand sanitizing dispensers in prominent locations throughout the workplace, if possible. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled.
- Avoid shaking hands with colleagues or clients. Use alternative greetings instead, such as a head nod or wave.
- Remind clients who are children to follow these recommendations and support them to do so.
Facts about Gloves in the Workplace
- Wearing gloves is recommended for specific work situations, such as: providing direct care for patients; handling chemicals (ie. when cleaning); and preparing food if you have a cut or abrasion on your hand.
- Regularly washing hands offers more protection against illness than wearing gloves. Cross-contamination can happen easily if someone is wearing gloves. Wearing gloves can lead to a false sense of security and spreading of germs to more surfaces than if good hand washing practices were followed. If an employee touches their face, contamination could go from their glove to their face and they can become infected.
- If employees are instructed to wear gloves, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:
- Employees should be trained on how to properly put gloves on and take them off.
- Bare hands should be washed immediately before putting gloves on and after removing gloves.
- Gloves should be changed frequently.
- Used gloves should be discarded into a waste bin right away and never reused.
- Hand sanitizer should not be used on gloves as it can break down the surface material.
- Employees should be reminded to not touch their face while wearing gloves, or unnecessarily touch surfaces like personal electronic devices.
Printable Posters and Signage
- General information on cough etiquette can be found on the Cover your Coughs and Sneezes page.
- Display posters promoting cough etiquette. Combine this with other communication (i.e. OH&S, intranet, briefings at meetings etc.).
- Consider providing additional tissues should someone develop respiratory symptoms. If symptoms develop, the person should be separated from others, instructed on proper cough etiquette and advised to follow the guidance in the Ontario self-assessment tool.
Printable Posters and Signage
- For detailed information on cleaning, see the Environmental Cleaning page and the TBDHU resource on Cleaning and Disinfection of Public Spaces.
- Workplaces should follow their organization specific cleaning protocols.
- Identify frequently touched surfaces that may need to be cleaned more often (e.g. doorknobs, handrails, light switches, touch screen surfaces, phones, elevator buttons, computers, desks, lunch tables, kitchens, washrooms, cash registers, seating areas, surface counters, customer service counters, bars, restaurant tables/menus, communal pens, etc.).
- It is also recommended that items be removed if they cannot easily be cleaned (e.g. newspapers, magazines, stuffed toys).
- All waste can go into regular garbage bins that are lined. Employees who handle waste should be careful not to touch any used tissues. They should wash their hands with soap and water immediately after emptying wastebaskets and garbage bins.
- Introduce more fresh air by increasing the ventilation system’s air intake or opening doors and windows. Avoid central recirculation where possible.