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Infection Control Recommendations for Personal Service Settings when Reopening

In review of the provincial guidelines, the HNHU further encourages the following general recommendations be applied by the public and personal service setting operators to prevent or mitigate COVID-19 infection.  Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of requirements as each task requires its own assessment and plan to address infection control against communicable diseases and other hazards.

Screen patrons and staff for illness

  • Post signage (i.e. passive screening) at public and staff entrances advising ill not to enter business
  • Ensure all staff and contractors are actively screened daily
  • If you work in a high risk setting (e.g. Long-term care homes, congregate settings), visitors should be actively screened
  • Where reservations or other appointments are made, advise or screen callers indicating to not attend premise if ill.
Continue to practice and ensure physical and social distancing

  • Place signage and markers to notify patrons of physical distancing requirements.
  • Party size limits must meet provincial requirements.
  • Arrange furniture and other items used by patrons and staff more than 2 metres apart.
  • Assign staff to ensure customers are maintaining safe physical distances in congested areas like entrances/exits and check-outs.
  • Set and post occupancy limits for indoor areas accessible to the public to ensure patrons can stay 2 metres apart. For example, you could set the occupancy limit by calculating the total useable floor space for patrons (e.g. subtract areas taken up by counters, seating, etc) and divide by 36 square feet. Small areas such as elevators should be considered.  Smaller public areas within the premise (e.g. washrooms) should also have occupancy limits that are posted.
  • Continue to limit or reduce workspace occupancy through work from home, work schedules and break schedule adjustments where possible.
  • Cohort staff (i.e. schedule shifts so only same group of staff work together) where possible to limit impact of potential workplace outbreak on continuity of operations.
  • Avoid carpooling.  Where sharing vehicles is required, passengers should sit in back seats (if available).  Commuters should wear masks and open windows if possible.
Provide easy access to handwashing or hand sanitizer (alcohol-based hand rub)

  • Position handwashing or hand sanitizer stations in public (e.g. at entrances and workstations) and other staff areas.
  • Post signage to encourage proper handwashing in washrooms and work areas.
  • Have all employees and visitors wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol based hand rub before entering the workplace, before and after the handling of personal protective equipment, after each interaction and after contact with surfaces others have touched.
  • Ensure handwash stations are adequately supplied at all times.
  • Use of disposable gloves is not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. If employees use gloves, it is important to change gloves when changing tasks, after every client, or more often, as necessary.
  • When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time. Wash hands with soap and water for 15 seconds before putting on and after taking off gloves.
Enhance environmental cleaning

  • Cleaning, disinfecting or sterilization of items should continue as indicated in the Personal Services Setting Regulation, including tools, equipment, shampoo bowls, manicure tables, chairs, workstations, etc., and other products after every use.
  • Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection as well as daily ‘complete’ cleaning before or after a work shift.
  • When scheduling appointments, allow additional time between clients for proper cleaning and disinfectant of workstations and equipment.
  • Ensure staff are trained in proper use of cleaning and disinfection products (e.g. contact times, if PPE needs to be worn)
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces such as door knobs/handles, phones, railings, faucets, toilets, and other shared items frequently. Clean and disinfect shared objects (e.g., payment terminals, tables, countertops, receipt trays) between each use.  Surfaces should be immediately cleaned following spills or where someone displays respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough or sneeze) in the area.  Discard items that cannot be properly cleaned or disinfected (e.g. food items) after becoming contaminated.
  • Ensure washrooms are cleaned at least twice a day and when visibly soiled.
  • Change tables should be cleaned and disinfected after every use. Signage should be posted providing instructions for customers as to how to do so where cleaning and disinfection products (e.g. wipes) are provided to patrons.  Otherwise instructions should include customers notifying staff immediately after use.
  • Disinfectants used in public settings should have a DIN and virucidal claim.
  • Ensure safe and correct use and storage of disinfectants to avoid harm to employees and other individuals. This includes storing products securely away from children.
  • Ensure single-use items, including masks and gloves, are discarded immediately after use to reduce the risk of contamination. Garbage bins should be lined and disposed of regularly.
  • Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
Shared Items

