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The following guidance is intended to help with clarification of general public health measures as mandated in Ontario Regulation 82/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 1 with regard to the emergency brake provincial shutdown.

Many retail settings are unique and it is the responsibility of the operator to review their own site-specific circumstances and assess their ability to implement COVID-19 prevention methods. For information about how to assess COVID-19 risks in your retail setting and to plan risk modifications, please refer to the WECHU Risk Assessment for Workplaces page.

Visit WECHU’s Local Pandemic Status page for updates on Windsor-Essex’s status level, links to provincial guidance, and a summary of current provincial requirements and local enhanced measures.

COVID-19 Response Framework Measures

Essential Retail

Pharmacies, grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, farmers markets, and other stores that primarily sell food are permitted to open for in-person retail shopping up to a maximum of 25% capacity. A physical distance of at least two metres between each person from different households must be maintained at all times.

Discount and Big Box Retailers

  • In-person retail shopping must only be available for grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, school supplies,household safety supplies, and/or personal care items. No other goods or services may be sold to the public unless the store complies with any conditions that are applicable with respect to the sale of those goods or services by other retail establishments.
  • Limit the number of members of the public in the place of business so that the total number of people in the place of business at any one time does not exceed 25% capacity.
  • The capacity limit in which in-store shopping is available is the floor area accessible to the public in the facility where products are normally displayed for sale. This does not include shelving and store fixtures.

Liquor, Beer, Wine, & Spirits Stores

Stores that primarily sell liquor, including beer, wine and spirits must operate under the following conditions:

  • Ensure that the total number of people in the place of business at any one time does not exceed 25% capacity.
  • Open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. and must not deliver goods to patrons outside the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Shopping Malls

  • Members of the public must only be permitted to enter the shopping mall for limited specified purposes, such as:
    • accessing a business or place that is permitted to open (e.g., grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare services);
    • accessing a designated location (e.g., for pick up); or
    • delivering or supporting the delivery of government-related or court services.
  • Members of the public who enter the shopping mall must not be permitted to loiter in any area that is not related to the purpose of their visit.
  • A shopping mall may establish a single designated location inside the premises for the purpose of allowing patrons to pick up an order from a business or place. Alternatively, a shopping mall may establish any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall. In any case, patrons may only pick up orders from the indoor or outdoor designated location by making a prior appointment, and an item may only be provided for pick-up if the patron ordered before arriving at the business premises.
  • Shopping malls must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. and must not deliver goods to patrons outside of the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Shopping malls may open outside of these hours only to provide public access to a business or place that is permitted to open during those hours and only has public entrances that open into the interior of the shopping mall.
  • The number of people on the premises must be limited so that the total number of persons in the place of business at any one time does not exceed 25% capacity.

Outdoor Garden Centres, Plant Nurseries, & Indoor Greenhouses

Outdoor garden centres, plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in retail sales to the public, must operate under the following conditions:

  • Ensure that the total number of people in the place of business at any one time does not exceed 25% capacity.
  • Open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. and must not deliver goods to patrons outside the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Product must only be provided to patrons in a manner that allows members of the public to remain in an outdoor area at all times. Alternative methods that do not require patrons to enter the indoor area, such as curbside pick-up or delivery, may also be used.

Other Retail Settings & Services

The following stores are permitted to operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. for in-person retail by appointment only (6 a.m. to 9 p.m. for delivery) and are subject to a 25% capacity limit:

  • Safety supply stores;
  • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
  • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
  • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
  • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
  • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
  • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.

Non-Essential Retail

Other businesses that engage in retail sales to the public must operate under the following conditions:

  • Sales must be exclusively made using an alternative method of sale (e.g., curbside pick-up or delivery) that does not require patrons to enter the indoor area of the business.
  • Provided items for pick-up only if the patron ordered ahead of time before arriving at the business premises. Patrons may only pick up orders may making a prior appointment.
  • Open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m., and stores must not deliver goods to patrons outside of the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Ensure that any music played at the place of business is not at a decibel level that exceeds the level at which normal conversations are possible.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Specific Enhanced Measures

No additional measures.

