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COVID-19: Businesses & Workplaces

Businesses who have questions about reopening, closures of at-risk workplaces, or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available 8:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Timmins Economic Development Centre (TEDC) is helping businesses navigate available supports related to COVID-19. In partnership with the City and Chamber Joint Business Continuity Recovery Advisory Task Force, the TEDC is the designated hotline for individuals seeking business assistance. Contact the TEDC at 705-360-2656 Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. for support including:

  • Getting your business online
  • Accessing wage subsidies and low-interest loans
  • Securing funds for PPE and plexiglass installation
  • Addressing supply chain management gaps
  • Launching your productivity analysis
  • Acquiring professional services

News Releases

Memo from the Porcupine Health Unit issued on October 16, 2020: The Porcupine Health Unit would like to express our gratitude for your tremendous efforts in implementing all the necessary changes and public health measures to your business or workplace in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to bring to your attention a letter that we have shared with restaurants in the Porcupine Health Unit region which highlights the importance of keeping an accurate and legible attendance log for contact tracing purposes.

Issued on September 25, 2020: The Ontario government announced additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Issued on July 15, 2020: Dr Lianne Catton, Medical Officer of Health of the Porcupine Health Unit, announced the additional requirement of mandatory masks or face coverings in enclosed public spaces. Find more information on how it impacts your business on our mask webpage.

Issued on July 13, 2020:The Ontario government announced nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen in Stage 3 of the province's reopening framework with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place. This comes into effect on Friday, July 17, 2020. For more information on what can open in Stage 3, visit Ontario's website.

Stage 3

Nearly all businesses and public spaces can gradually reopen as regions enter Stage 3, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place, while some high-risk venues and activities will remain closed until they can safely resume operations.

Places and activities not yet safe to open

The following high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Amusement parks and water parks
  • Buffet-style food services
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment who follow specific requirements
  • Overnight stays at camps for children
  • Private karaoke rooms
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments

All other businesses and public spaces can open, subject to ensuring the appropriate health and safety measures are in place, as well as gathering limits on gathering sizes, where applicable. The following list may open with new additions from Stage 2 or with some limitations. Find more details in A Framework to Reopening our Province – Stage 3.

  • Casinos and Charitable Gaming Establishments
  • Convention Centres, Meeting and Event Spaces
  • Facilities for Sports and Recreational Fitness Activities (view update from October 10, 2020)
  • Fitting Rooms
  • Interactive Exhibits at Museums, Attractions and Heritage Institutions
  • Libraries
  • Live Shows, Performing Arts and Movie Theatres
  • Personal Care Services
  • Playgrounds and Play Structures
  • Recreational Courses and Instruction
  • Recreational Attractions and Businesses
  • Restaurants, Bars and Nightclubs
  • Team Sports and Live Sporting Events
  • Tour and Guide Services

More detailed information on restrictions and gathering limits in Stage 3 is available on the webpage Reopening Ontario.

Porcupine Health Unit guidance documents

Industry-specific guidelines

Visit Ontario's website to find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from COVID-19 in Ontario. These will help employees and workers better understand how to prevent the spread and know to keep workers safe on the job.

Preparing to open

To prepare your workplace, consider the following actions:

  • Implement business continuity plans and policies as appropriate
    • Explore the flexibility of policies and practices, such as teleworking arrangements, flexible hours, staggering start times, use of email and teleconferencing. 
  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees and how to reduce these risks
  • Provide physical barriers (ex: plexiglass dividers) where necessary (these do not replace face coverings when indoors)
  • Mark 2-metre spaces for lines and seating in common areas
  • Limit the number of customers permitted in the workplace at one time
  • Dedicate specific hours for customers who are at high risk such as seniors, people with disabilities, or those who are immunocompromised
  • Encourage contactless methods of payment or provide sanitizer for workers between each cash transaction
  • Ensure supplies such as soap, tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizer are available
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members and/or dismissals of early childhood programs and schools
  • Establish a process for ongoing communication with employees and business partners
  • Post signage to alert workers of any signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness
  • Display posters (below) promoting hand-washing and respiratory hygiene
  • Take precautions for social events

Learn how you can create a workplace safety plan to help protect your workers and others from COVID-19, including a template for you to customize based on your needs.

Review a list of companies that sell personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to keep your employees and customers safe from government of Ontario website.

Prevention of COVID-19

There are many things that workplaces can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, particularly by facilitating proper hand hygiene, wearing face coverings, respiratory etiquette and physical distancing. Provide access to and adequate supplies for handwashing (soap and water), and alcohol-based hand sanitizers at multiple, prominent locations in the workplace. Implement physical distancing (maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres from other people), to the greatest extent possible. This could include using the telephone and video conferencing rather than meeting face-to-face, including in the same building.


  • Employers should screen employees, customers, clients and volunteers before entering the business to ensure that no person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 enters the facility. It should be done over the phone, upon arrival, at entrances and regularly throughout the day.
  • It is up to individual workplaces to determine their screening approach. Screening can be done actively or passively. Active screening is recommended for facilities that work with vulnerable populations (e.g., seniors or retirement homes, daycares, health care settings, communal living spaces), and passive screening for facilities working with the general public. The online COVID-19 self-assessment from the government of Ontario website can be used for employees. View the tool here.
    • Passive screening involves placing a sign at all entrances and asking people that enter to screen themselves by reading the sign and answering the questions before entering.
    • Active screening involves having a designated staff person ask the screening questions before allowing someone to enter. These questions could include the following:
      • Are you experiencing any of these common symptoms that may be related to COVID-19:
        • fever (38°C / 100.4°F and over), a new or worsening cough, shortness of breath;
        • or other symptoms such as: sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, new loss of smell or taste, digestive issues (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain)?
        • Less common symptoms of COVID-19 are also listed on the self-monitoring page.
      • Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
      • Have you been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19?
    • Anyone who answers “YES” to any of these questions should be advised to self-isolate immediately and call the health unit for further instructions.

Reporting illness

Any worker who feels ill should be sent home immediately to self-monitor and self-isolate. They should call their local Assessment Centre, their primary care provider or the health unit at 1-800-461-8181. Additionally, employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow recommendations on how to reduce the spread.

Additional resources

Find COVID-19 support and other programs and services on the Government of Canada website.

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