  • Where possible, use disposable, single-use supplies.
  • Discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect.
  • Employees should not share PPE.
  • Limit any sharing of food, tools, equipment, or supplies by staff members.
  • Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high-touch materials to the extent possible.
  • Avoid using or sharing items that are reusable, such as magazines, pens, cushions and other soft/porous items that may be difficult to sanitize.
  • Use touchless payment options as much as possible, if available. Ask customers and employees to exchange cash or card payments by placing on a receipt tray or on the counter rather than by hand to avoid direct hand to hand contact. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as pens, counters, or hard surfaces between use and encourage patrons to use their own pens.
  • Dirty towels and linens must be placed in a lined laundry bin for washing with hot water and detergent using a washing machine. Dryers should be used as the heat further kills any viruses.
  • Laundry baskets or reusable bags must be sanitized between uses and should not be used for clean towels/capes.
  • Use a clean cape for each client, and consider using a disposable barrier between the client and their skin. Clean and disinfect capes between clients.
  • Use a clean towel, not a neck brush, to remove loose hair.
Provide personal protective equipment and physical barriers where applicable

  • Persons who provide personal care services must wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Patrons must wear face coverings at all times while receiving personal care services, except while receiving services that tend to an area of their face that would be covered by a face covering.
  • Appropriate PPE should be determined based on the task being completed
  • Ensure staff are trained as to how to don (i.e. put on) and doff (i.e. take off) PPE.
  • If goggles and face shields are used, they should be labeled to the assigned staff and disinfected routinely.
Provide alternative service delivery where possible

  • Avoid or limit public access to waiting areas to ensure physical distancing.
  • Avoid cash transactions. Debit or credit using ‘tap’ option is preferred.
  • Provide services on-line or other methods (e.g. pick up of products) limiting interactions amongst people
  • Consider extending business hours if it reduces surges in patrons attending workplace.
  • Hold meetings so that everyone is 2 metres or more apart, online or via teleconference.
  • Offer options for vulnerable employees at higher risk for severe illness (including older adults and people of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions) that limits their exposure risk (e.g., modified job responsibilities such as managing inventory rather than working as a cashier, or managing administrative needs through telework).
Get your water system ready after a prolonged facility shutdown

  • For those on a municipal or communal water supply, flush your water lines by opening all faucets for 10-15 minutes and the water runs clear.
  • For those on a private water supply, ensure equipment is operating properly (e.g. filters, treatment units), flush and consider shock chlorinating system. Only commence use of water system once satisfactory drinking water samples are obtained. For Small Drinking Water System Operators, follow regulatory requirements (O. Reg. 319/08) and 
Increase ventilation

  • Where possible, increase the ventilation system’s air intake or open doors and windows. Avoid central recirculation where possible.
  • Similarly, open windows when in vehicles with others where possible.
Prevent COVID-19 Outbreaks

  • Maintain logs for customer and staff contact information, which can be used to assist public health with contact tracing if required.
  • Operators will be required to keep logs of the name and contact information for customers and staff, with a date, and check in and check out times.
  • If a customer or staff have COVID-19 and were contagious while at the shop, public health will investigate and notify staff and customers who may have been exposed. This may include instructions for staff to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Public health will advise of any additional cleaning and disinfecting measures needed to reduce the risk of spread in the setting.
Keep staff up-to-date on the evolving situation and applicable health and safety issues

  • Provide staff training on the proper use of PPE and the importance of other infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures (e.g. hand hygiene, physical distancing).
  • Ensure staff know how to report an illness in a timely manner and take action to protect themselves and others when at work
  • Review signs, symptoms and methods of transmission of COVID-19
  • Ensure staff know when and how to self-isolate should it be required.
  • Consider having a point person for each shift that can address COVID-19 concerns

As with all workplaces, the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be applied.  Safety is everyone’s responsibility under the act and thus all staff should assess and plan to address their tasks with infection control in mind.  Application of R.A.C.E. is recommended:

Rrecognize the hazard

Aassess the risk associated with the hazard

Ccontrol the risk associated with the hazard (e.g. Hierarchy of Controls)

Eevaluate the controls

Please be advised, the HNHU is not responsible to address health and safety complaints issued by employees against their employers.  Employees and employers seeking further direction on occupational health and safety measures should consult the Ministry of Labour.