Capacity Limits

All businesses or facilities that engage in retail sales to the public must post a sign in a location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity under which they are permitted to operate. To calculate maximum capacity:

  • for 50% capacity: divide the total square metres of floor space accessible to the public (not including shelving and store fixtures) by 8 and round down to the nearest whole number
  • for 25% capacity: divide the total square metres of floor space accessible to the public (not including shelving and store fixtures) by 16 and round down to the nearest whole number

Curbside Pick-Up & Delivery

All retail business are encouraged to use remote interactions by:

  • Providing pre-pay options for the customers either online or over the phone (i.e., accept cashless no touch methods of payment).
  • Establishing a process to minimize the amount of time needed to complete the curbside transaction by:
    • Pre-scheduling pick-up times
    • Having customers notify you when they arrive by phone, text, or other methods
  • Loading the product into the car if possible, while asking the customer to remain inside their vehicles to limit contact. The identity of the driver may be verified by asking them to display it through the window of their vehicle.
  • Ensuring employees sanitize hands and surfaces in between each customer interaction.
  • Advising customers not to use their own containers, reusable bags, or boxes.
  • Ensuring customers and staff know to stay home if they are sick.
  • Provide training to employees on effective hand hygiene practices and if required, the proper way to put on and remove PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.
  • Prohibiting customers from entering your store to select goods, try on or sample goods, or return or exchange goods.
  • Note: Curbside pick-up does not include sidewalk sales or other displays of goods for sale on the sidewalk at this time.

Businesses allowing patrons to pick up items, must:

  • Have a public entrance that opens onto a street or exterior sidewalk; or
  • In the case of a business in a shopping mall, permit patrons o pick up the items at a designated location established by the shopping mall.

Businesses providing delivery services should:

  • Ensure delivery drivers are not reporting to work when sick. Use the Workplace Screening Tools available on the WECHU website.
  • Increase the frequency and cleaning and disinfecting of the delivery vehicle, focusing on high touch points such as door handles, shifters, steering wheels, and controls.
  • Ensure delivery drivers practice proper hand hygiene, whether or not they wear gloves.
  • Make arrangements to drop off the products at the customer’s home and avoid having direct in-person interaction with the person receiving the delivery.
  • Avoid close contact with customers during the delivery process by arranging for pre-payment on the phone or online.

COVID-19 Safety Plan

The person responsible for a business that is open must prepare and make available a safety plan. The plan must:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning, disinfecting and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review, on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working in or attending the location.

Non-Medical Face Masks, Face Coverings, and Eye Protection

Ontario Regulation 82/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 1 mandates the wearing of face coverings in indoor public places and workplaces. Municipalities and organizations have created further regulations through the development of face-covering policies. Several local municipalities have included further spaces where masks are required by passing by-laws.

In addition to wearing a non-medical face mask or face covering, staff must wear eye protection when they are:

  • Within 2 metres of patrons who are not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering, and/or
  • In an indoor area and are not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barriers.

Train staff on the proper use, removal and disposal of non-medical masks.

Non-medical masks do not replace other important public health measures, such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve and staying home when feeling ill.

More information about face coverings and eye protection is available by visiting the Face Coverings & Eye Protection webpage.

Signage and Screening

  • Every patron/customer/staff member that enters the facility/workplace must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. There are two different types of screening:
    • Passive screening: people assess their own risk factors and make the decision themselves. Post clear signage at all entrances with screening questions and instructions. If active screening of patrons entering a facility is not possible (for example, public transit, grocery stores), post signage instructing people with symptoms not to enter.
    • Active screening: an employer ensures that the information is collected and reviewed to determine whether a person may enter the workplace. Actively screen staff using the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces. This includes workers, volunteers, suppliers, and contractors.
  • Post signage at entrances and throughout the retail establishment that clearly communicate procedures for physical distancing between staff and customers.  This include posters and floor markings such as instructional tape/stickers that direct the flow of people waiting for services, including any waiting areas. Examples of signage can be found in the Resources & Signage section of the WECHU website.
  • Post signage to communicate entry procedures such as hand sanitizing, sneeze and cough etiquettewearing of cloth masks, and/or screening for symptoms.
  • Ensure employees are aware of common COVID-19 symptoms and in addition to active screening upon arrival, instruct them to complete a daily provincial screening tool for workplaces before reporting to work.
  • Provide training to employees on effective hand hygiene practices and if required, the proper way to put on and remove PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.

