The actions companies take now during the recovery period can set the foundation for them to achieve sustained growth and performance after the pandemic is over. This guide is meant to assist you with opening your business as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. And even if your business is already open, this guide will help you to implement some extra steps by evaluating your operations thoroughly.

As businesses re-open, workplace readiness is important. Workers and customers are unlikely to have the confidence to come back unless they see actions taken for protection against COVID-19. As Marvin Ryder, of McMaster University stated “businesses must show that they are valuing customers and employees health. Did they sanitize and take my health seriously? These types of things can and will be shared both positively and negatively on social media and on company online reviews so do not underestimate their value on your reputation.”

Physical distancing, health screenings, physical barriers, hand washing, surface cleaning and facemasks will be the new normal. Implementing new steps and then training your existing and new employees on all the changes will be critical.

In-Depth Evaluation of Your Company
It is strongly encouraged that you create a written Operational Plan by evaluating your overall business and breaking out all functions. Do not forget to include employees who work in these areas for valuable input as you delve into the different functions.

The Ontario and Canadian governments have developed several sector specific guidance documents which address health & safety. Be sure to review these for guidelines as you proceed through to develop your new Operational Plan.

Click here for Health & Safety Guidance Documents

Click here for More Sector Specific Resources

Click here for Canadian Centre of Occupational H&S

For each function conduct a Risk Assessment to evaluate things such as physical contact (including the amount of times it may occur during the day), physical layout of the workplace, and close proximity instances between employees and/or customers. After reviewing the above online sources, getting valuable input from your team and doing an online search (to come up with some inventive ways that your competitors or businesses from other provinces or countries are implementing safety into their daily routines) create a list of some potential mitigation measures that you could implement to address viable safety concerns to protect both employees and customers. (These could include safety signage, pre-screening and temperature testing for employees or customers, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, personal hygiene, wearing PPE such as masks and gloves, physical barriers, limiting the number of customers at one time, and avoiding equipment or tool sharing).

Some businesses may be contained in the above searches as a whole entity and are relatively straightforward to evaluate, however most are not. For example, if your company is a Golf Course which has a restaurant, several functions that must be considered are: Retail – Cashiers (as they are typically in a pro shop, restaurant, and on the drink carts), Restaurant Servers, Restaurant Cooks, Lawn Care, Maintenance, Management etc. Looking into various sources for each of these will help you to mitigate potential risks.

J.D. Irving, Ltd., of New Brunswick shared their company COVID-19 Workplan, which contains signage, workspace setups, cleaning and disinfecting checklists/protocols etc. While it may be more extensive than you may need it also contains some great examples of requirements and how they have chosen to deal with them.

Training Existing and New Employees
Business owners and management should remain committed to providing all employees, whether permanent or temporary, with an Orientation session to become familiar with the company’s policies, rules and procedures (and in particular any new changes that you are implementing as a result of providing increased safety during COVID-19). There could be some resistance to return to work from some employees so do not forget to include these updated protocols in writing on their recall notice to give them some upfront comfort before returning.

Once the Orientation is complete ensure the employee understands what is expected of them and consider having them sign an orientation form.

As we move towards the future these current measures may be enhanced, lessened, or removed, so if any changes occur ensure that these are again reviewed with all employees.

For more information contact the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce (905-689-7650 or admin@flamboroughchamber.ca) and refer to our COVID-19 UPDATE and RESOURCE CENTRE for additional support.