On December 5, 2021, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit issued instructions (the “Instructions”) pursuant to Ontario Regulation 364/20, Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step (the “Rules for Areas at Step 3”).
The Instructions require all Windsor-Essex residents or persons responsible for a business or organization that is permitted to open under the Rules for Areas at Step 3 to adopt certain public health requirements in addition to those already set out under the Rules for Areas at Step 3.
Under the Instructions, businesses and organizations will be required to abide by additional public health requirements that include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Reviewing workplace safety plans with workers at least once per month and making adjustments as needed. These review meetings must be documented, including attendees, date of the meeting, and a summary of the meeting discussion.
- Enabling remote work for workers, where reasonably possible, to reduce the number of workers exposed to the risk of transmission at the organization.
- As much as possible, businesses should limit the gathering of employees by utilizing virtual options for meetings, ensuring physical distancing in lunchrooms/break rooms, as well as other locations where workers may be eating and/or drinking, and staggering lunches or breaks.
More information on limits on social gatherings can be found in the Instructions. The additional requirements set out in the Instructions will be effective as of Friday, December 10, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and until further notice. Failure to comply with the Instructions may constitute an offence under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
Employers operating in Ontario should continue to monitor the websites of their local public health units to stay abreast of instructions and other binding requirements that local medical officers of health may issue pursuant to the Rules for Areas at Step 3, particularly in light of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and the detection of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario.