COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

Workplaces and Municipalities

Reopening: STEP 3

Effective July 16, 2021

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Province enters Step 3 of Roadmap to Reopen

Effective July 16th, 2021 the province of Ontario moved into Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen.

The following resources and key highlights may support you in understanding what will be permitted in Step 3.

In O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Step 3, every business or place is responsible for ensuring they are following all General Rules (outlined in Schedule 1)  in addition to the Specific Rules that are applicable to define (outlined in Schedule 2).

Mandatory public health measures that must continue for all businesses include the following:

  • Screening: active screening of all workers and essential visitors continues. Passive screening of all customers of businesses also continues, such as by posting signs so individuals can screen themselves. Some businesses are required to conduct active screening of customers. Screening is required even if staff or customers are fully vaccinated.
  • Masks: face coverings and personal protective equipment, including eye protection continues where indicated.
  • Physical distancing: all persons should maintain a physical distance of at least two metres between themselves and others, with exceptions such as for caregivers and those within the same household
  • Capacity limits: all businesses must ensure that every member of the public is able to maintain two metres of physical distancing from every other person. Specific capacity limits are defined by sector. Businesses must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted to operate under.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting: ensure shared amenities, equipment and/or items are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
  • Safety Plans: all businesses must have COVID-19 workplace safety plans, no matter what step they are in. Note: some important changes for businesses and organizations on what is required in the safety plan have been added. Refer to O. Reg 364/20, Schedule 1, Section 3.3 for details.

For specific details on the above mandatory measures see O. Reg 364/20 Schedule 1 General Rules. Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Please note that when there are changes to COVID-19 public health measures, we share sector-specific guidance with the following sectors: Businesses; Restaurants & Food Establishments; Sports & Recreation; Personal Services Settings; Casinos, Bingo Halls and Gaming Establishments; Campgrounds; Places of Worship and Municipalities. To be added to our distribution list, please email: workplacewellness@county-lambton.on.ca 

What’s next?

The province will remain in Step Three for at least 21 days and until the following thresholds are met:

  • 80% of the eligible population aged 12 and over has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 75% have received their second. 
  • No public health unit has less than 70% of their eligible population fully vaccinated.
  • Other key public health and health care indicators remain stable (e.g. case counts, hospital admissions, ICU occupancy). 

The province has stated that when these thresholds are met, the majority of public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted (e.g. capacity limits) though some measures will remain. You can follow the Ontario Newsroom for updates.

Information Sections

COVID-19 Resources
Schools, Child Care & Camp Providers
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Ask a Question

Business-owners with questions are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

COVID-19 Resources

Outbreak Management

Screening Tools

Signs/Posters

COVID Safety Measures

Training Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

CAPACITY LIMITS: What are the capacity limits for my business?

In Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, capacity limits are:

Meeting and event spaces:
● Indoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity or 1,000 persons (whichever is less). 
● Outdoor: 75% capacity or 5,000 persons (whichever is less).
● Seating: configure space so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass)

Food and drink establishments
● Indoor and Outdoor: physical distancing limits. 
● Seating: configure space so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass)

Food and drink establishments WITH dancing:
● Indoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 25% capacity or 250 persons (whichever is less). 
● Outdoor: 75% capacity or 5,000 persons (whichever is less).
● Seating: configure space so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass)
● NOTE: Any venue or event with dancing must follow the limits for dance facilities. 

Retail
● Physical distancing limits.

Shopping Mall
● Physical distancing limits (calculated based on the sum for each business in the mall). 

Personal care services
● Physical distancing limits

Businesses that provide teaching and instruction:
● Indoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity or 1,000 persons (whichever is less)
● Outdoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 75% capacity or 15,000 persons (whichever is less)

Fitness training: 
● Indoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity 

Sport and recreation facilities
● Indoor: 50% capacity for indoor facilities. In the spectator area, 50% of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 persons (whichever is less). If no designated seating area, physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity or 1,000 persons (whichever is less). 
● Outdoor: In the spectator area, 75% of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 persons (whichever is less). If no designated seating area, 75% capacity or 5,000 persons (whichever is less).

