Township endorses COVID-19 workplace policy

Blueprint for ‘planned, progressive return to work’

WELLINGTON NORTH – Council here has endorsed a COVID-19 policy that includes “guiding principles for a safe workplace” and a “planned, progressive return to work approach” as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The protocols include requirements for council and staff  to discuss, in advance, any out-of-province or out of country travel with a supervisor and to follow prescribed physical distancing and hygiene practices at the workplace.

The precautionary measures include staff eating lunch in their office where possible, using separate vehicles for work-related travel and not sharing tools and equipment, avoiding site meetings  and washing hands frequently. Township personnel are also asked to change and wash clothes as soon as they get home each day and to stay home if sick.

“This is a great document,” said councillor Sherry Burke, who noted protocols seem primarily aimed at the Kenilworth municipal.

“How will that expand once more of our facilities open?” she asked.

The document notes that recreation and roads department will develop their own specific policies as required.

“There are things in the policy that are going to pertain no matter where they are,” said  clerk and director of legislative services Karren Wallace.

However, she noted, “There are some things that really just pertain to the Kenilworth municipal office.”

Wallace also pointed out the policy will change as developments occur.

“For instance, if the borders re-open and the province says everyone is safe to travel where they want, then we would remove that out of it. We can’t have something in here if it’s not being advised by the province or public health.”

Director of operations Matt Aston said the township policy would form the basis for roads and recreation department practices, but provincial directives and guidelines would also be followed.

“This covers really all the basics, but we definitely don’t have a policy as it relates to the facilities yet. But the expectation is there that is going to serve as a foundation for something that we’ll just have to modify once playgrounds, facilities, things of that nature, are opening up,” Aston continued.

Wallace pointed out certain elements of the policy will also apply to members of the public who want to access the municipal office.

“Proper notice will be posted on the doors,” she stated.

“I think this is a good starting point based on the information that we have today as we try to move forward to – I don’t want to sound clichéd – but whatever our new normal will be coming out of this,” said Mayor Andy Lennox.