Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) says that businesses need to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19.

SMDHU’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner is instructing businesses and organizations operating in their medical region to put into action additional precautions. 

“We are facing a critical time in our fight against this disease,” Dr. Gardner says. “We must increase our efforts to contain its spread. Since September we’ve seen a substantial increase in workplace transmission, often resulting in outbreaks, due in part to a failure of workplaces to meet the requirements of the provincial health and safety legislation and the public health preventive measures for the workplace.”

During his weekly update on Tuesday, Gardner says the team at SMDHU have noticed a trend with the cases in the region during the second wave of the coronavirus.

SMDHU has put forward 14 measures for businesses to implement: 

  • Appoint a compliance officer responsible for the implementation of a COVID-19 safety plan.
  • Enable remote work for employees where it’s reasonably possible.
  • Ensure workplace active screening is conducted daily for all workers attending in-person.
  • Ensure that physical distancing of workers takes place.
  • Barriers such as plexiglass should be used where reasonably possible.
  • Ensure appropriate use of masks or face coverings, in accordance with the regulations under the Reopening of Ontario Act.
  • Ensure appropriate use of personal protective equipment, in accordance with the regulations under the Reopening Ontario Act.
  • Ensure supplies and facilities are provided for adequate hand hygiene to take place at work.
  • Take appropriate infection prevention and control measures in all publically-accessible areas.
  • Minimize instances of more than one individual per vehicle for driving associated work.
  • Conduct or have the property owner or landlord conduct ad regular review of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
  • Ensure that accurate and updated contact information for all workers is available.
  • Ensure that all unplanned absences bt workers are investigated by the aforementioned compliance officer for any risk of COVID-19 exposure.
  • Follow all legislative requirements to protect worker health and safety.

He notes the measures businesses are being asked to follow are set out in the province’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. “Most of these measures are in keeping with workplace safety legislation that is already in place, and thus should not be new to employers,” Gardner says. “However this letter of instruction serves to strengthen communication to employers on the importance of compliance with these practices, and when needed increased enforcement.” 

“These measures are intended to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 where the collective efforts of various sectors, including workplaces are required to protect our communities,” Gardner says.

These measures will be effective as of November 30th.