COVID-19 Protocols for Watershed Groups working under the PEI Watershed Management Program

COVID-19 Protocols for Watershed Groups working under the 

PEI Watershed Management Program 

Version 5 – updated December 8, 2020 

The PEI Office of Public Health provides details on COVID-19 public health measures which can be  found here:

This document is intended to provide more specific guidance and direction to watershed groups funded  under PEI’s Watershed Management Program.

1.0 Screening and Monitoring 

The employer or supervisor must confirm with all employees daily that none has a common cold or  influenza like illness or symptoms compatible with COVID-19 (new/worsened cough, feverish/chills,  difficulty breathing, runny nose, sore throat, or headache).

Any employees reporting or showing such symptoms must return home, immediately begin self isolation and call 811 for direction. If directed for testing, they will be required to self-isolate until test  results are communicated by Public Health. Employees required to self-isolate will remain on payroll  during the self-isolation period, or until the end of their normal work term if that occurs during the self isolation period.

Employers, supervisors and employees should be aware that those who have come in contact with  someone with COVID-19 will be contacted by Public Health Nursing and must also self-isolate for 14  days. During self-isolation, you must self-monitor and contact 811 if symptoms develop during the 14  days.

2.0 Hand Hygiene 

Hand hygiene is one of two key areas that can help break the chain of COVID-19 transmission (the other  being physical distancing). Good hand hygiene includes increased handwashing, coughing or sneezing  into your arm or a tissue, disposing of tissues immediately and properly, avoiding touching your eyes,  nose or mouth, and washing your hands regularly.

To support this, the employer must provide employees with information about good hand hygiene  practices, and the means to implement those practices. This includes:

∙ explaining the importance of good hand hygiene to all employees at the start of their work term,  and re-enforcing this throughout the work period;

∙ posting signs or notices in appropriate places that illustrate good practices;

∙ displaying good practices while with employees, including diligent hand washing with soap and  water or use of hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol;


∙ having a location on site where employees may wash their hands with soap and water for a  minimum of 20-30 seconds. Wash locations must be checked for supplies and cleaned daily,  and restocked with supplies immediately upon depletion; and

∙ providing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol for use where  washing with soap and water is not possible or practical. In cases where hands are visibly  soiled, wipes should be used to remove dirt before applying sanitizer.

Watershed groups may find the following signs / notices useful: eb.pdf

Hand washing or use of hand sanitizer is most important at the following times:  ∙ before eating or preparing food;

∙ after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose;

∙ before and after contact with a person suspected of being ill;

∙ after touching common surfaces such as taps, light switches or doorknobs;

∙ before and after sharing tools; and

∙ after using the washroom.

All common areas and surfaces must be cleaned at the end of each day or more often as needed.  Examples of common areas and surfaces include washrooms, shared offices, common tables, desks,  light switches, and door handles. Regular household cleaners are effective against COVID-19, following  the instructions on the label.

3.0 Physical Distancing 

Physical distancing is one of two key areas (along with good hand hygiene) that can break the chain of  COVID-19 transmission. Physical distancing of at least 2 meters must be maintained, where possible, at  all times, not just when it is easy or practical to do. This will mean altering usual work practices for  some tasks. Please note the following phased-in restrictions imposed by PEI Public Health, in addition  to physical distancing:

Phase 1 (May 1 – 21): Outdoor gatherings are restricted to no more than five individuals from different  households. Indoor gatherings of people from different households are not allowed.

Phase 2 (May 22 – May 31): Outdoor gatherings are restricted to no more than ten individuals from  different households. Indoor gatherings of no more than five individuals from different households are  allowed.


Phase 3 (June 1 – June 25th): Gatherings of no more than 20 people outdoor and no more than 15  people indoor.

Phase 4 (June 26 – TBD)/New Normal: Organized gatherings coordinated by organizers, businesses,  services or organizations of 50 people with an operational plan detailing methods to mitigate  transmission of disease. Organized gathering operational plans are event specific and not covered by this  guidance document. More information on the development of these plans can be found: guidance#organized

Circuit Breaker (December 7 – 21st): Organized gatherings are restricted to no more than 10  individuals. (Please see Phase 4 guidance regarding classification of organized gathering). Personal  gatherings are not permitted. Meeting via tele-conference or video is advised.

3.1 Common Spaces 

Employers must ensure physical distancing can be maintained in common spaces such as offices,  buildings, breakrooms, etc. This could include measures such as replacing in-person meetings  with virtual meetings; holding necessary in-person meetings outside; staggering start, stop and  break times to minimize employees congregating; restricting office spaces to essential employees  only; limiting the number of employees allowed access to offices or breakrooms at any one time,  etc.

