City of Terrace Safety Plan – COVID-19
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of respiratory infections. It is transmitted when a person coughs or sneezes and may be spread by touch if a person has used their hands to cover their mouth or nose when they cough.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including the flu and common cold. They include cough, sneezing, fever, sore throat, and difficulty breathing.
How does COVID-19 compare to other illnesses like the flu?
Influenza and COVID-19 are different viruses, but both can result in similar symptoms of fever, headache, cough, sore throat, and/or runny nose. Symptoms in both cases can range in severity from mild to severe. Similar to influenza, some groups of people may be at increased risk for more severe illness—even death—such as older adults or those with underlying health conditions. Both illnesses are droplet-spread, so measures such as washing your hands; not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands; and covering up a cough/sneeze are effective ways to prevent the spread.
The City of Terrace (COT) continues to monitor the progression of the pandemic and refers to the direction of Provincial Health Officer and public health officials.
These safe work practices during the COVID-19 pandemic provide direction for COT employees in the office and field to minimize exposure to the virus and stop the spread.
Safe Work Practices
Employees will report to work in fit condition and implement good hygiene and rigorous sanitary measures while at work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employees that can fully perform their duties off-site may be encouraged to work from home when possible to do so.
Employees who have a health and/or medical condition that result in a compromised immune system will be given consideration to work in isolation.
1. Fit For Work
- During this pandemic, it is especially vital for all employees to self-monitor their health;
- Prior to reporting to work, should an employee develop flu-like symptoms they are to contact their supervisor;
- COT employees are to use the online self-assessment tool, as listed https://covid19.thrive.health/
- Employees will heed self-assessment tool results and forward them to supervisor. If required, Sick Leave Administration policy will be applied;
- As per the Provincial Health Order put in place on January 4, 2022 all employees will perform a daily health check before entering the workplace. These health checks are mandatory self-assessments conducted by the workers. They will have to initial the Health Check Declaration form that will be provided to them by their supervisor.
- If an employee is at work, and begins to develop flu-like symptoms they should immediately isolate from others, contact their supervisor and follow the procedures as listed.
2. Good Hygiene and Rigorous Sanitary Measures
- Wash hands effectively and often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Hand washing posters are displayed in the workplace.
Hand Washing Technique
- Remove rings or other jewelry on the hands and wrists
- Wet your hands with warm/cold water
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
- Rinse hands well under running water
- Dry hands with a clean towel or paper towel
- Use the towel to turn off the tap and open the door when you leave if you are in a public washroom
- If soap and water is not available use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer. Hand washing is highly recommended as this is the best way to prevent spreading of the virus and staying healthy;
- Avoid touching your face;
- Use a tissue or the inside of your elbow to sneeze or cough into. Dispose of used tissue immediately. Wash/sanitize your hands after using the tissue;
- If possible physical distance 2 meters (6 feet) away from fellow employees and members of the public. Physical distancing posters are displayed in the workplace;
- Do not shake hands or hug;
- Stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing;
- If you develop a cough isolate yourself from others and report to your supervisor;
- If you notice your co-worker begins to develop symptoms like coughing tell them and ensure they report to their supervisor.
3. Clean Work Areas
- Employees will dispose of their own garbage from their work area, break table and/or from their vehicle after use;
- Employees will disinfect their own work areas, break area and work vehicle after use;
- Employees will clean their own dishes after use;
- Debit machines to be disinfected after each use;
- General cleaning and disinfecting surfaces should occur at least one a day;
- Disinfecting of highly touched surfaces minimum 2 times a day
- Door handles/knobs
- Light switches
- Shared workstations
- Washroom facilities
- Communication equipment
- Signage indicating maximum occupancy’s for conference rooms, break rooms, bathrooms;
- Remove items from counter areas that cannot be easily cleaned (e.g. newspapers, magazines, books, toys).
- COT will supply Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to safely perform work duties within departments;
PPE will be:
- Selected based upon the hazard to the worker;
- Properly fitted, as applicable (e.g., respirators);
- Consistently and properly worn when required;
- Regularly inspected, maintained, and replaced, as necessary; and
- Properly removed, cleaned, and stored or disposed of, as applicable, to avoid contamination of self, others, or the environment.
- All workers have the option to wear non-surgical masks at any time while performing work duties, riding in vehicles, etc.; These masks should be a 3 layered mask;
- Disposable gloves are to be used for short-term tasks;
Disposable Glove Removal Technique
- Hold the glove at the wrist and peel away from the hand
- Hold the removed glove with the gloved hand
- With the ungloved hand (ensure you do not touch the outside of the glove) slide the hand into the glove along the skin and remove the second glove by turning the 2nd glove inside out
- Dispose of the gloves properly into a garbage container without touching the outside of the gloves
- If wearing non-disposable gloves ensure that your glove removal is performed properly and store away from other personal items. Wash hands after storing gloves;
- WARNING: A glove will transfer harmful germs to your face and to other surfaces the same as a bare hand – it can create a false-sense of security.
