The Quebec government has revised the province’s list of “essential businesses” to now include pool and hot tub companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a recent release by the province of Quebec, pool and spa businesses are included in its list of essential services and commercial activities under the ‘Construction sector services’ section which reads: “Landscaping and landscape maintenance (including nurseries, garden centres, and businesses selling swimming pools).”
To protect the health of employees and those in the workplace, Quebec’s Institute of Public Health (INSPQ) is telling employers and workers to abide by the protocols in place by promoting compliance by using the measures in place such as adjusting the method of work and time. Instructions should be given to employees who are in compulsory segregation (telework, if applicable), and those with other types of constraints (flexible hours). Further, workers should be advised not to report to work if they have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of smell and taste, or other symptoms.
The INSPQ also recommends employers to establish a surveillance system to detect and exclude symptomatic employees from work before the start of the shift:
- If a worker begins to experience symptoms in the workplace, have a procedure to allow him/her to be isolated in a room and making the person wear a procedural (or surgical) mask, or failing to have such mask, a face cover. Should this occur in the workplace, businesses should call 877-644-4545;
- Ensure compliance with public health recommendations for a safe return to work at the end of
- Limit the number of workers to the minimum to perform the required tasks (e.g. the same people will be able to fill, stuff, and transport the material to the growing areas.);
- Favour the stability of work teams (same workers in shifts) to avoid multiplication of interactions;
- Train and inform all employees of the preventive measures to be implemented, which must be observed at all times in the workplace; and
- Promote hand hygiene by providing workers with the necessary equipment (water, soap, hand sanitizer, contactless bins, disposable handkerchiefs, towels, or disposable paper, etc.).
The government ordered the minimization of all non-priority services and activities on March 25 and will be in place until May 4.
Bill Roberton, executive director of the PHTCC, states the council continues to contact all levels of government across Canada as part of its government outreach detailing the services provided by members companies may be considered as essential businesses serving their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early on, when provincial governments started to announce emergency orders and closures of non-essential businesses, the PHTCC has remained in contact with key government officials across Canada communicating on behalf of the pool and spa industry and its important role in keeping communities healthy and safe.
As part of this, the council continues to issue regular updates on the COVID-19 pandemic along with guidance and best practices for operational and workplace safety during these period. In addition to sourcing helpful resources for pool and hot tub businesses to help them navigate workplace topics related to the pandemic, the PHTCC has introduced a dedicated website (www.phtcccovid19.ca) specific to COVID-19 information as it relates to the industry.