COVID-19 – Workplaces

Last Reviewed/Updated: 1:44 p.m., September 10, 2021

Visit for updated guidance on the provincial proof of vaccination requirement for select high-risk indoor settings.

Our workplace ‘letter of instruction’ (for June 10, 2021) as been repealed to align with the provincial requirements set out for Step 3 in O. Reg. 364/20

On this page:

Vaccine Information for Employers
Resources to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace
Safety Plans
Screening Employees and Customers
Masks and Face Coverings
Cleaning and Disinfecting
General Signage
Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace
COVID-19 Prevention Webinar for Businesses and Organizations
Enhanced Measures for Variants of Concern (VOC)
Employer Vaccine Notification Tool
Rapid Workplace Testing
Managing Employees with Symptoms Post-Vaccination

Resources to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace

On September 9, 2021, Peterborough Public Health Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, issued a formal letter of recommendation. Dr. Salvaterra is strongly recommending that all workplaces in the City and County of Peterborough develop (or enhance) their workplace policies to include a requirement that all employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine, unless otherwise medically exempt. For direction on developing or enhancing your workplace vaccination policy please visit the vaccine information for employers webpage.

  • Find sector-specific guidelines and posters to help protect workers, customers and the general public from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario.
  • Peterborough Public Health continues to take a prevention focus for COVID-19. Businesses must remain compliant to help ensure further restrictions are not imposed. Customers must remain vigilant to ensure further restrictions are not imposed.
  • To learn more about COVID-19 levels by region, and which level Peterborough Public Health is in please visit the COVID-19 Response page.
  • Meal and break periods at work during COVID-19
  • Learn what employers can do to help control exposure to COVID-19 at break times.
  • Review the COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance for Employers to learn more about the benefits of high vaccine coverage in the workplace, and how you can promote vaccine coverage at your workplace.

Safety Plan

A safety plan is required, for any businesses, places, and/or organizations that are permitted to be open.

Employers can use this checklist to make sure their COVID-19 workplace safety plan contains key elements to help protect workers, customers and the general public.

  • Download the Safety Plan text file template
  • Download the Safety Plan checklist
  • Watch a webinar from Workplace Safety & Prevention Services about creating a safety plan for your business.
  • The safety plan shall describe the measures and procedures which have been implemented or will be implemented in the business to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • The safety plan shall be in writing and shall be made available to any person for review on request.The person responsible for the business shall ensure that a copy of the safety plan is posted in a noticeable place so that it is readily visible to those working in or attending the business (e.g. staff and customers).

Screening Employees and Customers

Businesses, workplaces, and organizations are required by law to actively screen their employees, volunteers, and essential visitors at the beginning of each shift.


Masks and Face Coverings

Provincial law requires members of the public and workers to wear a mask or face covering when entering or remaining in an indoor area of a workplace or business. There are a limited number of exemptions.

  • Peterborough PPE Retail Hub
  • Many outdoor workers, including but not limited to, public works, construction, survey crews, etc. may be required to wear a mask or face covering while on a job site

Cleaning and Disinfecting

The person responsible for a business or place that is open shall ensure that,

(a)  any washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or similar amenities made available to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition; and

(b)  any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of members of the public must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.

Equipment includes items such as shopping baskets, shopping carts, and electronic payment machines. These items must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Signage for Your Workplace


Managing COVID-19 in the workplace

Does your employee have symptoms?

Does the self-assessment tool recommend testing?

Is your employee reporting that they have been in contact with someone who may have tested positive?

  • If you have not been contacted by Public Health, your workplace is not considered to be at risk of infection and work may continue as usual. Close contacts of a confirmed or probable positive case will be contacted by Public Health and advised of next steps.
  • Consider supporting employees who are required to self-isolate with paid time off.

Is your employee reporting that they have been in contact with someone who has symptoms or someone who travelled?

  • Only the person who has symptoms or has travelled outside Canada is required to self-isolate or quarantine. Other household members do not need to self-isolate or get tested and may return to work. Please refer to the Workplace Screening Tool

Employees and self-isolation: Non-Health Care Staff

Information at this link, will help employers in non-healthcare workplaces understand what to expect for workers returning to the workplace after COVID-19 self-isolation. The information is based on the Ministry of Health guidance.

Will Public Health provide a letter when the employee is discharged from self-isolation?

Some local public health agencies may, upon request, provide a note to the individual once their self-isolation period is complete. Peterborough Public Health does not recommend that employers require clearance notes for return to work. It is expected that workers who have tested positive or are identified as high risk close contacts abide by public health direction and advice on when they would be considered clear to return to work. Workers are not required to provide proof of a negative or a positive test result to their employers.

