Health advice for employers and businesses

Last modified: 
Fri, 06/19/2020 - 15:19

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Businesses that can stay open must follow strict social (physical) distancing protocols and do everything in their power to keep their businesses safe and clean. Businesses must follow the interim guidance to help reduce the risk of COVID-19:

What should I tell my employees?

Let staff know they should stay home if they are feeling sick and to practice healthy respiratory practices. Discuss possible alternate work arrangements if staff are required to mandatorily self-isolate and send them to this website for more information.

Can employees travel for work?

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is advising citizens to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Further to this advice, the Chief Public Health Officer is recommending that NWT residents avoid all non-essential travel outside of the Northwest Territories.

For travel advice for employees returning to the NWT, see:

What can staff do to protect themselves?

Businesses and facilities that must remain closed

The following businesses must be closed as the nature of their operation will not allow them to have suitable distancing measures in place to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19:

  • Curling rinks
  • Gymnastic clubs
  • Indoor live theatres

Businesses and facilities that can open

Any business that has not been ordered to close may reopen if they meet the following requirements:

In addition to the above requirements, the following businesses and facilities may open as follows:

  • All educational institutions if they obtain prior approval and comply with further direction from Chief Public Health Officer.
  • Children’s summer camps if organizers obtain prior approval and comply with any directions from Chief Public Health Officer.
  • Gyms and fitness centres
    • Classes can resume. A WSCC Workplace Risk Assessment will determine class size limits and mitigation measures.
    • Group fitness classes may be offered in an outdoor location.
  • Golf courses and ski clubs may open, including  indoor clubhouses.
  • Outdoor tourism operators may operate if they do not have more than 25 people in one vehicle at any time.
  • Offices (including governments), can open to the public if they restrict staff to a maximum of 25 people per floor or office location with physical distancing measures in place.
  • Dine-in restaurants, lounges and bars may open. They may seat 25 customers inside, so long as physical distancing can be maintained. Dance floors and live music are prohibited.
  • Libraries may operate with prior approval from the CPHO.

Can my business stay open?

Offices, retailers, and restaurants that meet the expectations of disinfection and social (physical) distance of at least two metres can remain open.

Essentially, this means businesses not mentioned above can remain open if they maintain good social distance and do not present a high-risk. Those expectations can be found here.

Some examples fitting into this category: 

  • Corner stores
  • Large retail stores (i.e. Canadian Tire)

If you are unsure if your business meets the criteria, or are looking for further advice on how to keep your business safe, contact

What can businesses do if they have questions about continuing operations, or making their business safe?

Contact to speak with an Environmental Health Officer.  They will give you the right advice.

Why are we doing this?

To limit the introduction and spread of COVID 19, it is important to maintain physical distancing of 2 metres. Certain businesses that require close contact between people increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The actions that we are taking will help protect residents – especially our elderly and other vulnerable populations.

What do we do if we see a business not following the rules?

  • Email
  • Call 8-1-1. Protect NWT staff are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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