Message from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit: March 21, 2022
Today is a milestone day for many businesses in Ontario as COVID-19 regulatory requirements for many (but not all) settings expire. As we move forward into this next phase of the pandemic, infection prevention and control measures remain important, even when some are no longer “mandatory”. COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities and we need to keep up with the layers of protection that we know work to keep everyone safe.
TBDHU recommends the following for business operators and organizational leaders:
• Masks may be optional in many settings, but everyone is encouraged to keep them on for a little while longer, especially in indoor spaces that are crowded. This is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of illness (or who live with someone who is).
• The list of settings where masks are still required is outlined in O. Reg. 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step.
• Operators are asked to please remove the signage at public entrances that indicates masks are required for entry by the Medical Officer of Health under the authority of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. TBDHU will soon have new signage available that businesses can choose to post promoting a “mask-friendly space.”
• It is advisable to continue posting passive patron screening signage at entrances to remind the public of when it is safe to enter. Updated signage is available at TBDHU.com/workplaces/posters.
• Regularly remind employees to stay home if they are ill and also to go home if they experience symptoms at work. They should follow the guidance at Ontario.ca/exposed for themselves and their household members. The online Ontario worker screening tool remains available for use.
• Although a COVID safety plan is not required to be posted, it is still wise to have a plan that outlines the practices that will be in place to reduce the risk of illness and to review this plan regularly.
• All workers should be encouraged to keep up with frequent handwashing, enhanced cleaning, cough etiquette, etc.
• They should also be encouraged to receive all recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccinations (including a booster dose), even if previously infected with the virus.
• Understand that it will take time for everyone to adjust to this “new normal”. As always, it is important to treat each other with kindness and respect. The pandemic has created challenging circumstances for many and promoting and protecting the mental health of workers should also be a priority. Helpful resources are available at superiormentalwellnessatwork.com
TBDHU has removed the sector-specific COVID-19 safety guidelines from our website. With the changes in place as of today, they are considered outdated. TBDHU remains committed to keeping our website current and will continue to post relevant resources.
Operators with any questions can contact us at 625-5900 or 1-888-294-6630, through our website at TBDHU.com/contact or via direct message on our social media platforms.