Workplaces and Public Places
Certain Ontario businesses and workplaces may re-open as long as they comply with strict public health measures.
Ontario businesses who have questions about the emergency orders can call the Province’s toll-free line: 1-888-444-3659.
Hierarchy of Controls
When developing plans for your workplace, it is helpful to think of the hierarchy of controls, where the most important way to reduce exposure to COVID-19 is through physical distancing. Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be used when physical distancing is difficult to achieve.
Check the information below to see how you can eliminate and/or manage exposure in your workplace.
Adjusting the Workplace
Adapted from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institution for Occupational Health and Safety for the purposes of COVID-19.
Physical Distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- If possible, have employees work from home. If this is not possible, ensure that physical distancing of at least two metres is maintained between employees and/or customers within the workplace. Increase the spatial separation between desks, workstations, and points of sale. Note: physical distancing of at least two metres is required in Hamilton during COVID-19 under By-law 20-056
- If physical distancing is difficult to maintain, physical barriers (e.g. Plexiglass) are recommended as well as non-medical face coverings or masks to help protect others.
- Find out if a building permit is required for businesses installing shields at counters
- Signs with details of how customers and/or employees are to physical distance should be clearly displayed throughout the workplace and at the entrance. A plan should be in place for communicating and reminding those within the workplace about physical distancing.
- If personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks or hand-sanitizer are needed for the workplace, check the list of Ontario workplace PPE suppliers. Ensure that you have supplies on hand before re-opening.
Symptoms and Screening
- Do not permit employees to come to work if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Symptomatic employees should contact their family doctor or public health to determine if a COVID-19 test is warranted.
- Employees, volunteers and customers should complete a health-screening questionnaire before entering the workplace.
- If employees develop symptoms while at work, they should notify their supervisor and return home. Employees should follow guidelines for what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor.
- At a minimum, signs should be posted at the entrance reminding ill employees, clients or customers not to enter the workplace if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
- Soap and handwashing facilities and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues, disinfecting wipes and no-touch waste receptacles should available for employees.
- Before starting work and after returning from break, all employees should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be used.
- Workplaces should display posters promoting hand-washing and respiratory etiquette.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Workplaces should follow cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
- Cleaning frequency of high-touch surfaces such as point of sale transaction equipment, elevator buttons, keyboards, mouse, phones, desks, computers, door knobs, light switches, seating areas, lunch tables, kitchens, and washrooms should be increased.
- Ontario government sector-specific safety guidelines and posters for businesses
- CCOHS COVID-19 Guidance for Higher-Risk and Essential Workplaces
- Fact sheet: Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings
- Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace (PDF)
- Risk-Informed Decision-Making Guidelines for Workplaces
- Masks for Non-Healthcare Employees (PDF)
Posters and Signage
Tips to Protect the Mental Health of Your Employees
- Inform your employees about any upcoming changes as much as possible - When people are informed of what changes are coming and how things are being addressed, they are better able to cope with the change.
- Ask employees what their needs are during this time - When you involve your employees in assessing their work needs during this time, it will provide them with some level of control over the situation.
- Acknowledge the many emotions that your employees are experiencing - It is important to recognize that it is very normal for people to experience anxiety and many different emotions at this time. It is important to validate these emotions and to let your employees know they are not alone.
- Ensure that there are social supports available for your employees - Physical distancing does not mean social isolation. Have existing health and safety groups support mental well-being by reaching out and connecting with other employees virtually.
- Promote positive ways to cope through this challenge - Share positive coping strategies with your employees to protect their mental health.
- Remind employees that we are all in this together – The reality is that we are all making changes and sacrifices right now in order to keep one another safe.
- Connect your employees to mental health supports Remind employees that it is ok to not be ok. Share information on existing EAP or EFAP programs that your workplace provides. For additional supports employees can visit: www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus/taking-care-your-mental-health
Child Care Centres
Health and safety guidance was developed in anticipation of child care centres re-opening.
