While it may feel somewhat back to normal now that businesses and public spaces are gradually reopening as part of Ontario’s Stage 3 action plan, there are still many new rules for workplace safety procedures. Many of the old office norms like indoor meetings or after-work social events are still put on hold.
With the indoor gathering limit having been increased to maximum 50 people, most offices can reopen in Toronto. However, specific requirements and safety procedures vary based on the industry and position.
For example, according to the government’s "Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace” website, the retail sector is required to stagger lunch times and install barriers between staff and customers, while the construction sector is required to bag work clothes when bringing home laundry and clean tools before and after use.
Regardless of job sector, all workplaces are encouraged to hang posters in their offices regarding:
- cleaning work surfaces often
- cleaning regularly touched items
- opening doors and windows to let in fresh air
- taking outdoor breaks
- staggering lunch breaks
- conducting outdoor meetings if possible
- reminders to stay two meters apart from others
In fact, the government has created posters for all of these tips and many more that employers are free to use. They have even released over 200 sector-specific guidance and multilingual tip sheets that cover many different workspaces.
Employers are still strongly encouraged to allow employees to work remotely when possible. As new sectors open, more safety resources will be added to the government’s website.