Indoor clubhouse at an outdoor recreational amenity
● Indoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity

Entertainment with seating and/or for an event (such as concert venues, theatres, cinema, and racing venues)
● Indoor: 50% of the usual seating capacity or 1,000 persons (whichever is less). If in a room within the indoor seated venue, 50% capacity of the usual seating capacity of the room (and cannot be added to increase total capacity).
● Outdoor: 75% of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 persons (whichever is less). If no designated seating area, 75% capacity or 5,000 persons (whichever is less).

Entertainment without seating (such as museums and similar attractions; amusement parks; and fairs, rural exhibition, festivals)
● Indoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity. If at an indoor attraction, physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity of the attraction.
● Outdoor: 75% capacity. If at an outdoor attraction, 75% capacity of the attraction. 
● NOTE: If an event with seating occurs in these settings, it must follow the limits for a seated event

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
● Indoor: physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% capacity
● Space: configure space so that patrons at gaming tables or slot machines are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass)
● NOTE: If an event with seating occurs in this setting, it must follow the limits for a seated event

Tour and guide services
● Physical distancing limits

Boat tours
● Physical distancing limits and must not exceed 50% of the usual passenger capacity for the vessel

Strip clubs
●Physical distancing limits. 
● Seating: configure space so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass)

Bathhouses, sex clubs
● Physical distancing limits and must not exceed 25% capacity. 
● Seating: configure space so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by at least two metres or an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass)

Please note in Step 3, in some settings there are exceptions to physical distancing requirements and masks are required. For further clarity, refer to the FAQ “When are masks required outdoors?”.

Determining Capacity: 

● Physical distancing limits means the number of members of the public in a place of business or facility must be limited to ensure all persons are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person. In addition to ensuring a minimum 2 metre radius per person, other factors such as layout and obstructions should also be taken into account when determining capacity to allow for proper physical distancing. Ottawa Public Health developed a resource that outlines considerations to help determine capacity limits based on the Province’s physical distancing requirement.
● Outdoors: 75% capacity is determined by taking the total square metres of the area accessible to the public, dividing that number by 1.33, and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number.
● Indoors: 50% or 25% capacity is determined using the maximum occupant load of the business or facility (or part of a business or facility) as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
● Capacity limits cannot be combined (e.g., indoor and outdoor spaces for one event). In all cases, the lower capacity limits for an establishment/event must be followed (e.g., events that move from indoor to outdoor; if overall venue capacity and seated capacity differ; if establishment/event permits dancing). 

Signage: 

The person responsible for a place of business or facility must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted to operate under.

COMMUNITY: What do I need to know about planning my wedding ceremony during Step 3?

In Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, different aspects of a wedding are subject to different rules. The ceremony itself is considered a religious ceremony and must follow the rules for a religious service, rite or ceremony.
 
Wedding Ceremony
● Indoor and outdoor permitted with capacity limited to the amount of people that can maintain at least two metres with persons outside of their immediate household.
● Masks are required indoors (with limited exemptions, see FAQ on mask exemptions).

COMMUNITY: What do I need to know about planning my wedding reception during Step 3?

In Step Three of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, different aspects of a wedding are subject to different rules. A gathering associated with a wedding, such as a reception, depends on the location of the event (e.g. rented space or private dwelling).

Wedding Ceremony
● Indoor and outdoor permitted with capacity limited to the amount of people that can maintain at least two metres with persons outside of their immediate household.
● Masks are required indoors (with limited exemptions, see FAQ on mask exemptions).

Reception at Meeting or Event Space:

A reception that is held at a rented space that is monitored or managed by a business needs to follow the below restrictions.

Capacity
● Indoor: Limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person and must not exceed 50% capacity or 1,000 persons (whichever is less). Physical distancing and 50% capacity also applies to a particular room in the indoor portion of the rented space. 
● Outdoor: Must not exceed 75% capacity or 5,000 persons (whichever is less).
● The space must be configured so that people are seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres or by an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass). There are no limits to the number of patrons per table. Rooms must be separated by a partition with a hard, non-porous surface that can be easily and routinely cleaned and disinfected.

