COVID-19 Update - Important Information for Employers
[UPDATED DECEMBER 7, 2020] As the COVID-19 cases in Québec are continuing to increase, the Québec government is progressively announcing measures which may have an impact on workplaces. Here is an update of the most recent news announced during this first week of December.
Stores and shopping malls
On Wednesday, December 2, 2020, the Québec government announced new measures in shopping malls and stores which are applicable since Friday, December 4, 2020. The government also warned that CNESST inspectors will increase their monitoring and that police officers will be more present during Boxing Day.
As provided under the Ministerial Order 2020-100, these new measures are:
- Stores will have to limit the number of clients in their stores and post in a conspicuous manner, at the entrance of the store, the limit (number of clients authorized in the store);
- Stores will have to take the necessary measures to ensure that in the store and in any waiting lines formed outside to access it, physical distancing is respected. These measures include, for example, displaying information and placing marks on walls or on the ground for customers;
- The number of authorized customers is one (1) customer per 20 square meters of “sales area”. The “sales area” means the “total area reserved for sales, services related to sales and for the public to have access to products and services, including circulation areas, payment areas and if applicable, food preparation areas where the person assigned to the area is also responsible for serving the customers.”
- For example, in a store of 9 000 square meters of sales area, about 450 customers will be authorized. For stores that are smaller than 20 square meters of sales area, only one customer at a time will be allowed;
- However, there is an exception provided for a customer accompanied by minor-aged children or any other person who requires, or to whom the customer provides, assistance. They can enter together in an establishment whose maximum occupancy would not allow them to enter even in the absence of other customers. For example, a parent with a minor child could enter a store whose maximum capacity is normally set at one (1) customer.
- Staff is not to be included or counted in the number of authorized customers;
- Owners of shopping malls will also have to ensure that these principles are followed in common areas of shopping malls and inside shopping malls as a whole, and are subject to the calculation of one (1) client per 20 square meters of “area accessible to customers”. They must also ensure that physical distancing is respected at all times. However, they may admit individuals who must travel through common areas of the shopping mall to access premises where health and social services, or government services, are provided, or, if applicable, where administrative tribunals or courts of law are located.
No holiday gatherings in red zones
Furthermore, on Thursday, December 3, 2020, the Québec government went back on its previous announcements allowing two (2) private gatherings between December 24 and December 27, 2020.
In light of the spread of COVID-19 in certain Québec regions, in all red zones, gatherings will be strictly prohibited during the entire holiday season. The only visits allowed will be to individuals living alone, and only one visitor at a time will be authorized so long as physical distancing is maintained and face masks are worn. The regular rules already applicable in yellow or orange zones will continue to apply (i.e. gatherings will be authorized during the holidays following the same modalities as before the holidays). See the Government’s announcement HERE.