As some businesses remain open and others have pivoted to curbside and/or safe pick-up, there is extra work involved for business owners, who could face fines if they are not ensuring that they are conducting business in accordance with the rules prescribed by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU). Business owners could face fines of up to $5,000 per day for individuals or $25,000 per day for corporations on the day during which infractions occurs or continues.

An order issued by the EOHU on April 3 defines the rules which have been put in place for essential businesses.

Those rules are as follows:

Ensure Crowd Control: 

  • Assign an employee at the front door for crowd and flow control;
  • Assign an employee to monitor the parking lot;
  • Stagger the number of people entering the premises at the same time to respect physical distancing;
  • Ask clients to not stop in from of the cash register but to circulate to the end of the conveyor belt;
  • Design a shopping flow in the whole premises: every aisle in the premises must become a one-way with directions marked with an arrow taped to the floor;
  • Reduce the lines and grouping at the cash registers by having clients line up behind 6ft tape markings on the floor and have an employee send clients to cashiers as they become available; and
  • Place tape with 6ft markers in front of service counters (e.g. meat/deli counters, bakery, customer service, etc.).

Implement Hygiene/Disinfectant Procedures: 

  • Sanitize shopping carts and baskets between customers;
  • Provide portable hand washing stations for clients (sink with water, soap and paper towel or 70% alcohol hand sanitizer) at the entrance to the premises;
  • Provide plexiglass dividers at cashiers or any other service that requires a staff to be close to the client (e.g. deli); and
  • Often disinfect high traffic areas such as door handles, phones, switches, etc.; and
  • Either use tapping when paying by card or establish a protocol to sanitize the keypad.

Implement Other Measures: 

  • Limit the number of items per customer for any product in the premises to prevent hoarding;
  • Provide signage at the entrance and throughout the premises to remind customer of the importance of physical distancing;
  • Remove all loose items at the takeout concessions such as stirring sticks, straws and napkins and have them dispensed only by food handlers;
  • Do not allow the staff to handle used and multiple use shopping bags or any similar items; and
  • Consider using only one cashier for cash payments.

Screen and Train your Employees: 

  • Screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms when they come to work; sick staff must be sent home and
  • Offer training to staff: – Ensure they wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

each time;

– If they handle money, ensure they wash their hands;

– If you require that they use gloves, advise them not to touch their face and head;

and –  Remind them to cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm.

This order remains in effect until further notice.

Every person to whom this Order is directed is entitled to a hearing by the Health Services Review and Appeal Board (the “Board”) if the person mails or delivers to the Medical Officer of Health and to the Board, within fifteen days after a copy of the order is served on the person, notice in writing requiring a hearing. Notice to the Medical Officer of Health shall be mailed or delivered to: Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Eastern Ontario Health Unit, 1000 Pitt Street, Cornwall, Ontario, K6J 5T1. Notice to the Board shall be mailed or delivered to: Health Services Review and Appeal Board, 151 Bloor Street West, 9th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2T5 (telephone: 416-327-8512). Be advised that although a hearing may be requested, this Order takes effect immediately.

Inquiries regarding this Order shall be directed to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit at 613-933-1375, ext. 1201, or by fax at 613-938-9707.

Failure to comply with this Order is an offence to which you are liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $5000.00 for an individual or $25,000.00 for a corporation for every day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Here is a link to information on a federal website about risks and planning for workers in essential services locations.

The provincial website includes the following directives for employees:

If you have to go out to get food or other critical supplies, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care or go to an essential job, be sure to practice safe physical distancing.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers must take precautions to keep workers safe, including keeping them informed, creating health and safety policies and procedures and ensuring workers use the right protective equipment. As a worker, you also have the right to refuse unsafe work.

If you have concerns about your health and safety that your employer is not addressing, you can file a complaint with the Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, take a self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.

If your workplace is closed and you are unable to work, you may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) from the federal government.