Entertainment
●Live performances are permitted. If live entertainment is performed, the performers must maintain a physical distance from spectators by at least two metres or be separated by an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglass).
● If/when there is dancing, the space becomes a “Food or drink establishment with dance facilities” and must follow the restrictions outlined in Schedule 2, Section 2. This includes reduced indoor capacity (i.e., 25% capacity or 250 persons, whichever is less). 

Responsibilities of the business or place
Actively screen individuals before they enter the indoor premise of the business or place. 
● Record the name and contact information of every person who attends, and maintain the records for a period of at least one month. Only disclose the records to Lambton Public Health to support case and contact tracing.

Masks
● Masks are required indoors (with limited exemptions, see FAQ on mask exemptions).
● When dancing, masks are required indoors and outdoors (with limited exemptions, see FAQ on mask exemptions).

Reception at Private Residence: A reception that is held at a private home (e.g. not managed by a business) would need to follow the below restrictions. 
● Indoor gatherings are permitted for up to 25 people
● Outdoor gatherings are permitted for up to 100 people

SCREENING: When and how am I required to screen workers and essential visitors?

Every workplace is required under the provincial regulations to actively screen every worker and essential visitor before they enter the workplace. Screening is required even if workers are fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 worker and employee screening resource can be used to support this requirement.

Screening is a key component of the required for COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan. Please refer to Question 2 in this linked resource for additional information for businesses.

SCREENING: When and how am I required to screen my customers?

Every business is required under the provincial regulations to passively screen customers (for example, posting signs outside the store front about not entering if they have COVID-19). Some businesses are required to conduct active screening of customers, including:

● Meeting and event spaces (indoor areas)
● Restaurants, bars (indoor dining)
● Food or drink establishments with dance facilities 
● Personal care services
● Personal fitness and training
● Sport and recreational facilities
● Business providing teaching and instruction
● Photography studios (indoor)
● Test driving vehicles (land or water)
● Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
● Strip clubs, bathhouses, sex clubs

Please Note: Screening is required even if persons are fully vaccinated. The following resources can be used to support this requirement:

COVID-19 customer screening
COVID-19 Signage Questions for Businesses and Organizations

WORKPLACE TESTING: When and how should employees be tested for COVID-19?

As of May 26, 2021: Ministry of Health COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance.
 
Testing Criteria:
 
Any adult presenting with at least one symptom or sign from the COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms should be considered for PCR testing for COVID19.
 
Only high-risk asymptomatic individuals, including asymptomatic individuals who have received a positive rapid antigen result, and individuals from targeted testing groups should be considered for PCR testing as follows:  

● Employees are close contacts of confirmed positive case(s)
● Employees are part of Targeted Testing Group(s) as directed by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care, Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, or by local public health
● Employees are notified of an exposure from the COVID Alert App
● Employees are part of an outbreak investigation (at the direction of public health) 
 
In the above situations, Lambton Public Health will direct the testing and management process for employees identified as close contacts of a case. In some circumstances, testing of asymptomatic individuals is directed by a relevant Ministry, and these may or may not be eligible for testing at provincial assessment centres

Please note that rapid antigen testing is used for screening purposes only and should NOT be used for symptomatic individuals, individuals with known close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, or diagnosis of acute COVID-19 infection in symptomatic individuals or individuals with known close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

Lambton Public Health discourages any requirement for proof of a negative test or medical notes that rule out COVID-19 for employees returning to work. LPH does not currently have the capacity to provide documentation for employees requiring proof of a negative test.

WORKPLACE TESTING: Can my workplace implement private COVID-19 testing with employees?

Lambton Public Health (LPH) asks workplaces who choose to implement private COVID-19 testing for staff (using either rapid or PCR testing) to do so in consultation with us.

Under the Ontario Regulation 135/18 and amendments under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, any suspected or confirmed cases of the diseases of public health significance (including COVID-19) must be reported to the local Medical Officer of Health. Therefore, any positive or suspected case of COVID-19 must be reported immediately to Lambton Public Health. Timely reporting of communicable diseases is essential for their control.

Please note: if rapid testing is being used, any positive results will need to be followed up with PCR testing as per the COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance for rapid antigen screening.

WORKPLACE TESTING: How do I access free rapid testing for my workplace?

