Essential information to help you better understand what COVID-19 is and how it spreads, so you can take steps to prevent workplace exposure. Please refer to PHO order on masks in indoor settings for the latest public health guidelines.
All businesses should have COVID-19 safety plans in place as per WorkSafeBC. A licensed business in a home can still operate as per their safety plan, providing it considers things like enough space for physical distancing and hand washing/sanitization stations being available.
Latest Update - May 26th, 2021: The B.C. government launched BC's Restart—a new 4-step plan for safe reopening.
Latest Update - April 19th, 2021: The B.C. government has announced plans that, if passed, will provide workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals. In humans, they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The BC Centre for Disease Control is your go-to resource for updates and information relating to COVID-19, its spread, and what to do if you are sick.
Genetic variations of viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19, are common and expected. The Public Health Agency of Canada works with the provinces and territories, and other partners to monitor and identify variants of concern in Canada. Stay up-to-date with COVID-19 variants.
How Does COVID-19 Spread?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted via liquid droplets when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes near another person. It can also be spread when someone touches an infected person or a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, mouth, or nose.
Download the Government of Canada's COVID Alert app to be alerted of a possible exposure before any symptoms appear.
What Are the Symptoms?
COVID-19 symptoms can appear up to 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms, including fever, cough, chills, sore throat, headache, and fatigue, are similar to the flu and common cold. View the most common COVID-19 symptoms.
Anyone with symptoms can get tested for COVID-19. Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you might need to seek medical advice or get tested.
What to Do if Sick
If you or an employee are sick it's vital to focus on minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19. The most important thing to do is self-isolate by staying home and avoiding coming into contact with other people. You should also wear a face mask when around other people, cover your coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands and clean surfaces often.
For more information about what to do if you are sick, as well as more general COVID-19 information, visit the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website.
What Can Businesses and Individuals Do to Prevent the Spread?
All business should have a Safety Plan. Individuals should follow some basic good habits to help prevent the spread, including:
- Carry out daily health checks
- Practice good hygiene, including washing your hands frequently and properly, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve, and cleaning surfaces regularly.
- Staying home if sick
- Practicing physical distancing whenever possible and reducing the number of contacts to a small group of people you see often.
- Wearing face masks or other PPE to help prevent the spread. On November 7th, 2020, the government announced "the expectation is that everyone wears a mask in all indoor public spaces."
- Improve indoor ventilation to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Use these resources to make sure your premises are correctly ventilated.
Learn more about these little things that make a big difference.
Employees in B.C. have the right to a healthy and safe workplace. Here's what workers should do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Check for hand sanitizer recalls
- Download a WorkSafeBC "COVID-19: Masks are mandatory in this workplace" poster
- Download a mask exemption poster
Mental Well-Being and COVID-19
There are plenty of positive actions business owners and managers can take to protect and nurture their own mental health, and the mental health of their team. Get some tips for business owners and mental health resources.
B.C.'s Vaccination Plan
B.C.’s four-phased COVID-19 Immunization Plan got underway in December 2020. It starts by first immunizing those who are most vulnerable to severe illness and death, including long-term care residents and the health-care workers who care for them, remote and at-risk Indigenous communities, and seniors.
Useful Health & Safety Resources from WorkSafeBC
- COVID-19 FAQs
- Returning to safe operation FAQs
- Health and safety responsibilities when working from home
- COVID-19 safety in vehicles, including carpooling
- COVID-19 health and safety: Cleaning and disinfecting
- Increased use of disinfectants, cleaners, and sanitizers during COVID-19
- Selecting and using face shields in non–health care settings
- Mandatory masks in public places
- COVID-19 vaccination and the workplace