Workplaces and Businesses

Effective 12:01 a.m. on June 12, 2020, Dr. Nicola Mercer issued an order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act for Phase 2 of the Ontario Framework for Reopening our Province.

The order requires all persons who own or operate a Commercial Establishment in the jurisdiction of the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit to:

  • Prohibit Persons from entering the premises of the Commercial Establishment or remaining in the premises if the said Person is not wearing a Face Covering, with the exception of:
    • Children under the age of two years.

    • Children under the age of five years (either chronologically or developmentally) who refuse to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver.

    • People whose ability to breathe in any way is inhibited by the face covering.

    • People that have any other medical reason they cannot wear a face covering safely, such as, but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information.

  • Ensure the availability of alcohol-based hand rub at all entrances and exits for the use of all Persons entering or exiting the Establishment.

Further details please refer to the Class Order

For more information, please read our Face Coverings Class Order and FAQs

Guidance for reopening businesses

For information on what employers and employees can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please read:

*These documents will be continuously updated as needed, so please check back regularly.

*Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health supports the advice and guidance documents provided by the Ministry of Health, which informs the development of our WDGPH guidance documents. WDGPH strongly recommends that sector operators adhere to recommendations outlined in Ministry and WDGPH guidance documents. Based on current public health evidence, we cannot encourage or support contravention of the Ministry guidance. These public health recommendations are developed to support the wellbeing of our community, and reflect the current need for protection from COVID-19. Additionally, all sectors must adhere to relevant regulations of the Ontario Emergency Orders

Testing for COVID-19 for those at risk of exposure through their employment

According to the Ontario government, effective immediately (May 24, 2020), testing is available for the following populations:

  • Asymptomatic, risk-based testing: 
    • People who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19. This includes people who are contacts of or may have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case.
    • People who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their employment, including essential workers (e.g., health care workers, grocery store employees, food processing plants).
  • Symptomatic testing: All people with at least one symptom of COVID-19, even for mild symptoms.

No referral is needed. 
Bring your health card with you (if you have one).
 It is OK if it is expired. Presenting your health card allows you to:

  • Check your test results online. Public Health only calls those who test positive.
  • Be treated or prescribed medication for other respiratory conditions if needed and if this option is available at your assessment centre.
  • Move through the testing process quicker.

You may go to any assessment centre to be tested. Do not go to a Public Health office, we do not provide testing. You will receive further instruction from the clinician at the assessment centre based on your individual assessment. Be prepared for increased wait times at the assessment centres.

Check our Testing and Treatment page for more information about: 

  • What happens after I am tested?
  • Checking COVID-19 lab test results on the online portal

The information below is copied from PHAC: Coronavirus disease: Being prepared: For workplaces

How to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace

Employers and employees need to work together to protect their own health and their clients’ health, as well as deliver essential services.

In general:

  • Increase awareness about COVID-19 through communication with staff.
  • Evaluate the workplace for areas where people have frequent contact with each other and shared objects.
  • Practice physical distancing by keeping a distance of at least two metres between desks and workstations as well as employees and customers, even if you have:
    • no symptoms of COVID-19
    • no known risk of exposure
    • not travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days.
  • A physical barrier like a cubicle or Plexiglas window also works to increase distance between people.
  • Encourage frequent hand-washing, sneeze and cough etiquette, and staying home when ill.
  • Where feasible, adjust policies to reduce social contact, such as:
    • flexible hours
    • staggering start times
    • teleworking arrangements
    • using email and teleconferencing
  • Relax sick leave policies to support employees in staying home when ill or monitoring symptoms.
    • This includes suspending the need for medical notes to reduce the burden on an already stressed health care system.
  • Prepare for increases in absenteeism due to illness among employees and their families or possibly school closures.
  • Access your business continuity plan for how to maintain key business functions if faced with high absenteeism.
  • Consider the need for cross-training personnel to function in key positions.

Ontario framework for reopening businesses

Stage 1

The first stage includes certain workplaces that can meet current public health guidelines. Please refer to the detailed list of stage 1 openings, effective May 19th, 2020. Updates and additions to this list will be posted on the provincial emergency information page as emergency orders are amended. For sector-specific guidance, visit the Government of Ontario website and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website, and refer to the provincial or federal professional association affiliated with your business sector, if applicable.

Stage 2

The second stage includes more workplaces with significant mitigation plans. Please refer to the detailed list of stage 2 openings, effective June 12th, 2020 in Guelph, Wellington County, and Dufferin County. Additionally, effective June 9th, 2020, child care staff can re-enter their facilities and begin preparation for reopening. When strict guidelines have been met by child care centres and summer day camp programs, these facilities will be allowed to reopen.

Stage 3

The third and final stage will include opening all workplaces responsibly. 

More resources for workplaces

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Financial relief

  • Interest and penalty relief
  • WSIB payment deferrals
  • Affordable electricity bills

Tax relief

  • Employer Health Tax relief
  • Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit

Ontario Chamber of Commerce: Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for COVID-19

Stop the Spread Business Information Line: 1-888-444-3659

Canada’s Economic Response Plan: Support for individuals and businesses

Support for workers

The Ontario Government has created a new unpaid, job-protected infectious disease emergency leave. You can take this leave if you are not able to work due to COVID-19. Learn more about the Employment Standards Act and if you are eligible for emergency leave.