Beginning August 10, 2021, mandatory mask requirements for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador will be removed. Masks will still be recommended, especially for businesses that serve the public. The government announced its intention during a media briefing last Friday. The province has not provided an official release on this decision thus, for more information, please see the CBC story from late last week.
Heightened responsibility for employers:
Retailers are reminded that as society moves out of the pandemic, COVID-19 will still exist. Thus, businesses face a higher level of responsibility to take the precautions necessary to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers. Without states of emergency / public health emergencies in effect, an employer’s lack of action to prevent COVID-19 could result in a COVID-19 case being considered a workplace illness. Given that contact tracing of any COVID-19 related case will still occur, Public Health will be able to accurately determine where COVID spread occurs. Therefore, businesses are strongly encouraged to maintain COVID-19 policies in order to:
- protect their employees and customers
- protect their businesses from illnesses that could increase workers’ compensation rates.
Public Health will be releasing guidance documents to assist businesses with the transition period to post-pandemic business operations. However, as society moves out from the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers should strongly consider keeping the following measures in place (at least until more information is known about the potential for a fourth wave of COVID-19):
- Consider mandating masks for employees and/or customers
- Signage at the entrances advising people to stay home if they are sick (employees and customers)
- Continue providing hand hygiene facilities
- Maintain physical distancing in stores
- If physical distancing cannot be maintained, consider using protective barriers
For questions or more information contact
Director, Government Relations (Atlantic)