The past two years have seen a massive change in the Canadian economy, political climate, and culture. News and media emphasize the looming threat of an elusive virus, and many governments have decided to shut things down as the pandemic surges past. But for many businesses, this means certain failure, so remaining open is necessary to stay afloat amidst the drastic and sudden changes. Whether you’re a small business or a multimillion-dollar company, life needs to continue for all, and employment lawyers can help you navigate the confusing waters of things you need to keep in mind and things you’re now required to do as you reopen for business, and keep the safety of your employees a priority. 1. Disinfect surfaces regularly Preventing the spread of coronaviruses begins with keeping your work surfaces and general work environment clean. Cleanliness is a standard requirement outlined in Part II of Canada’s Labor Code. Employees have a right to a safe and clean work environment, and this standard is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensure you dust, wipe down and disinfect all surfaces prone to spreading germs. 2. Social distance It’s believed that keeping a distance of approximately two meters between all persons within your establishment, whether employee or customer, effectively reduces the spread of the coronavirus. To this end, employers are required to ensure that this guidance is followed to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone who enters and exits their place of business. 3. Wear a face mask Employers are required by law to protect the health of their employees. That can mean many things, but on an individual level, it means that you should be wearing a face mask when you're around others to prevent the spread of viruses. During this time, even as vaccination rates increase, it’s essential to make sure that you wear a face mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you can still spread the virus, so it’s recommended to continue wearing one. 4. Screen employees at the door For the safety of everyone in the workplace and to continue to follow the health and safety guidelines covered in the Canadian Labor Code, employers must screen employees each day as they come to work. Whether it’s self-screening, a temperature check, or a combination of the two, employers can help flatten the curve by ensuring every employee is fully healthy before starting their workday. For further guidance on employers' requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be helpful to consult with employment lawyers. In addition to the above requirements, employers are also encouraged to do the following: 5. Openly communicate about COVID-19 measures in place and their impact on the workplace The purpose of coronavirus prevention measures may be challenging to understand for some, so it’s essential to be open with your employees about them. One of the ways you can do this is by keeping a written list of workplace safety protocols available for employees. Emphasize a sense of teamwork and camaraderie as you go through this challenging time together. 6. Encourage employees to take care of their health Taking care of your health is of the utmost importance during these uncertain times, so make sure you also encourage your employees to do so for themselves. Simple things such as drinking enough water, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly will help to prevent illness. 7. Work with an occupational health and safety committee to construct the best plan of action Every workplace is different—some are entirely outdoors, and others are confined to office spaces. Work alongside your occupational health and safety committee to construct the best plan of action for your specific workplace. 8. Consult with HVAC professionals to improve air filtration COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, so if your place of work is indoors, you should consult with HVAC experts and take measures to improve the quality of air filtration within your workplace. For further guidance on what employers should do to help provide a safe work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be helpful to consult with employment lawyers such as ELT. Final thoughts One of the most important things an employer can do is establish a safe work environment, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes having proper safety training and ensuring that all employees are knowledgeable about the company's policies. Further Reading \t Whistle-Blower’s Role “Twisted” by Ex-Banker to Seek $10 Million \t Exit Planning – Recalling a Few Facts \t Do You Need A Professional For Water Heater Repair And Installation?