Getting your business ready to reopen
We have all worked really hard to help flatten the curve and now it’s time to start understanding the steps we need to take in order to make our workplaces safe for our employees, guests, and customers. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
COVID-19 Business Resources
Over the last couple of months, we have compiled a list of useful resources and links to government support initiatives to help businesses navigate the impacts of COVID-19.
- Create a Return to Work Committee
- Put together a cross functional group of key individuals from your organization that includes all departments and representatives from all levels of employees (senior leaders, middle managers and line employees). If you are a small business, consider designating a single individual.
- Clearly outline the decision hierarchy to ensure decisions can be made in timely manner.
- Consider seeking feedback from your employees on how they feel regarding a return to the physical workplace.
- Put in place a system where employees can raise any specific concerns they have regarding potential for exposure at the workplace.
- This group will be the key point of contact for all employees when it comes to your organization’s COVID-19 prevention strategy and will have the most up-to-date information on the changing guidelines and policies from federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
- Federal updates
- B.C. Government
- Municipal updates via our colleagues at UDI
- Prepare your workplace
- Have your Committee prepare a workplace Safety Plan to implement policies, guidelines, and procedures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Order necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) and cleaning products and make sure your office/workplace is fully sanitized regularly. Discuss cleaning policies with your landlord. You may want to hire professional cleaners to perform an initial deep clean of your workspace.
- Seek information from your landlord on office procedures regarding safe use and occupancy of elevators, common areas, amenity spaces, and bike rooms.
- Assess and identify places where the risk of transmission is introduced.
- Health authorities recommend 2 metres physical distance between people.Review floor plan and determine if you can provide the necessary physical distancing between employees. Some things to consider:
- Move workstations apart to ensure distancing.
- When multiple workstations are together, consider closing certain stations with clear markings.
- Consider creating pods of workers who work together exclusively to minimize the potential of a broad transmission throughout the entire workplace.
- In open seating arrangements, consider removing chairs to ensure distancing.
- Where necessary/ needed consider using “engineering controls” such as installing plexiglass barriers which are effective methods to stop droplets from spreading.
- For meeting, communal, kitchen or other similar rooms, some things to consider include:
- Consider single-person access if entry into area is necessary.
- Set a limit that is clearly posted, on the number of people permitted in the room. This could be done through limiting or staggering break times to reduce large gatherings.
- Require workers to use their own equipment/utensils.
- Allow communal doors to remain open throughout the workday.
- Consider the use of non-medical masks in these areas where physical distance cannot be maintained.
- Consider options including installing physical barriers (transparent full partitions) and/or rotating employees between working in the office and at home.
- Ensure entry into the business, including lines, are regulated to prevent congestion.Consider one-way hallways and staircases and clear directional pathways around the office.
- Set up your business with a single point of entry.
- Provide adequate hand-washing facilities on site and ensure they are accessible and visible.
- Post physical distancing, sanitation/hygiene and prevention guidelines in the common areas.
- As of May 4, 2020, according to the B.C. Provincial Health Officer, the maximum number of people allowed in one space is 50.
- Preventing exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace: A guide for employers.
- Prepare your employees
- Develop policies that will manage who can be at the workplace, how to address illnesses and how safety can be ensured.
- Make sure to communicate regularly with your employees so they understand the policies, know what to expect, know what is expected of them and feel comfortable coming to work.
- Consider staggering start and end times for employees if crowding at entry and exit locations occur, or alternatively, consider designating separate doors for entry and exit.
- If you need to adjust the number of employees that are in the office at any one time, have your Return to Work Committee or designate develop a priority work plan.
- Institute a zero-tolerance policy for coming to work if sick. If employees are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, implement a policy that they must stay home and follow BC Centre for Disease Control guidelines.
- Screen your employees before every shift to ensure they are healthy and have not been in contact with anyone with COVID-19.
- Employers should require any staff member who becomes ill during the workday go home immediately, and have a plan in place as to who they should notify and how they will travel from the workplace to their home.
- Employers should provide PPE for all employees including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and possibly face shields.
- Provide employees with everything they need to keep their work surfaces clean, including disposable wipes, hand soap, paper towels, disinfectants, and alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Educate your staff on physical distancing.
- Discourage employees from sharing equipment including phones, computers and tools.
- Train staff in proper hygiene procedures.
- Develop work from home procedures if you will have employees working from home to ensure workers are working safely.
- Check in regularly on the mental health of employees.
- Prepare your customers/visitors
- Update your website to reflect the new rules and any other operating changes.
- Try to minimize office visits by having virtual meetings.
- When sending out an invite for an in person meeting, include your workplace rules and guidelines.
- Post guidelines at the entrance of your business regarding your expectations for customer behaviour including physical distancing, PPE usage and to not enter if they are exhibiting any symptoms.
- Require that customers use hand sanitizer upon entering.
- Limit the number of people in your business to ensure six feet physical distancing can be maintained.
- Place tape in high traffic areas to direct flow and keep 2 metres between customers.
- No more than 50 people may gather in common areas.
- Prepare for transactions
- Provide physical barriers, such a plexiglass, if the physical distancing requirement cannot be maintained. Ensure the barriers cover all areas where the customer is expected to move around while interacting with the cashier.
- Sales registers should be six feet apart.
- Install screens between staff and customers if necessary.
- Disinfect transaction areas after each transaction.
- Consider delivery models rather than in-store/office, where applicable.
- Post a sign for deliveries outlining expectations (PPE, hand sanitizer, masks).
B.C. Government Resources
For industry-specific and sectoral protocols to guide your plans to return to work.
COVID-19 Business Resources
Resources and links to support your business planning.
The information contained in this page is meant to act as guidance only and may not be applicable to all sectors, or may not contain comprehensive information for every sector, business or place of work. There may be additional municipal codes that your business must comply with that are not addressed in this toolkit. We strongly advise that all businesses and organizations consult with the relevant industry-specific and sectoral protocols from the Provincial Government and Worksafe BC as well as the relevant mandates of the Provincial Health Officer. Consultation with legal and other trusted advisors is suggested before implementing any of the site’s practices and procedures.