Do my employees require a negative test result to return back to work?

No, workers do not need a negative COVID-19 test to return to the workplace after completing self-isolation. In fact, they would not be eligible for testing. A Public Health Nurse follows a client (employee) who has tested positive for COVID-19, and will clear that client when their illness resolves to resume day to day activities – including going back to work.

Page 20 of the  Management of Cases and Contacts of COVID-19 in Ontario (version 11.0) guideline indicates that a negative test result is not needed to return back to work, once cleared by a PPH Public Health Nurse.

If there is a positive case at your workplace

As an employer, PPH recommends that when you receive information about a positive COVID-19 case in your workplace you should:

  • Maintain confidentiality of your employee’s personal health information.
  • Support employees who need to be absent from work due to illness or who have been identified as a high-risk contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Consider supporting that employee to work from home, when feasible, or paid sick time.
  • As per Ontario Workplace Health & Safety requirements, conduct a workplace risk assessment to determine if there are any risks posed to other workers (click here to learn about how close contacts are identified).
    • Peterborough Public Health will identify any High-Risk Contacts (HRC) through contacting tracing with the individual who tested positive. Through the contact tracing investigation, if co-workers are deemed HRC, PPH staff will only disclose a positive case to an employer if it is necessary to manage the exposure risk at the workplace.
      • NOTE: If any of your staff test positive for COVID-19 and it was determined that they were exposed at the workplace, employers must notify the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in writing within four days.
    • Anyone who would constitute a Low Risk Contact will not receive a call from Peterborough Public Health, but should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the last day that they were exposed to the person with COVID-19 while they were contagious. If the investigation with the individual who tests positive reveals a number of low risk contacts at the workplace, Peterborough Public Health will provide a letter to be circulated to employees.
  • Activate your COVID-19 Communications Plan to provide accurate and timely information to staff about details you can share (while maintaining the confidentiality of your employee’s personal health information), what you are doing as a result of the positive case (i.e., enhanced cleaning and disinfection, work from home arrangements, etc), and any further instructions provided to you from Peterborough Public Health.
    • Note: It is critical that you ensure you maintain privacy and confidentiality of employees’ personal health information at all times. If necessary, use non-descript language if notifying others that a person who was in the workplace, floor, or area was infected or exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
    • Public notification is generally not required unless persons who may have been exposed while at the workplace cannot be identified or contacted in a timely manner.
  • If you learn of 2 or more staff diagnosed with COVID-19 within a 14-day interval, please contact Peterborough Public Health ASAP 705- 743-1000 or
  • Learn more about your role as an Employer during COVID-19 workplace outbreaks
  • Do not attempt to initiate contact tracing or encourage employees to seek testing until you consult with public health. We will provide the direction and obtain the information required from you for tracing within the workplace. We will provide guidance to you and communication to circulate with your staff.

Enhanced Measures for Variants of Concern (VOC)

  • As new variants of COVID-19 are beginning to circulate in the province of Ontario, enhanced measures are being implemented for case and contact management
  • Part of this enhanced management may result in individuals needing to self-isolate for a day or two, pending test results for someone they were in contact with
  • Peterborough Public Health can provide a letter of clearance if requested by the individual (who may be an employee at a workplace) once they have been cleared to resume day-to-day activities, including work

Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Notification Tool

The employer notification tool is now closed.

All essential workers in group 1 and group 2 are now eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. If your workplace does not fall under those categories, your employees may be eligible based on personal health status or age.

For more information about vaccine eligibility visit the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility guidance document.


Rapid Workplace Testing

Working with Ontario’s Chambers of Commerce and other workplace partners the Ontario government has launched a new rapid testing portal to make it easier for all essential businesses to access free rapid testing to help keep employees, their families and our communities safe.

Businesses and workplaces can determine their eligibility (and subsequently apply to the program) using the information below.

To access free test kits:

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program provides free rapid antigen test kits to high-risk communities, organizations and essential workplaces.

Program participants:

  • must agree to the program terms and conditions
  • review onboarding and training materials
  • order free test kits from the province of Ontario
  • report testing data to the province each week

Check your eligibility and apply here

Managing Employees with Symptoms Post-Vaccination

The purpose of this document is to:

  • Support employers, including health care settings and long-term care homes, on planning for and supporting workers who have recently received a COVID-19 vaccine; and
  • Provide guidance related to COVID-19 workplace screening for workers experiencing post-vaccine symptoms. This guidance does not apply to screening outside of workplaces