General Public Health Measures for Essential Workplaces

The following guidelines outline the minimum public health measures required to keep yourself, employees and Niagara residents safe and healthy when re-opening workplaces.

Every workplace should review their appropriate health and safety guidelines.

COVID-19 Signs to Screen Employees and Customers

Operators are recommended to place screening posters at the entrance to make sure customers don't enter if they have COVID-19 signs or symptoms. If able, consider screening customers over the phone before arrival.

People with symptoms of COVID-19 shouldn't enter the building and should go home right away to self-isolate to stop the spread of infection.

Screening Tool

Operators should actively screen staff before the beginning of each shift for signs and symptoms. Active screening means someone is responsible for reviewing the list of signs and symptoms before allowing entry into the building.

If the individual answers 'yes' to any of the screening questions, or refuses to answer, they have failed the screening and shouldn't enter the building. They should return home to self-isolate immediately and call their health care professional.

Promote Healthy Hygiene Practices

Post clear, visible signage at all entrances and in the workplace reminding employees and customers about:

  • Signs and symptoms
  • What to do if they feel unwell
  • How to protect themselves (respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene, physical distancing, screening poster, etc.)

Make alcohol-based hand sanitizer available at the screening table and throughout the establishment, such as each entrance, checkouts, tables, washrooms, etc.

Employees should wash or sanitize hands between every interaction with customers, when visibly soiled / contaminated, or after frequent contact with high touch surfaces.

Increase Cleaning, Disinfection and Ventilation

Increase environmental cleaning and disinfecting of all high touch surfaces at least twice daily, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, toilet handles, counters, hand rails, touch screens surfaces and shared materials, equipment, workstations and keypads

Provide lined garbage bins throughout the workplace for employees and customers.

Make sure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, and other methods

Physical Distancing

Encourage physical distancing (keeping a distance of at least two metres from other people) as much as possible.

  • Use telephone, video conferencing, or the internet for business, including appointments, as much as possible, even in the same building instead of in-person meetings
  • Allow flexible hours and stagger start times, breaks and lunches or days that workers are in the workplace
  • Provide physical barriers, such as plexiglass dividers
  • Remove furniture or mark out a two metre distance on the floor or between seats and seating areas to ensure physical distancing in common areas such as reception areas, meeting rooms, waiting rooms, grocery lines, kitchenettes, elevators, offices and other work spaces
  • Admit fewer customers at a given time
  • Dedicate specific hours to high-risk populations, including those over 65 and/or with disabilities
  • Encourage the use of self-scanning / self-checkout technologies
  • Encourage customers to pack their own purchases, whenever possible, and discouraging the use of multi-use bags

Face Coverings

On Sept. 17, 2020, Niagara Regional Council extended the temporary face covering by-law (By-law 2020-46) to require residents to wear mandatory face coverings in enclosed public places, and on Regional and municipal transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employers should refer to the sector-specific guidelines below to determine what types of preventive measures are appropriate for their workplace settings.

A face shield or plastic mouth shield is not a substitution for a face covering.

Face shields are intended to be used by health care workers and worn in addition to other personal protective equipment. A face covering creates a complete or near-complete barrier on the sides of the wearer's face. A face shield is open on the sides which allows particles and aerosols to enter and exit.

Plastic mouth shields are not on the Health Canada medical device licence product list for personal protective equipment. As a non-medical mask it has significant gaps, particularly around the nose and top of the mask. It does not fit closely to the face and provides inadequate protection from particles and aerosols.

Wearing a face / mouth shield alone doesn't meet the requirements of the Regional by-law. Learn more with our frequently asked questions.

Personal Protective Equipment

Follow Ministry of Health guidance regarding personal protective equipment for essential workplaces.

If personal protective equipment is provided by the employer, employees must be trained on safe use, care and limitations, including putting on and taking off equipment and proper disposal.

Review the Niagara personal protective equipment (PPE) provider directory or the provincial supplier directory.


For more information, call the Info-Line at 905-688-8248 press 7, then press 3 or toll-free at 1-888-505-6074.

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