The StaySafe™ Lambton Rapid Antigen Screening Program provides free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses, with 150 employees or less. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and in the community. 

Visit Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Covid Resources Page for additional rapid testing resources. You can register for the kits at https://www.staysafelambton.ca/ but will need to call ahead of time (519-336-2400) for pickup arrangements. 

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP) provides free rapid antigen test kits to high-risk communities, organizations and essential workplaces.The application process is open to all organizations that are allowed to be open under current public health measures, and require individuals to be physically present.

Program Participants:
● Notify their Local Public Health Unit before testing begins
● Must agree to the program terms and conditions
● Review onboarding and training materials
● Order free test kits from the province of Ontario
● Report de-identified testing data to the province each week
● Must properly handle and dispose of used test kits

WORKPLACE TESTING: How do I properly dispose of used rapid antigen tests in my workplace? 

The local program by the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce includes disposal. They
offer a biohazard bag with their distributed kits and provide disposal for those kits. If you are not part of this program, Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce may still be able to support disposal depending on the size of your organization.   
 
The provincial program provides information for approved facilities for the disposal of biomedical waste, including:
Daniels Sharpsmart Canada Limited
Stericycle, ULC Note: this facility is based in Scarborough and has been known to frequent the area
Octagon Medical Services Ltd.
 
ECS Cares is another facility that is based in Barrie and has been known to frequent the area.  

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: When are employees/staff required to wear face coverings and eye protection?

Masks and face coverings are required to be worn by all staff in all indoor public spaces. It is the employer’s (or person responsible for the business/organization’s) responsibility to ensure this takes place. Masks must be worn in employee only areas if distancing of 2 metres cannot be maintained (such as in kitchens/staff rooms).

The person responsible for a business or organization shall ensure that every person who performs work for the business or organization and whose mask or face covering is temporarily removed to consume food or drink under sub clause (4) (i) (iii) is separated from every other person by a distance of at least two metres; or plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Eye protection (face shields or goggles) in addition to face masks must be worn indoors by staff when 2 metres cannot be maintained between themselves and patrons that are not wearing masks or face coverings. For more information about masks see Mandatory Masks FAQs.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: Do my employees have to wear a mask while in a company vehicle?

As per the Ontario mask regulation, employees that are in a company vehicle by themselves do not have to wear a mask (this could be considered an “employee only” area). 

However, as per the Ontario Regulation 364/20, if an employee is travelling with any co-workers or customers, all persons that enter the vehicle operating as part of the business or organization must wear a mask.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: What are my obligations as an employer to meet the requirements for the Ontario regulations on masks/face coverings?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area, with limited exemptions (refer to FAQ on mask exemptions).

The person responsible for a business or organization shall ensure that every person who performs work for the business or organization and whose mask or face covering is temporarily removed to consume food or drink under sub clause (4) (i) (iii) is separated from every other person by,
(a) a distance of at least two metres; or
(b) plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Eye protection (e.g. goggles/faceshield) is also required if a worker is required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering when that person is in an indoor area and not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Further, businesses or places must not permit patrons to line up inside the businesses or place unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons and wearing a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless they are entitled to an exception set out in the regulation. 

Patrons must not line up or congregate outside of the business or place unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons.

In addition, employers must be aware of the exemptions to mask wearing. Please see FAQ on exemptions.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: What are the exemptions to wearing masks or face coverings in the workplace?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, an employee is exempt from wearing a mask in indoor spaces when:
● Performing or rehearsing in a film or television production or in a concert, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance.
● They have a medical condition that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering.
● They are unable to put on or remove their mask or face covering without the assistance of another person.
● Needing to temporarily remove their mask or face covering while in the indoor area:
◦ To receive services that require the removal of their mask or face covering,
◦ To engage in an athletic or fitness activity,
◦ To consume food or drink,
◦ Or necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
● Being accommodated in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005;
● Being reasonably accommodated in accordance with the Human Rights Code; or
● Performing work for the business or organization, is in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and is able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.

Please note: In situations where an employee is required to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering (indoors) and is not separated from the person by an impermeable barrier (e.g. plexiglas) the employee must also wear protective eyewear (e.g. goggles, faceshield).

