Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Offices, Shops, Places of Worship, Personal Services, etc.
The COVID‐19 virus is easily spread from person to person by small virus-containing droplets that are exhaled when an infected person is speaking, singing, coughing, sneezing or breathing.
There are steps we can all take as individuals to help prevent the spread of disease and keep ourselves and others in the community safe.
- wear a mask, especially in crowded places (indoors and outdoors) where you cannot maintain appropriate physical distance of 6ft,
- keep an appropriate distance from others who are not included in our party as much as possible,
- wash our hands frequently and properly or, if soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer,
- avoid crowded indoor venues, crowds of people and settings where we are forced to be in close contact with others.
Businesses, churches and clubs can do their part too, as they have done throughout the pandemic. What many restaurants, gyms, offices, shops, movie theatres and places of worship have in common is that they can be crowded settings where people from different households mix together. These group settings present a higher risk for the spread of infection.
The options below are recommended by the Ministry of Health.
Scientific evidence has shown that masks are a very effective form of personal protective equipment. All organisations should develop a mask policy which is suited to their work place. For example, if staff will spend many hours face to face with the general public, requiring masks for staff is recommended. In such a situation, organisations should also consider requiring customers and clients to wear masks for a higher level of protection.
In cases where employees have individual offices, it may be possible for mask wearing to be optional. Masks are recommended for the shared spaces.
For some sectors such as personal services (spas, beauty salons, barbershops), the setting is not crowded, however, there is very close contact between staff and customer. That is a setting where mask wearing is strongly recommended for both the service provider and the client.
At places of worship, congregations generally sit shoulder to shoulder and attendees project respiratory droplets when singing and playing wind and brass instruments. In such settings, mask wearing and physical distancing are both advisable. Choir members in particular should be spaced apart.
Click here for mask guidance.
If you are able, space out tables, chairs and other furniture for meetings, meals and other activities. This helps staff and customers to maintain an appropriate physical distance. To the extent possible, carry out your activities outside and, if indoors, open windows and doors to promote good ventilation.
Good hand hygiene is important to control the spread of infection. Frequent handwashing by employees and customers should be encouraged. If soap and water is not available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol should be provided at all times.
At places of worship, people in separate households should avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses and/or holding hands, which is common during prayer.
Avoid Sick Employees and Customers
Staff should stay at home if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste and smell) or just feel sick. They should also stay at home and monitor their health if they have had close contact with a person who has symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 10 days.
Employers should develop policies that encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of reprisal, and ensure employees are aware of these policies.
It is strongly recommended that staff ‘know your status’ at all times. This can be achieved by testing for COVID-19 at a community site or regularly using a home antigen test.
Businesses should develop an ‘after travel’ policy for staff and customers as well. If possible, staff should work remotely until day 4 after travel, and should check their status with an antigen test before returning to work. Likewise, businesses can request that customers and clients refrain from accessing their services until after day 4.
Although not required, it is helpful for businesses to develop a contingency plan to support contact tracing, and notify the Department of Health of any case of COVID-19 at their establishment. This involves having customers at the premises sign in and provide the following contact information:
- Their full name
- Date and time of visit
- Phone number and/or email address
Cleaning & Disinfecting
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the establishment at least daily or between uses as much as possible. This includes door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, grab bars, hand railings, cash registers, payment terminals, tables, countertops, bars, and condiment holders.
For places of worship, touch points should be cleaned between services. For settings such as gyms, spas, beauty salons and barbershops, touch points, equipment and stations should be cleaned between customers.
Since the beginning of the global pandemic, the Ministry of Health has provided detailed information for business owners and operators on a variety of topics such as workplace quarantine, the safe return to work after travel, infection prevention, personal protective equipment, etc. You can link to this earlier guidance here.