- Operational Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak – Child-Care Reopening (PDF)
- City of Hamilton Memo to Child Care Operators (June 12, 2020) (PDF)
- City of Hamilton Guide to Reopening Child Care Centres (PDF)
Child care centres and home care providers across Ontario are able to reopen with strict safety and operational requirements in place, similar to the safety guidelines required for emergency child care centres.
Centres will be required to adopt specific rules, including:
- Cohorting - putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day.
- COVID-19 response plan - all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19.
- Screening - all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home.
- Daily attendance records - child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing.
- Cleaning - child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter; removal of all toys that can easily spread germs.
- No visitors - only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting.
- Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.
Operators can contact the City of Hamilton’s Early Years and Childcare Services, who are working in conjunction with Public Health Services and others, to inquire about operation and infection prevention and control measures and concerns.
Faith-Based Gatherings and Funerals
All places of worship in Ontario are permitted to re-open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30% of the seating capacity.
The number of attendees at an indoor funeral is a maximum of 30% capacity of the venue. Outdoor funerals can have a maximum of 50 attendees. All attendees must practice physical distancing from those outside of their household.
The maximum # number of people permitted to attend indoor or outdoor funeral receptions is 10 people.
When developing guidelines for re-opening places of worship, it is important to apply the Hierarchy of Controls:
- Limit the number of people to 30% of seating capacity to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
- Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) between everyone in the place of worship, unless attending with members of the same household. Note: physical distancing of at least two metres is required in Hamilton during COVID-19 under By-law 20-056
- Manage traffic flow using floor markings.
Adjusting the Setting
- Rearrange seating so that people are maintaining physical distancing from other people in different households. If this is not possible, seating should be blocked off to only permit 30% seating capacity.
- Ensure proper ventilation meets industry guidelines and standards.
Adjusting the Process
- All attending the place of worship should complete a health-screening questionnaire before entering.
- At a minimum, signs should be posted at the entrance reminding ill attendees not to enter the place of worship if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Do not permit people to attend if they have symptoms of COVID-19. Symptomatic attendees should contact their family doctor or public health to determine if a COVID-19 test is warranted.
- If people develop symptoms while at a place of worship, they should notify leaders and return home and follow guidelines for what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Attendees who are well but who have a family member at home with COVID-19 should not attend.
- Encourage attendees to practice good handwashing and hygiene techniques (provide handwashing stations or alcohol-based hand rub).
- Encourage handwashing after people come in contact with high touch areas such as door handles.
- Increase cleaning and disinfecting.
- Avoid activities which require close contact (hand-shaking, hugging) or sharing items (drinking from chalice, passing collection basket, passing candle, kissing sacred items).
- Encourage proper respiratory etiquette.
- Attendees can choose to wear a non-medical mask or face covering, in addition to physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, as an additional protection to cover the mouth and nose and prevent respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces.
Harm Reduction Settings
Personal Service Settings (hair salons, spas, tattoo parlours, others)
Establishments providing personal care services can open on June 19 with the proper health and safety protocols in place.
Services that are restricted:
- Prohibiting services that tend to a customer's face, such as facials, facial hair grooming/shaving, eyelash tinting/extensions, eyebrow grooming such as threading/waxing/micro-pigmentation, piercings, makeup application, as well as oxygen bars and any other service on the nose, ears, or face.
- Steam rooms, saunas and bath houses must remain closed.
- Baths, hot tubs, floating pools and sensory deprivation pods are closed except for therapeutic purposes prescribed by or administered by a regulated health professional. Change rooms and showers for water amenities will be available to the public, if operators have the ability to adequately sanitize and disinfect the facilities.
A business can open to offer permitted services even if a restricted activity is its primary service. For example, a facial salon can open to provide other services.
Information to assist with re-opening:
- Workplace Guidance for Personal Service Settings (PDF)
- Personal Service Settings COVID-19 Prevention Checklist (PDF, 48 KB)
- Personal Service Settings Frequently Asked Questions for Re-opening in Phase 2 (PDF, 276 KB)
For further information please call Hamilton Public Health Services COVID-19 Hotline at 905-974-9848, Option 4.
