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Hospitality and COVID-19 safety

These protocols provide guidance to employers in the hospitality industry. These employers may also benefit from reviewing protocols developed for restaurants, cafés, and pubs and office spaces. Employers must also ensure they are abiding by any orders, notices, or guidance issued by the provincial health officer, and the appropriate health authority, that are relevant to their workplace.

For more information from WorkSafeBC, please see:

COVID-19 safety plans

Every employer is required to have a COVID-19 safety plan that assesses the risk of exposure at their workplace and implements measures to keep their workers safe.

To help you develop your plan, this page provides information and resources on keeping workers safe in industries that have been providing essential services since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. For additional information, also see:

WorkSafeBC will be reviewing plans of individual employers during their inspections of your workplace. Please be reminded that in accordance with the order of the provincial health officer, this plan must be posted at the worksite and posted to the website, if there is one. During a WorkSafeBC inspection, we will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers and to see their plan. To learn more, read Inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Controlling the risk of COVID-19 transmission – All hospitality sectors

Employers must take all necessary precautions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and illness to themselves, workers, and others at the workplace. This includes:

  • Developing and communicating policies prohibiting the following workers and others from entering the workplace:
    • Anyone who has had symptoms of COVID-19
    • Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days
    • Anyone who has been identified by Public Health as a close contact of someone with COVID-19
    • Anyone who has been told to isolate by Public Health
  • Adjusting practices to encourage physical distancing, such as having some workers (e.g., dispatch, customer service, administration) work remotely wherever possible; staggering start times for food delivery drivers to prevent crowding at restaurant dispatch locations; modifying or eliminating in-person meetings and morning huddles; encouraging workers not to shake hands; removing or modifying proof-of-delivery signature requirements; and maintaining an up-to-date list of employees at the workplace.
  • Developing hygiene and cleaning policies that include removing shared items where cross-contamination is possible (e.g., shared kitchen implements); enhancing cleaning and disinfecting practices for high-contact areas such as surfaces in public serving zones; incorporating regular and end-of-shift cleaning and disinfection for all shared spaces; and ensuring workers are provided with appropriate supplies, such as soap and water, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes.

Controlling the risk of COVID-19 transmission – For specific hospitality sectors

Select a tab below for information specific to the nature of your work.

The provincial health officer issued an order on March 20, 2020 ordering that all restaurants and bars operate on a take-out or delivery basis only.

Restaurants

The BC Centre for Disease Control has developed a website for grocery stores, restaurants, and other food premises to provide guidance to workers and employers on COVID-19. The website includes information on how COVID-19 may be spread in these workplaces, how physical distancing can be implemented in various roles, tips for sanitation, and what to do when employees are ill.

The provincial health officer has also provided guidance to retail food and grocery stores operating during COVID-19.

Food delivery

Employers may consider some of the following advice or best practices to reduce the risk of worker exposure to COVID-19 during food delivery:

  • Adjust practices for in-person food delivery to ensure physical distancing is maintained. For example, where possible, drop off packages at the door or outside buildings; call ahead so the deliverer can be made aware of any site requirements and the customer can be ready to accept the delivery; and avoid coming close to customers.
  • Adjust practices for proof of delivery so that, where possible, in-person signatures can be avoided and online confirmation of receipt of package can be used instead.
  • Ensure vehicles and facilities are being thoroughly cleaned regularly, including a disinfectant wipe down of all touch points (e.g. door handles, steering wheels, seats, windows, stairs, handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, garbage handles, seats, phones).
  • Consider the use of protective gloves when delivering packages to the drop off area and wash hands after removing the gloves.

Related links:

  • Go2HR is the designated Health and Safety Association for the hospitality and tourism industry. They have developed a number of COVID-19 resources for employers, including materials for business continuity planning and managing COVID-19 risks in the workplace.
  • Restaurants Canada has published information for restaurants and food service operators, including a checklist of prevention measures, webinars on managing stress and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and HR and employment information.

