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Information and resources to help COVID-19 proof your business

On November 19, 2020, the provincial health officer (PHO) issued an order to all employers requiring them to:

  • Review their COVID-19 Safety Plan and ensure appropriate protocols are in place.
  • Ensure that work-from-home options are employed where possible
  • Ensure that workers and customers wear masks when not separated by space or barriers.
  • Ensure that workers and others are prohibited from entering the workplace if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Questions and answers about the Provincial Health Officer Orders for Fraser Health for businesses
- Updated November 19, 2020

Having a healthy business during COVID-19 means having strong safety protocols in place. It means doing everything you can to take care of your employees and yourself, while being a community leader and role model.

Healthy staff and healthy customers means healthy businesses. Over the past few months we’ve seen many businesses temporarily having to shut their doors to manage cases and outbreaks. As we enter respiratory illness and flu season, the risk to businesses is increasing. But there are measures you can take now to protect your business from being the next to have to shut its doors due to COVID-19.

Employees (and customers) must wear masks 

Masks are now required for everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces. 

Employers, employees and customers are all expected to comply with the mask mandate.

Masks are required in all workplaces for shared work areas and areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained. This includes:

  • Elevators
  • Kitchens
  • Customer counters
  • Break rooms
  • Hallways
  • Meeting rooms with more than four people

Please note: a mask is not a replacement for other measures such as staying home when ill and handwashing.

Ensure employees have instruction on how to properly wear masks and other applicable personal protective equipment.

Don’t let employees come to work sick

Having employees miss even a day of work can have a major impact on your business. However, the cost of having one employee stay home when they are sick is much lower than having your entire workforce end up sick with COVID-19, or stuck in self-isolation and having to temporarily close your business as a result.

All employees should be required to stay home when they are sick. You can support them to do this by:

  • Offering sick days
  • Not requiring a doctor’s note
  • Implementing a daily screening or self-screening process for illnesses
  • Keep a record to ensure it is performed consistently

Screening for symptoms should be done daily prior to every shift. If employees develop symptoms part way through their shift, they should be supported to leave the workplace immediately.

Common areas and physical distancing

Physical distancing doesn’t just apply at an employee’s regular workstation. Make sure there is physical distancing in every place an employee goes during their day, and during every task they perform.

Physical distancing must also apply to all common locations, e.g lunch rooms, break rooms, bathrooms, punch stations, equipment rooms, locker rooms and any other common areas where employees normally gather. These are areas where we are now seeing COVID-19 transmission.  You can help reduce risk by:

  • Setting maximum capacities for all common spaces to ensure there is enough space for physical distancing
  • Limiting simultaneous use of common spaces by different teams of employees
  • Installing plexiglass barriers and providing personal protective equipment if physical distancing cannot be maintained at all times.
  • Providing employees with their own work vehicles, if applicable.
  • Ensuring handwashing stations and cleaning supplies are readily available

Gatherings

At this crucial time, we are asking people who reside in the Fraser Health region to take a pause and reconsider our social interactions outside of our households.

For workplaces, this means there should be no social gatherings, parties or staff lunches. As a business owner, you can also be a role model for your employees and community in your personal life and encouraging your employees to do the same.

Keep good records

Having detailed logs of where staff worked each day and maintaining a current employee list with contact information and identifying information (e.g. date of birth) will support Public Health to do contact tracing if a case occurs at your workplace. This can limit the number of staff needing to isolate if a case occurs.

At large worksites, divide staff into cohorts

In large worksites, minimize staff rotation/movement between different parts of the worksite or between different teams and avoid staff from different parts of the worksite taking breaks together. This reduces the number of employees exposed if a case is introduced.

Think about transportation

If you know that your employees carpool or take employer-run transportation to work, take this into account when planning staff assignments. For employer-run transportation, symptom screen before employees board and ensure everyone wears a mask and can maintain physical distance while inside the vehicle.

In addition to the above, ensure COVID-19 safety instructions and signage are in the primary languages of the workforce.

Good COVID-19 sense makes good business sense

Now is the time for all of us to work together to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Thank you for doing everything you can to keep yourself, your employees, your business and community healthy.

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