We’ve compiled a brief but comprehensive list of mandatory regulations and suggestions to help shop owners, staff and clientele steer clear of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and successfully navigate through the second phase of reopening.
Maintain a log of staff and visitors to your business
Restaurant operators will be required to keep a detailed log of contact information for all clients who dine-in at their establishments as well as names and contact details of staff present each day. Should a new case of COVID-19 emerge following a visit or shift in your establishment, documenting dates and check-in times will enable Toronto Public Health to carry out contact-tracing and inform businesses of possible contamination.
This may seem like additional work and stress, but we’ve developed tools for easier adoption of this safety measure so that you can focus on creating the best possible experience for your clients.
The obvious measures remain. All places of business are expected to continue following physical distancing measures (six feet/two meters apart) as well as frequent cleaning and disinfection of high traffic areas most likely to become contaminated. Have staff trained on disinfecting the designated pay area between clients/customers, including interac keypads and countertops.
Restrooms must be disinfected regularly throughout hours of business, and staff should maintain an adequate stock of hygienic products for patrons.
Staff should stay home when they are ill. While on the premises staff should ensure that they wash their hands frequently, and avoid touching their eyes and face.
Disposable surgical masks should be provided at entry for customers to wear while waiting to be served. Hand sanitization upon entry is also mandatory. Although a bottle can be used for this purpose, consider installing an automatic dispenser to limit surface contact.
For more details on how to fulfill these safety requirements at your place of business, please view this guide from Toronto Public Health.
Since hairstylists, estheticians and nail technicians must come into close contact with their clients to fulfill their services, it is highly recommended that they take further measures to protect against contraction of COVID-19. Below is a brief check-list to consider.
- Signage should be posted by the entrance as a form of passive screening. Anybody who is presenting with any of the symptoms listed on the poster, or anyone who answers ‘yes’ to any of the questions must be denied entry.
- Did you know that investing in an infrared thermometer for instant temperature readings can provide a more efficient screening process? This mechanism will provide you with accurate results without physical contact. Temperatures ranging between 36 to 38 degrees celsius are considered normal, above 38 degrees indicates a fever. Contact info should also be taken during this process, such as name, phone number, and a few screening questions that can suggest potential virus transmission.
- Keep your tools to yourself All employees operating with tools such as scissors, nail files and clippers and other equipment that requires physical contact must be assigned their own set. These instruments are to be sterilized between each use.
- Plexiglass Partitions should be installed if they haven’t been already. These dividers are positioned between clients and employees to provide protection for services where social distancing is a challenge e.g. manicures. They can also be used at front-desk/reception areas. (excluding services requiring contact with face and/or hair.)
- Use Face Shields where plexiglass partitions are not a plausible solution. Although surgical masks are to be used in all workplace settings, face shields will block any respiratory droplets, helping to avoid contamination through parts of the face not covered by a mask- especially the eyes. Assign one face shield to each employee who will be working in close contact with clientele. These happen to be reusable so long as they are sanitized at the end of each shift to maintain a clean state.
- Try a HEPA Filter for higher air purity indoors, the removal of pathogens and toxins is paramount. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters could be the perfect solution for purifying the air in smaller, more intimate settings where spa treatments typically take place. A HEPA filtration system can trap air particles as small as 0.04 micrometres in diameter with efficiency in the range of 97.3 to 99 percent. Selecting the right type of HEPA filter can be a little tricky but it comes down to two simple principles: 1) the size of the room and 2) the frequency at which air is filtered (times/hour.)
For more assistance with maintaining a safe work environment at your salon, please view the guide prepared by the Government of Ontario
Clothing Retail Stores
Careful management of space and time will be necessary to ensure physical distancing guidelines are followed, especially in smaller, boutique settings. Hand sanitization must be provided at the door before entry. As in restaurants, maintaining a daily log of contact details for every visit will prove useful for clothing stores.
The unique and obvious challenge with clothing shops is in deciding how to sanitize items after the clientele have tried them on for fitting. One procedure some shops have employed is to “quarantine” tried clothing items for at least three days or as many days as necessary to have the items dry cleaned, pressed and placed back on the shelves for visitors. Of course, this measure can drive up your cleaning costs in a short period of time.
If you are operating a smaller business, you may want to consider acquiring a faster, more efficient way to sanitize your items between clients. UV-C light has proven to be a superior method of sterilization. On average it only takes ten seconds to kill bacteria, and the process is free of waste. Adopting this technology is also cost-effective as it can last 1-2 years before needing to replace the bulb. This type of device uses ultraviolet radiation to kill all organisms on any surface including clothing.
All of the above information will go a long way in helping disease prevention between employees and customers. Similar to staff actively screening customers upon entry, employees should also be screened at the beginning and the end of their shifts. At the onset of any symptoms associated with COVID-19, they shall report to their supervisor and remain home until further notice.
If an employee has been tested positive for COVID-19, they are to self-isolate in their place of residence for a minimum of two weeks until their symptoms clear up (if symptomatic) and subsequently tested negative.
For any employee that has been in contact with somebody who was later reported to be COVID-19 positive, they are to get tested themselves and remain in quarantine until obtaining a negative test result.
While not all of these protocols are deemed mandatory by Toronto Public Health, the benefit is two-fold. Not only will you be keeping a safe work environment, you will also give your clients a feeling of safety which will translate into greater client retention.