Physical Distancing

Complete any needed modifications in areas where there will be staff and/or customers, to assist with physical distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection. For example:

  • Monitor entrances to control staff and customers entering the store.
  • Rearrange store layout and remove non-essential furniture/items, to allow ease of movement for physical distancing.
  • Establish directional aisles to manage customer flow and place visual markers (e.g. tape on the floor, pylons, signs) spaced 2 metres apart for customers lining up when waiting to enter the store and cash-out.
  • Staff should remind customers to stay 2 metres apart, as much as possible while shopping.
  • Use every other check out station if less than 2 metres apart.
  • If possible, install barriers (e.g. Plexiglas) between workers who must work in close proximity to each other.
  • Install barriers (e.g. Plexiglas) in areas where customers must come within 2 metres of employees (such as at check-in area or check-out areas) or within 2 metres of people from other groups (self check-out).
    • For barriers in areas where people are standing, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest patron or employee, which would be at least 2 metres (79 inches) from the ground.
    • For barriers in areas where people are sitting, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest seated patron or employee, which would be at least 1.46 metres (58 inches) from the ground.

To maintain physical distancing while offering curbside pick-up services, consider:

  • Posting signage near entrances and parking area that clearly communicate procedures for physical distancing and what steps customers should follow. If possible, also have someone in place to direct customers.
  • Set up queue lines at entrances (e.g., using cones or ropes) and ensure that pedestrians are still able to use the sidewalk safely.
  • Maintaining a minimum pedestrian clearway of 2.1 metres is essential to ensuring that all pedestrians can move safely along an unobstructed sidewalk, especially those using mobility devices, strollers, or other similar apparatus. In order to ensure room is available for passengers to ensure physical distancing from those waiting in line, consider the following:
    • Using private property (i.e., parking lots) to queue customers wherever possible. If public sidewalks must be used, do not allow customers to block the pedestrian clearway.
    • Spacing customers in the furnishing zone of the sidewalk (i.e. between trees, bike rings, benches) and actively monitor your line-up to ensure a pedestrian clearway of 2.1 metres is maintained at all times.
  • Displaying “Stand Here” signage or placing markers (e.g., tape, cones) every two metres can serve as distance cue reminders.
  • For in-person payments, having cashiers step back from customers if the card reader cannot be relocated two metres away from the cashier or if a physical barrier cannot be installed.
  • If the queue outside your store gets too long to manage, consider ways to have customers queue up digitally and leave their contact information.
  • Avoid offering sales or promotions designed to attract big crowds. Ensure that you adhere to other relevant public health guidance.

General Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Ensure hand washing facilities are available and in good working order.
  • Ensure there is always sufficient supply of approved disinfecting solution or wipes, and an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) with a minimum of 60% alcohol content, liquid hand soap, and paper towels. These should be easily accessible to employees.
  • Provide additional garbage bins for safe disposal of used masks, tissues, and paper towels and wipes.
  • Shopping carts and baskets must be sanitized between each customer. Items that cannot be easily sanitized should not be provided (e.g. cloth bags).
  • Do not distribute coupons, samples, testers, or flyers by hand directly to customers. These items can be provided on a table for customers to take if interested.
  • Encourage the use of contactless payments whenever possible. If handling cash, use alcohol-based hand rub after each transaction and avoid touching your face.
  • Clean debit/credit terminals after each customer or as frequently as possible.
  • Encourage the use of contactless payments whenever possible. If handling cash, use alcohol-based hand rub after each transaction and avoid touching your face.

Managing & Reporting COVID-19 Outbreaks in the Workplace

The Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace: Guidance for Employers, Owners, and Operators provides guidance for businesses and workplaces to appropriately manage employees who have either tested positive for COVID-19, been identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms without any known exposure to COVID-19.

Reporting Workplace Outbreaks

The ‘Reporting Workplace Outbreaks to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit: Guidance for Employers, Business Owners, & Operators’ provides information for employers to understand their roles in a suspected workplace outbreak, their responsibility to notify the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) about COVID-19 cases in the workplace, and how workplace outbreak information will be disclosed to the public.

Return to Work Timelines

The COVID-19 Decision Guide for Workplaces provides details on return to work guidelines for employees based on their level of exposure to COVID-19 (i.e., high or low risk contact), the results of their COVID-19 test, and the severity of symptoms from COVID-19. For additional information, you may also review the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 self-isolation and return to work webpage.

Resources

 

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Last modified: 
Friday, April 23, 2021 - 9:40am