Employees encouraged to work from home as Windsor-Essex workplace outbreaks climb
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has extra recommendations for workplaces in the region as COVID-19 outbreaks continue to climb.
As of Monday, there are 19 outbreaks at local workplaces.
WECHU issued a Letter of Instruction to business owners on Sunday, with new restrictions for social gatherings, capacity limits for restaurants and other recommendations. It takes effect on Friday, Dec. 10 at 12:01 a.m.
The health unit is recommending employees work from home whenever possible to limit spread of the virus.
“I think if people can work from home, we should let them work from home,” said Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting medical officer of health.
He said they are aware of more workers coming into the office over the past few months, and they want companies to review these decisions to ensure in-person attendance is essential.
“There are still enterprises that are having more in-person meetings than necessary,” says Nesathurai.
He says it would be difficult for the health unit to decide for an employer who can work remotely, which is why they are asking business owners to take on the task.
Here are the specific workplace recommendations listed in the Letter of Instruction:
General Compliance for businesses and organizations that are open under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020:
- 1)Take any and all measures to comply with all requirements in the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, associated regulations and all local Section 22 Class Orders, posted to the WECHU website at https://www.wechu.org.
- 2)Review workplace safety plans (as outlined in O.Reg. 364/20) with workers regularly, at least once per month and make adjustments as needed. These meetings must be documented and include the following data elements: a. attendees b. date of meeting c. summary of discussion
- 3)Enable remote work for workers, where reasonably possible, to reduce the number of workers exposed to the risk of transmission at the organization. Additionally, as much as possible limiting the gathering of employees by: Utilizing virtual options for meetings, ensuring physical distancing in lunchrooms/break rooms as well as other locations where workers may be eating and/or drinking; and staggering lunches or breaks.
- 4) Ensure active screening of all employees and/or patrons in accordance with O.Reg. 364/20 and prohibit any person that fails the screening from entrance/attending.
- (5) Ensure all patrons and employees wear face covering and eye protection unless conditions under Schedule 1, subsection (4) of O.Reg. 364/20 apply.
- i. Further to (4) ensure that in addition to a face covering, employees wear personal protective equipment that protects the eyes (i.e. goggles, face shield) in accordance with Schedule 1, subsection (7) of O.Reg. 364/20.
- (6) Workplaces/businesses currently required under the Reopening Ontario Act 2020 (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) to keep a list of attendees (visitors, patrons, clients) to the workplace (e.g., salons, restaurants, bars) including name and contact information must provide the list to the WECHU within immediately request from a WECHU official. This includes third party vendors for music, event planners, photographers, etc.
- (7) Ensure a process for proof of vaccination status is in place where applicable, as per instructions under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020.