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: Can I ask my employee for documentation for an exemption from wearing a mask?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, it is not necessary for a person to present evidence to the person responsible for a business or place that they are entitled to any of the exceptions set out in the regulation. See FAQ on exemptions.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: Do employees have to wear a face covering/mask when they are in employee only areas?

No, according to the Ontario Regulation 364/20 if employees are in an area that is not accessible to members of the public and are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person while in the indoor area.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: Where can I access personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks?

Please access the provincial Workplace PPE Supplier Directory for a list of companies that sell PPE and other supplies to keep your employees and customers safe from COVID-19.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: Is there signage available to post in my business?

Yes, please see the signage available here.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: When do masks need to be worn on the premises of a restaurant?

As outlined in O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Step 3:
• see Schedule 1, Section 2: General Compliance
• see Schedule 1, Section 3.1: Requirements that apply to individuals
• see Schedule 1, Section 3.2: Physical distancing and masks or face coverings in lines, etc.
 
Workers and patrons are required to wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin, when they are in indoor areas of the premises, with limited exemptions (refer to FAQ on mask exemptions).

Additionally, where dance is permitted at an establishment/venue all persons dancing must wear a mask/face covering if they cannot maintain 2 meters physical distance from every other person outside of their household.
 
FOR BUSINESSES AND WORKERS
Although in the outdoor areas of the premises a face covering is not required, it is still highly recommended. The onus is on the person responsible for the business and it is in their best interest to ensure the safety of workers and patrons and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Additional considerations for businesses to be aware of include: 
• Workers and patrons must wear a face covering while in any indoor public area. 
Proper use of face coverings requires workers to use hand sanitizer for 15 seconds before putting on and taking off a face covering or if  touching a face covering (e.g. when moving between indoor/outdoor areas). Wearing a face covering at all times will reduce the amount of time required to sanitize hands.
• Masks/Face coverings worn on outdoor patios will assist in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (and outbreaks), especially when serving food/ drinks in close proximity to patrons who are not wearing a mask and may not be vaccinated.
• All businesses that are open are required to prepare and make available a COVID-19 workplace safety plan. A safety plan describes the measures and procedures that the business is or will implement to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19, including the use of face coverings (refer to FAQ on safety plan and/or see Schedule 1, Section 3.3)
 
FOR PATRONS
Although in the outdoor areas of the premises a face covering is not required, it is encouraged that whenever individuals are out in the community that they: 
• Keep a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. 
•Wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres.
 
A face covering becomes required during any period in which a person is in an indoor area of the premises, except once seated at their table in which the mask may be temporarily removed to consume food or drink. As persons move within areas of the establishment (e.g. from their table to the washroom) and between indoor and outdoor areas, they remove or reapply personal protective equipment they need to ensure proper handling. This includes washing your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering.
 
Further, a business that is open must ensure that when patrons are lining up or congregating that they:
• Indoor: maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups of persons and wear a face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin.
• Outdoor: maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups.

MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS: When are masks required outdoors?

As per Ontario Regulation 364/20, it is required to wear a mask or face covering outdoors when attending/viewing an event such as a concert, performance or movie or when dancing. This means for such an event/activity in the outdoor areas of restaurants/food establishments with dancing, sports and rec facilities, concert venues, theatres, cinemas, and racing venues. It also includes if a concert, event, performance or movie is held at another outdoor venue such as a museum or similar attraction, amusement park, or fair, rural exhibition, or festival.

In the above outdoor situations and venues, every patron must wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless:
● They are entitled to an exception set out in Schedule 1, Section 2 (4).
● They are seated with members of their own household only, and every member of the household is seated at least two metres from every person outside their household.
● They are temporarily removing their mask to consume food or drink.

POSITIVE TEST RESULTS: My employee tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

Please refer to Question 4 of the provincial COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan 
To support decision making for symptomatic employees refer to this guide.

OUTBREAK MANAGEMENT: What determines a workplace outbreak and what process takes place?

Workplace outbreaks: Declared when two or more employees test positive for COVID-19 within a reasonable time frame to suspect transmission in the workplace. 

