Business information

In an effort to provide some support for local businesses, the Town of High Level would like to provide a number of useful tips and information on how our businesses can ensure continuity of service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Town of High Level provides COVID-19 information to local businesses

In an effort to provide some support for local businesses, the Town of High Level would like to provide a number of useful tips and information on how our businesses can ensure continuity of service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

High Level CAO Clark McAskile noted the information is part of ongoing efforts by the Town to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic on a number of different fronts.

“We appreciate the efforts of our business community in High Level in assisting with critical efforts to maintain social distancing,” he said. “We also understand some of our businesses are struggling economically at this time.”

The information provided is intended to assist businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace with guidelines for disinfection as well as customer management.

It includes advice on mapping essential functions and the role the business plays in the community; information on planning and dealing with absenteeism during the pandemic as workers may be forced to self-isolate; advice on respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene; as well as guidelines on disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces.

In addition, the Town is providing links to information for business to access government assistance and other programs available to them at this time.

“Business is the backbone of our community,” said McAskile. “Our hope is that we can all work together during this crisis and come out stronger as a community.”

Please read over the following information. For your convenience, the Town of High Level has provided a compressed two-page handout dealing with business continuity and maintaining a safe work environment:

Business Continuity Two-Page Handout

The following information is also available for download here:

Pathway through the Pandemic

MNP has released a “Pathway through the Pandemic” one page information sheet for businesses from a risk management perspective that provides a framework for prioritizing and navigating the most critical business risks triggered by COVID-19.

You can read more information for businesses provided by MNP on their COVID-19 Business Advice Centre.

You can view Pathway through the Pandemic HERE.

Maintain Healthy Business Operations

Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.

1. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).

2. Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. Some good and services may be in higher demand or unavailable.

3. Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.

4. Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children.

1. Plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.

2. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.

3. Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies.

4. Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.

Establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Social distancing has been ordered by the Province of Alberta. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately two meters) from others when possible (e.g., breakrooms and cafeterias). Strategies that business could use include:

1. Implementing flexible worksites (e.g., telework)

2. Implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)

3. Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite

4. Increasing physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive through, partitions)

5. Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events)

6. Downsizing operations

7. Delivering services remotely (e.g. phone, video, or web)

8. Delivering products through curbside pick-up or delivery

Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions.

Employers are encouraged to review the Business Continuity Workbook from Community Futures

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Maintain a healthy work environment

Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include some or all of the following activities:

1. Increase ventilation rates.

2. Increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.

Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers, and worksite visitors:

1. Limit the use of cash. Encourage no-touch payments and disinfect point of sale terminals after each use.

2. Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.

3. Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.

4. Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.

5. Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.

6. Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of other noncontact methods of greeting.

7. Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands protocols for more information.

8. Consider limiting the number of people allowed in retail businesses; especially in the sales floor.

a. The Town of High Level recommends a limit of 1 person per 1,000 square feet of retail space, including staff. Business with less than 1,000 square feet of retail space should limit the number of people to 1 customer and 1 sales staff.

b. Place staff at entrances to monitor store limit restrictions

c. Be prepared to turn away customers displaying COVD-19 symptoms

d. Do not allow people to congregate outside of doors or in vestibules

e. If queueing is necessary provide spaces or guidelines to enforce social distancing

Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection:

1. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.

2. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

3. For disinfection, most common household disinfectants should be effective. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

4. Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.

5. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) can be wiped down by employees before each use. To disinfect, use products that meet Health Canada’s criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.

6. Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility:

7. If a sick employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, follow the Health Canada cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

Take care when attending meetings and gatherings:

1. Carefully consider whether travel is necessary.

2. Consider using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.

3. Consider canceling, adjusting, or postponing large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.

4. When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.

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MNP Resources

MNP has provided information on supports available for business owners.

For more information, please visit