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Montréal's Reopening of Retail Businesses: An Occupational Health and Safety Update

May 26, 2020

The Government of Quebec has announced the lifting of restrictions for retail businesses within the Montréal Metropolitan Community that are not considered essential. Businesses falling within this category may reopen as of May 25, 2020 (Reopening).

As noted in our May 2020 Blakes Bulletin: Considering Sanitary Standards for Quebec’s Deconfinement and Economic Relaunch, the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) published a virtual toolkit for Quebec employers and workers with the purpose of ensuring the successful reopening of workplaces across the province following the shutdown to counter the spread of COVID-19. The toolkit includes a Workplace Sanitary Standards Guide – COVID-19 (Guide), as well as quick reference guides for employers and workers.

The Guide proposes various measures to be adapted to each workplace and sector. As part of the Reopening, the CNESST has recently published, in addition to the Guide and the quick reference guides, a daily checklist to be used by retail businesses that resume or pursue their operations in the context of COVID-19.

According to various documents published by the CNESST, retail businesses should put in place prevention measures that follow guidance with respect to the exclusion of symptomatic workers from the workplace, physical distancing, hygiene and respiratory etiquette, as well as maintaining a sanitary environment. The CNESST's recommendations for retail businesses include the following:

  • Validating workers' state of health prior to the start of every shift
  • Rearranging workstations and reviewing work methods to comply with the two-meter physical distancing guideline whenever possible
  • Cleaning surfaces that are frequently touched by employees and customers, such as counters, cash registers and computer accessories
  • Putting up a sign at the business' entrance indicating all necessary information for customers, such as a reminder of instructions, organization of service and queues, accepted payment methods, removal of merchandise and returns
  • Limiting the number of customers on site and questioning customers as to their state of health with respect to COVID-19
  • Installing signage within the store to guide customer traffic, as well as physical barriers at checkouts
  • Requiring contactless payment methods, such as bank cards and contactless terminals, and encouraging cashless payment methods.

Finally, as of May 24, 2020, retail businesses may also open on Sundays.

For further information, please contact:
Natalie Bussière            514-982-4080
Francis L. Racine            514-982-4149

Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre to learn more about how COVID-19 may impact your business.