The world around us is slowly opening back up and some of you may be in the process of returning to work or re-opening your business.
With that in mind, we had a discussion with our Liability Insurance Team to make sure you will still be covered when you go back to work. We were advised that as long as your business is practicing the government guidlines set forth in your area for a safe work environment, you will be covered.
In our profession, we are often working with people who aren't in the best health. As we know, people who are immune compromised, elderly and have medical conditions such as asthma or other lung issues, heart related issues, cancer and diabetes are at a much greater risk of having severe complications or death should they catch COVID-19. It is our responsibility as practitioners to reduce the risk of harm and infection as much as possible.
We have put a list of protocols in place for you to follow:
Working with Clients Face to FaceClient Intake: New clients should complete their Health History / Intake Forms prior to making a visit to your office. Your can do this over the phone, through email or video conferencing services.
This will give you a chance to review and decide the best route of action for each individual. New and returning clients who are at greater risk of complication should be allowed participate via virtual meetings if possible (see post from April 2020 on HIPPA / PIPEDA compliant tools for home offices and virtual meetings).
Provide All Clients With the Option to Meet Virtually: Even if your client doesn't fit the "At Risk" criteria, you may find that many of your clients are fearful and anxious about catching COVID-19 and potentially spreading it to loved ones who may or may not health compromised. Providing an open option to meet virtually is a great way to reduce those fears.
Reduce the risk of spread: When you meet clients face-to-face, ask them to wear a mask (you can have them available for purchase) and provide them with hand sanitizer prior to entering our office. Refer to this chart to learn more about the effectiveness of certain types of masks.
Keep a Safe Distance Between You and Your Clients: Take time to prepare your office in a way where you can keep a safe distance from your clients. You may wish to invest in a plexiglass protective barrier which will be an added protection for both you and your clients.
Wayfinding: To keep clients and your team safe, you can display posters and stickers around the clinic to help guide your way. Locations are marked for where to sit, stand, and sanitize.
Consider temporarily altering or relaxing your cancellation policies: If clients are faced with a cancellation fee they may be more likely to ignore symptoms and show up in your office. Alternatively, have a back up plan and offer online meetings to avoid cancellations altogether.
Touchless Payment: Ask clients to prepay online or or keep credit cards on file and take payment through booking systems.
Product Sales: Require clients to pre-order any products that you may be selling / offering and have them available for a quick pick up.
Preparing Your Office SpaceMake sure your workspace is COVID complaint.
What to Do If You Think You Have Been ExposedHave a plan: You should have a plan in place before you open your doors to the public. If you are another practitioner in your office appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) prior to or upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
If you are able to be tested, the you should not to return to the workplace until the you test negative for COVID-19 and have completed any self-isolation period mandated by public health authorities. If the you are unable to be tested, you should not return to the workplace until you have completed any mandated self-isolation period and are free of symptoms.
Stay Updated and Follow Government GuidanceNote that you must abide by the government safety regulations in your area. Here is a list of resources that you can check regularly to ensure you are armed with the latest information:
Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant to be guide only. This is not to be mistaken for the law, legal advice, medical advice, or worksafe advice. Please ensure you contact the authorities in your area for the most up to date information.