Employers may consider some of the following advice or best practices at their worksite to reduce the risk of worker exposure to COVID-19:

  • Work with minimal staff to allow sufficient space for physical distancing. Consider re-arranging work areas or re-organizing work tasks to allow workers to maintain distance.
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, doorknobs and equipment. Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Consider wearing nitrile gloves (instead of work gloves), depending on the task and where appropriate, when loading or unloading. Remove and dispose of them in a garbage bag immediately after you are done.
  • Post signage for customers on hygiene practices and physical distancing measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

Related links:

  • Go2HR is the designated Health and Safety Association for the hospitality and tourism industry. They have developed a number of COVID-19 resources for employers, including materials for business continuity planning and managing COVID-19 risks in the workplace.
  • Restaurants Canada has published information for restaurants and food service operators, including a checklist of prevention measures, webinars on managing stress and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and HR and employment information.

The BC Centre for Disease Control and Ministry of Health have provided interim guidance on preventing the transmission of COVID-19 to operators of hotels, motels, hostels, inns and other forms of travel accommodation. The guidance includes information on environmental cleaning, food and beverage services, and personal service establishments and shared areas. The provincial health officer’s revised order on gatherings and events, limiting the number of guests in private residences to a maximum of six, applies to vacation accommodations.

Related link:

  • The BC Hotel Association has produced a number of resources for hotels, including the management of hotel guests in self-isolation and information on ensuring the health and safety of employees and guests.

Employers may consider some of the following advice or best practices at their worksite to reduce the risk of worker exposure to COVID-19:

  • Limit available campsites to allow greater spacing.
  • Implement online booking and prepayment to allow physical distancing from on-site staff.
  • Close common areas such as communal fire pits, hot tubs, play areas, and offices.
  • Close all common showers and bathrooms. Many RVs are equipped with these facilities.
  • Increase disinfecting practices of high touchpoint items inside and outside vehicles, including in-cab communication devices, air lines, landing gear handles, trailer doors, maintenance equipment, and dollies.
  • Consider wearing nitrile gloves (instead of work gloves), depending on the task and where appropriate, when loading or unloading. Remove and dispose of them in a garbage bag immediately after you are done.
  • Post signage for customers on hygiene practices and physical distancing measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • The provincial health officer’s revised order on gatherings and events, limiting the number of guests in private residences to a maximum of six, applies to vacation accommodations.

Related link:

  • Go2HR is the designated Health and Safety Association for the hospitality and tourism industry. They have developed a number of COVID-19 resources for employers, including materials for business continuity planning and managing COVID-19 risks in the workplace.

Resolving concerns about unsafe work

Workers have the right to refuse work if they believe it presents an undue hazard.

An undue hazard is an “unwarranted, inappropriate, excessive, or disproportionate” hazard. For COVID-19, an “undue hazard” would be one where a worker’s job role places them at increased risk of exposure and adequate controls are not in place to protect them from that exposure.

If the matter is not resolved, the worker and the supervisor or employer must contact WorkSafeBC. Once that occurs, a prevention officer will consult with workplace parties to determine whether there is an undue hazard and issue orders if necessary.

For more information, see Occupational Health and Safety Guideline G3.12.

For more information

Note: The information on this page is based on current recommendations and may change. Content from health and safety associations and other parties is also subject to change and WorkSafeBC has not reviewed this material for the purpose of ensuring it is aligned with our guidance. For the latest guidance, visit the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control for health information and see the latest news from the government of British Columbia.

If you have a question or concern

Workers and employers with questions or concerns about workplace exposure to COVID-19 can call WorkSafeBC’s Prevention Information Line at 604.276.3100 in the Lower Mainland (toll-free within B.C. at 1.888.621.SAFE). You’ll be able to speak to a prevention officer to get answers to your questions, and if required, a prevention officer will be assigned to assess the health and safety risk at your workplace.