Public Health will isolate cases, test and isolate those who have been exposed, and implement changes to reduce risk of transmission. Workplaces will only be named if public notification will help to identify additional close contacts that cannot be determined through contact tracing.
 
While we know it can be concerning to learn about new cases or outbreaks in the community we are encouraging everyone to follow these tips to protect themselves.

OUTBREAK MANAGEMENT: What can I do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in my workplace?

All employees should understand and comply with the infection prevention policies and practices in place in their workplaces. Employers should use the risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employers and employees will need to work together to protect their own health and their clients’ health, as well as deliver essential services.

There are important steps to take. This document will provide information to support all who continue to work in the essential services.

SELF-ISOLATION AND RETURN TO WORK: What are the steps to take for an employee to return to work after self-isolating?

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent outbreaks, refer to the Ontario Self-Isolation and Return to Work guidance to understand when employees can return to work.

SELF-ISOLATION AND RETURN TO WORK: Does an employee need a negative COVID test to return to work if they are home with a sick child with symptoms and/or is waiting to be tested?

The employee must stay home until the sick child gets a negative COVID-19 test result, is cleared by their local public health unit, or is diagnosed with another illness. However, having a child who is home sick from school (i.e. staying at home due to symptoms and required to be tested) is not an indication for required testing for the employee. Employees should only be tested if they are symptomatic themselves or if they have been contacted by Lambton Public Health as a close contact of a positive case.

SELF-ISOLATION AND RETURN TO WORK: What policies should be in place for employees during this time?

On March 19, 2020, Ontario passed Bill 186, Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020, which allows for job-protected leave without pay to employees under medical investigation, supervision or treatment, or in isolation or quarantine, or who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives, or are affected by travel restrictions, due to COVID-19. The measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020. This regulation has been amended to extend the temporary rules to September 25th, 2021.

OUTBREAK MANAGEMENT: How can I run a business if key employees may not be able to report to work due to their illness or their child’s illness?

It is important to develop strategies for all staff, including those that have school-aged children:

● Build staff capacity: Consider cross-functional training, especially for critical positions. to keep your business strong when employees are absent
● Hire additional staff: On a temporary or permanent basis.
● Rearrange workstations: Workplaces associated with multiple locations may want to consider having staff members work out of different sites.

OUTBREAK MANAGEMENT: Working from home is not a viable option in our workplace (ie. retail or service) setting. What if an employee has to isolate or be off with a child that is ill for 14 days?

Develop strategies for staff that have school-aged children:

● Build staff capacity: Consider cross-functional training, especially for critical positions to keep your business strong when employees are absent
● Hire additional staff: On a temporary or permanent basis.
● Ensure policies reflect the employers legal obligation: Employees are accommodated when they are off work due to COVID-19 illness, required to self-isolate or when caring for a family member who is ill or in self-isolation. 

The following outlines the Ontario’s Human Rights Code obligations of the employer in these situations:
● Under the Human Rights Code (Code), an employer may not discipline or terminate an employee who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is perceived to have COVID-19 (because, for example, they are exhibiting certain symptoms). Similarly, an employer may not discipline or terminate an employee if they are unable to come to work because medical or health officials have quarantined them or have advised them to self-isolate and stay home in connection with COVID-19.
● Employee absenteeism policies must not negatively affect the employee as the federal government has called for all travellers entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry with exceptions for workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people, and that all Canadians, as much as possible, should stay home.
● Under the Employment Standards Act, employees also have other rights regarding termination (e.g. severance and notice of termination). Visit the Ministry of Labour and Skills Development website for more information. Employees may also have rights regarding termination under common law.
○ On March 19, 2020, Ontario passed Bill 186, Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020, which allows for job-protected leave without pay to employees under medical investigation, supervision or treatment, or in isolation or quarantine, or who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or daycare closures or to care for other relatives, or are affected by travel restrictions, due to COVID-19. The measures are retroactive to January 25, 2020.
● Under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program, employees who cannot work because of COVID-19 may also be entitled to sick or disability or other leave benefits that may be available from their employer.
Eligible workers with no or limited paid-leave benefits through their employers can apply for up to 15 weeks of EI benefits if they cannot work for medical reasons. Visit the federal government website for more information.