Residential Buildings - Laundry & Elevators
- Review Hamilton’s Guidance for Landlords, Property Managers & Residents Living in Multi-Unit Housing
- Read about entering a rental unit during the pandemic
- Read how to clean and disinfect public places
- Practice physical distancing by keeping 2 metres (6 feet) away from others while waiting for an elevator and riding and elevator. Aim for no more than two or three people in the elevator at any time, unless they are also household members, to avoid close contact with others.
- Take the stairs when possible or wait for the next elevator to avoid overcrowding.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth after touching elevator buttons or other elevator surfaces (e.g. mirrors or railings).
- Cover your cough or sneeze by using a tissue or your arm/sleeve.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after leaving the elevator.
Enhanced cleaning practices should be in place for high-touch items, such as elevator buttons and surfaces. Clean and disinfect at minimum twice per day.
Shared Laundry Facilities
While COVID-19 is mainly spread through person to person contact, it may be possible to be exposed to the virus by touching a contaminated surface in a shared laundry facility and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Practice physical distancing and keep 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
- If physical distancing is not possible, wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
- Limit the number of people allowed in a shared area at one time.
- Avoid doing laundry if the facility is busy/crowded or when physical distancing is not possible.
- Where possible, open windows or doors to increase ventilation in shared areas.
- Wash your hands before and after doing laundry.
- Clean laundry machine controls and common surfaces before and after each use, at mimimum twice per day.
- Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry belonging to a person who is sick.
- Do not shake dirty laundry.
- Do not overload laundry machines.
- Wash laundry using the warmest temperature setting possible.
- Dry laundry at the highest temperature setting possible until completely dry.
- Close washer and dryer doors when finished.
- Place and fold clean clothes on a cleaned surface or separate area from where dirty clothes were placed.
- Disinfect hampers between use for dirty and clean laundry OR use a designated clean and dirty hamper to ensure cross-contamination does not occur.
Restaurants & Food Premises
Restaurants, bars, food trucks and other food and drink establishments (e.g., wineries, breweries and distilleries) can open on June 19 for dining in outdoor areas only, such as patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent premises. Restaurants can continue to provide take-out, drive-through, and delivery service.
Establishments must take appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between patrons from different households, including:
- Using reservations.
- Limiting number of patrons allowed in the outdoor space at one time.
- Ensuring enough space between tables, including to allow for movement.
Access to indoor facilities is limited to patio/outdoor dining area access, food pickup, payment, washrooms or other health and safety purposes.
Read guidelines below for specific guidance:
- City of Hamilton Guidelines for Re-Opening Your Restaurant (PDF)
- Ministry of Health Food Premises Guidance (PDF)
- Ministry Restaurant and Food Services Health and Safety Guidance
- Ministry Quick Reference Guidance for Restaurant & Food Safety(PDF)
- Health & Safety Guidance for Restaurant Servers, Cooks and Dishwashers (PDF)
- Health & Safety for Curbside Pick-up and Delivery (PDF)
- CCOHS – Tips for Restaurants & Food Services (PDF)
Summer Day Camps
All day camp operators are to follow the guidelines from the Ministry of Health.(PDF, 1.3MB)
No pre-opening inspections are required from Hamilton Public Health Services.
No notification is required to Hamilton Public Health Services for re-openings plans, with exceptions for existing reporting requirements such as re-opening of swimming pools or bathing areas on beaches.
Follow directions issued by your respective Ministry on safe operations and other required actions.
Taxi and Ride Sharing
The resources and guidance documents provided on this page are to help workplaces and businesses conduct their own COVID-19 risk assessment and develop processes to help protect their employees and patrons. It remains the responsibility of the workplace to ensure that it complies with all applicable laws and is permitted to operate when deciding to open. Hamilton Public Health services is available to answer questions and provide general comments about plans, however do not provide advice regarding a workplace’s ability to operate.
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