Beverly Written by Beverly Leavitt October 28, 2021 COVID-19

An aerial shot of the Outdoor show.

Every month, if not every week or day, there have been updates about COVID-19 and how it affects businesses. However, the updates have been coming few and far between as the curve starts to settle out. 

Have you been following it closely, or have you lost the taste for keeping up with the news? 

No matter which stream you fall into, here’s what you need to know as of this week. 

Here’s Where We Are At

As of October 25, 2021, “Ontario lift[ed] capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination are required, such as restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments; indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities such as gyms; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and indoor meeting and event spaces. Limits were also lifted in certain outdoor settings.” (Ontario Newsroom)

What does this mean for you? 

Outside of your personal life and making choices to socialize and gather as you feel comfortable, it also means that events like fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals will be able to take place with more capacity. 

So even though the season is ramping down, this is positive news for the industry coming into 2022. 

What’s the Long Term Plan?

The Government of Ontario has launched a new plan that includes some of the most details we’ve seen to date. 

Within it, you’ll find the long-term plan for a gradual reopening with a goal of life returning to “normal” without restrictions. 

“Thanks to our cautious and careful approach to reopening, we are now in a position to gradually lift all remaining public health measures over the coming months,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This plan is built for the long term. It will guide us safely through the winter and out of this pandemic while avoiding lockdowns and ensuring we don’t lose the hard-fought gains we have made.”

Providing things go well over the holiday season, the next most significant update that impacts our sector is January 17, 2022, when proof of vaccination requirements may also gradually lift.

Lastly, the plan predicts that as of March 28, 2022, any “remaining public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted, including wearing face coverings in indoor public settings.”

In the Meantime 

If you’re sitting at your computer, scratching your head, and wondering: “Bev, we’ve seen these types of plans before, and they’ve fallen through. Why are we talking about these milestones before they’re officially announced?”

The answer is: because you need to be continually thinking about health and safety in your workplace. 

While we’re excited to gather at usual events and return to what we’ve known as normal, there’s still work to do and employees to protect.

If you haven’t yet, (and if you haven’t, we’re sitting here scratching our heads wondering why); you need to review your workplace health and safety plan

Then follow these steps: 

  1. Know your responsibilities as an employer and understand the:
    1. Occupational Health and Safety Act
    2. Employment Standards Act
    3. and Reopening Ontario Act 
  2. Ensure your staff and customers are following all current COVID-19 health and safety measures, which includes wearing masks indoors and maintaining physical distancing
  3. Actively screen employees and learn about how rapid antigen testing can fit into your program
  4. Make sure that you and your employees follow all public health advice if you are experiencing symptoms, have COVID-19, or have come into contact with someone who tested positive
  5. Educate yourself and your staff on the COVID-19 vaccine and make a decision that is best for your circumstances

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