WORKPLACE SUPPORT: What government supports are in place to help small businesses remain viable and do their part in preventing COVID-19 transmission?

To help all Sarnia-Lambton area businesses navigate these uncertain times that are a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, check out Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership’s website for Government Programs and Resources for Businesses.

CONCERNS & COMPLAINTS: I have health and safety concerns about my workplace. What are my next steps?

If you have health and safety concerns at your workplace you first must report them to your supervisor. You may also wish to contact your health and safety representative/ committee.  Employees have the right to refuse work* that they believe is unsafe. Follow the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development procedure for work refusal.  If your concerns continue you can file a complaint with the Ministry by calling toll-free at 1-877-202-0008.

Some businesses, including all those operating during a lockdown or shutdown, must have a written COVID-19 safety plan that outlines how to keep employees safe and what to do in the event of an outbreak.  This safety plan must be made available if requested and should be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace. Review your workplace safety plan to understand what safety precautions and protocols are in place at your workplace.  


*(Note: some exceptions include where a work refusal would endanger the life, health and safety of another person and would involve persons such as first responders, correction services, certain healthcare personnel etc.).

COVID-19 and workplace health and safety – Ontario Ministry of Labour
Right to Refuse Work – Ontario Ministry of Labour
Human Rights Questions and Answers – Ontario Human Rights Commission

CONCERNS & COMPLAINTS: Who do I contact about a workplace not following COVID-19 rules?

For contact information please visit the Public Health and Enforcement Calls webpage.

SAFETY PLAN: What businesses must develop a safety plan and what are the requirements for these?

All businesses open are required to prepare and make available a COVID-19 safety plan. A copy of the plan shall be made available to any person for review upon request, and be posted where it would come to the attention of individuals working in or attending the business.  For specific details see O. Reg 364/20: Schedule 1, Section 3.3.
 
• the safety plan is prepared and made available, that complies with the  requirement no later than seven days after the requirement first applies
• the safety plan shall describe the measures and procedures which have been implemented or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19.
• the safety plan shall describe how the requirements of provincially mandated orders will be implemented in the location including screening, physical distancing, masks or face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects, and the wearing of personal protective equipment.
• the safety plan shall be in writing and shall be made available to any person for review on request.
• a copy of the safety plan is posted in a conspicuous place where it is most likely to come to the attention of individuals working in or attending the location.

COMMUNITY: What are the rules for Trailer parks and Private Campgrounds

During Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen, campgrounds are permitted to be open with no restrictions on timeline for usage. 

In addition to outdoor recreational amenities (which were permitted to open with restrictions in Step One), indoor recreational amenities are now permitted to open and must be in compliance with Schedule 2, section 16.

Section 16: Facilities used for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities

Capacity Limits:
● In an indoor facility, the total number of members of the public permitted to be in the facility at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person* and in any event may not exceed 50 per cent of the capacity of the facility.
● *Persons engaged in sports or games in both indoor and outdoor facilities are exempt from the rule of maintaining two metres distance from others.
 
Signage
A sign must be posted in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which the facility is permitted to operate.
 
Contact tracing: 
Record the name and contact information of every member of the public who enters the facility and maintain the records for a period of at least one month. 
Only disclose the records to Lambton Public Health to support case and contact tracing.
 
Screening
● Actively screen individuals before they enter the facility. The Provincial Screening Tool for Businesses and Organizations and/or the Provincial Online Customer Screening Tool can be used to conduct screening.
 
Safety plan: 
● The person responsible for a business that is open shall prepare and make available a safety plan in accordance with this section, or ensure that one is prepared and made available, no later than seven days after the requirement first applies to the person. The Provincial template and checklist can be used to develop a COVID-19 safety plan.

COMMUNITY: Are yard sales allowed?

Yard sales are permitted with monitored gathering limits for each step of the Ontario Roadmap to Reopen. Step 3 allows for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings and organized public events. Please note, physical distancing guidelines still apply. 

