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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) & Business: Being prepared

Employers and employees have a role to play in reducing the spread of infection.

Further information on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 (PDF) is available from the World Health Organization.

General advice

  • 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.
  • Increase the distance between desks and workstations as well as employees and customers (ideally 2 metres).
    • A physical barrier like a cubicle or Plexiglas window also works to increase distance between people.


  • Encourage frequent hand hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette, and staying home when ill.
    • Consider providing additional tissues should someone develop symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If COVID-19 symptoms develop, the employee should immediately be separated from others and sent home without using public transit, if possible.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning, with particular attention to high-touch surfaces, such as:
    • bars
    • desks
    • phones
    • kitchens
    • computers
    • cash registers
    • elevator buttons
    • restaurant tables and menus
  • Provide access to handwashing areas and place hand sanitizing dispensers in prominent locations throughout the workplace, if possible.

Flexible work arrangements and sick leave

  • 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 self-isolating when ill.
    • This includes suspending the need for medical notes and reduces 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.

Business travel

For business travel, check the latest information on affected areas and any travel health notices. Consider the risks and benefits related to upcoming business travel. It may be better for the health and safety of your employee if they attend meetings virtually.

International business travellers returning from affected areas should self-monitor for symptoms. Employees should contact the public health authority in the province or territory where they live.


Workplace closures may be considered in an exceptional circumstance and should be based on a risk assessment. This may be the case if many employees must be off to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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