- An employee has the right to refuse work if he/she believes that a specific work task presents an undue risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. At such time, the employee is to contact their supervisor and together they will decide a course of action.
- Ensure vehicles are equipped with disinfectant wipes or spray;
- Before and after vehicle use, disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as:
- Door handles/knobs
- Steering wheel
- Gear shift handle
- Center console
- Door armrest
- If travelling with a co-worker, roll down windows slightly to permit for natural air circulation;
6. Office Common Areas
- Access will be limited and controlled to all COT buildings. This includes contractors, delivery persons, members of the public, etc.;
- Signage visible to the public indicating number of customers allowed at one time;
- Hand sanitizer will be available at front entrance for public to use when entering facility;
- Indicators on floor showing flow of pedestrian traffic;
- Staff meetings to be conducted by Teams or ensure that if held in person masks are worn at all times and social distancing is being adhered to;
- Meetings with consultants, etc. will be by appointment only or conducted via phone, Teams, etc.;
- Plexi-glass installed at front counter;
- Staff desks socially distant from each other.
7. Mask Requirement – December 3, 2021 – Public Health Order
All City employees will be required to wear a mask while at the worksite during these circumstances:
- All employees who are travelling more than 1 to a vehicle
- All employees outside of vehicle that are working within 2 metres (6 ft) of each other;
- All employees who leave their own office to enter a common area;
- All employees who leave their workstation to go into common area;
- If employees are not able to keep a 2 metre (6 ft) distance from each other or members of the public if there is no other protection in place for example plexiglass
Disposable and reusable masks will be provided by the City of Terrace. If you choose to use a reusable mask you will be required to clean and maintain it for future use.
Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing, regular hand washing, staying home when feeling unwell, and all other COVID-19 health guidelines. Every effort should be made to keep a 2-metre distance even when wearing a face mask. All other safety protocols implemented in City-operated buildings must be followed.
Face Mask Requirement - Patrons
Wearing a face mask is an additional measure we can take to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and keep each other safe. This means that, with some exceptions, all individuals entering a City-operated building are required to wear a face mask while inside including:
- Patrons participating in programs or services offered in the facility
- Individuals conducting business or providing a service while in the building
An individual’s face mask must cover the nose, mouth, and chin without gapping. Masks that have venting and face shields alone are not acceptable.
Exemptions to the Face Mask Requirement
Those exempt from wearing a face mask while inside City-operated buildings include individuals:
- People with health conditions or with physical, cognitive or mental impairments who cannot wear on
- People who cannot remove a mask on their own
- Under the age of 5
- People who need to remove their masks to communicate due to another person’s hearing impairment
It is vital that individuals are not stigmatized or judged if they are unable to wear a face mask due to a listed exemption. We ask for patience and kindness as everyone adjusts and navigates through these uncertain times. Those who are not able to wear a face mask for medical or other reasons are asked to maintain a safe distance for the protection of themselves and those around them.
Responsibilities and Compliance
All employees should be wearing a cloth and if possible a 3 layer cloth mask, disposable or N95 masks when entering all City buildings, sharing a vehicle, or working side by side with other employees or contractors. Bandanas and face shields are not considered to be a mask. Please make sure to dispose of used disposable face masks into a waste bin. If one is not available, store your used materials in a plastic bag until they can be disposed of properly. Individuals should ensure they wash their hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after removing their face mask.
Individuals are expected to make good personal decisions regarding the use of face masks. Staff will be informing individuals who are not wearing a face mask that they are required to wear one. Our primary focus is on education, and staff will do what they can to find a workable solution.
The City of Terrace is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all patrons, participants, staff, and volunteers. Every individual entering a City building is expected to behave in a socially responsible manner that respects the rights of others. The City of Terrace expects all individuals to be responsible for their personal conduct.
The public can also visit https://www.terrace.ca/covid19 for more information about how the pandemic affects City operations.
8. Isolation Periods
The current recommendations found at If You Have COVID-19 (bccdc.ca) state that those who are fully vaccinated (meaning completed 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine at least 7 days prior to symptom onset) AND are not immune compromised, may come out of isolation after 5 days if they are feeling better and their fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications (ie: Tylenol, ibuprofen). They are asked to wear a mask for the remaining 5 days and avoid higher risk settings where vulnerable people may be and gathering with others.
For those who are not fully immunized, they are asked to isolate for 10 days after symptom onset.
For those who are immune compromised or having severe illness, the isolation is usually 20 days, so for these people, I would refer them to call their primary care provider and/or the Northern Health Virtual Clinic at 1-844-645-7811 (available 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week) for further assessment and guidance.