● Indoors: Up to 25 people 
● Outdoors: Up to 100 people
 
Key Public Health Measures to Practice:
● Position tables and items far apart to allow for physical distancing and consider taping direction arrows for traffic flow.
● Wear a non-medical face covering. 
● Have hand sanitizer available for both yourself and customers to use. 
● Customers should sanitize items purchased or quarantine them prior to use. 

CAPACITY: What are the Step 3 requirements for holding events in community halls (ie. Legions, cultural halls, etc.)?

Based on the Provincial regulations for Step 3, there are different measures that you are required to follow depending on the nature of the use of the hall.
 
If you are operating as a food and drink establishment only and not renting out the space for meetings or events, then you will be required to follow the Restaurant and bars measures as outlined in Schedule 2, Section 1 of the O. Reg 364/20.
 
If you are renting out your space for meetings or events, you are required to follow the meeting and event spaces measures as outlined in Schedule 1, Section 4 of the O. Reg 364/20. If you are selling or serving food at these meetings/events, then you must also follow the restaurant and food premise measures as outlined in Schedule 2, Section 1 of the O. Reg 364/20. If you are having dancing at the event, then you will also be required to follow the measures outlined for food or drink establishments with dancing facilities as outlined in Schedule 2, Section 2 of the O. Reg 364/20.
 
Essentially the main difference in measures between these uses is the capacity limit you are required to follow. Please refer to each applicable section of the regulations for other required measures.
 
Capacity Limits:
Food and Drink Establishment – selling or serving food or drink:
 
The number of patrons permitted to be seated at the establishment, whether indoors or outdoors, must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person at the establishment.
 
The dining area must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by,
a distance of at least two metres, or
● plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.
 
Food and drink establishment with Dancing permitted:
If a room or separate space within your hall has dancing facilities, then the capacity for that particular space when dancing is permitted would be limited to 25% capacity* or 250 persons, whichever is less
 
Meeting and Event Space rented out (weddings, birthday parties, showers, meetings, community groups): 
 Indoors:
Entire facility:
○  The number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the indoor portion of the rentable meeting or event space and in any event may not exceed 50 per cent capacity, as arrived at by taking 50 per cent of the capacity of every room* in the rentable meeting or event space, or 1,000 persons, whichever is less.
Each room:
○   The number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the indoor portion of the rentable meeting or event space and in any event may not exceed 50 per cent capacity*.
 Outdoors:
● The number of patrons at any one time may not exceed 75 per cent capacity, or 5,000 persons, whichever is less. This is determined by taking the total square metres of area accessible to the public, dividing that number by 1.33, and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number.
*Capacity load is as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
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If you are renting out space for a meeting or event that is selling/serving food/drink, then you would follow the restaurant/food premise capacity limits OR the capacity limits outlined for meeting/event spaces (% capacity load) – whichever is less.
 
If dancing begins at a certain time, then the capacity of the space/room that it is occurring in would need to be limited to 25% of the capacity load* or 250 persons, whichever is less.
 
Signage must be posted in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity they are permitted to operate under for the entire facility and each room.
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Sample Scenario: A legion with two rooms would like to hold two events at the same time: Club room rented out for a birthday party (patrons seated) where food/drink is sold and served and a wedding in the Hall with food/drink served/sold and dancing to occur after 8pm.

Club Room:
The Club room’s capacity load is 143 and Wedding Hall’s capacity load is 289.
 Based on the legion’s capacity load of each room, the total capacity permitted for the entire facility (both rooms) to be rented out at any one time would be 217 (50% capacity of each room). 143/2 = 72 and 289/2= 145: 72+145 = 217.
● capacity load of this room is 143 and therefore 50% would be 72 maximum for this room or the number permitted that are seated at tables with 2 metres distance between all seated patrons, whichever is less
 
Wedding Hall:
● capacity is 289 and therefore 50% would be 145 maximum for this room or the number permitted that are seated at tables with 2 metres distance between all seated patrons, whichever is less
● When dancing begins, then the capacity of that room is required to be reduced to 25% which would be 72 maximum.
 Note: You cannot increase the number for each room, even if the other room is not being used at the same time, so as to increase the capacity of that room to the maximum capacity allowed for the entire facility.
 For all businesses, mandatory measures must be implemented as described on the Workplace and Municipal COVID-19 webpage.

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