As noted in Section 2.0, all common areas and surfaces must be cleaned at the end of each day or  more often as needed. Examples of common areas and surfaces include washrooms, shared  offices, common tables, desks, light switches, and door handles. Regular household cleaners are  effective against COVID-19, following the instructions on the label.

3.2 Vehicles 

Employees may share a vehicle and every effort should be made to ensure distance between  passengers, including limiting the number of persons in a vehicle when possible.

Without the use of non-medical masks in vehicles, the following protocols are to be followed:  Vehicles with only one row of seating (for example, a pick-up truck with no king cab) may  transport only one person, unless all people in the vehicle are from the same household.  Vehicles with rear seating may transport a maximum of two people. In these cases, the second  employee must be in the rear passenger side seat (ie as far from the driver as possible). Vehicles  with more than two rows of seating may have one person per row, with each row staggered so no  person is directly behind another.

If non-medical masks ARE worn by all employees while traveling, it is possible to transport  increased numbers of employees in a vehicle -as long as physical contact can still be avoided.  Information on non-medical masks and how to use them can be found here:

3 masks-in-the-community

In all cases where there is more than one employee in a vehicle, employees should hand sanitize  before entering and after exiting the vehicle.

As noted in Section 2.0, all common areas and surfaces must be cleaned at the end of each day,  or more often as needed. For vehicles transporting more than one employee, this includes key  contact points such as door handles (inside and out), window buttons, armrests, grab handles,  seat adjusters, and seat belt buckles.

3.3 Field 

Safety is the number one priority of all work, including field work. While working alone  accomplishes physical distancing requirements, employees must not be assigned to complete  higher-risk activities (for example, chainsaw use) alone. Employers must establish a check-in  protocol for employees assigned lower-risk activities alone.

Employees undertaking field work in groups of two or more should maintain physical distance of  at least 2 metres unless it is unsafe to do so. This could include measures such as deploying  smaller work groups, limiting employees to a maximum of two per boat, staggering the pick-up of trees, equipment or other supplies from a central location, etc. A non-medical mask should be  worn in settings when you cannot maintain physical distancing.

Where possible, employees should be assigned tools and equipment, rather than sharing items  among the work group (this would include everything from monitoring equipment to shovels and  brush axes, to pens, insect repellant and sunscreen). Where it is not possible to provide personal  tools or equipment, the shared tools or equipment must be transferred in a way that avoids  contact between employees (not handed directly from one employee to another) and must be  wiped down and cleaned with a disinfecting agent between users. Disinfecting agents include  disposable wipes, a diluted bleach solution (1/3 cup bleach per gallon (3 ¾ litres) of water) or  regular household cleaners which are effective against COVID-19, following the instructions on  the label.

3.4 Shopping for Supplies / Equipment 

Only one employee should be assigned this task at a time. Groups of two or more employees  should not be sent for supplies unless there is a safety need to do so, such as if the item cannot be  safely loaded and unloaded by one person. Even in this case, the employer should determine if  assistance is available at the point of purchase to avoid the need to send more than one employee.

3.5 Non-medical Masks 

Non-medical masks are mandatory in all enclosed public spaces in Prince Edward Island. If your  work area is not open to the public, mask use is encouraged especially when physical distancing


can not be maintained. Information on non-medical masks and how to use them can be found  here: masks-in-the-community

When completing field work, employees should maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres  where possible at all times. In field situations, where physical distancing of 2 metres cannot be  maintained (for example, when completing electrofishing surveys) non-medical masks ARE to  be worn by employees.

3.6 In-person meetings and events  

Where possible, consider meeting through conference call or video-conferencing. If planning an  in-person meeting, follow the gathering size guidance provided by the Office of Public Health.  Up-to-date information regarding allowable number of participants can be found: guidance

When meeting in person or holding community outreach events, the following steps should be  followed:

1) Complete a COVID risk assessment with the person/people you are meeting with. If  the answer to any of the following 4 questions is YES, the person cannot partake in  the meeting.

(a) Do you have any COVID symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose,  shortness of breath, marked fatigue or body aches)? [If the person answers yes, they  should also be advised to call 811 for advice and direction].

(b) Have you had close contact (face-to-face contact within 2 meters (6 feet) with  someone who is ill with any of the above noted symptoms?

(c) Have you, or anyone in your household, travelled outside of the province in the  last 14 days?

(d) Have you, or anyone in your household, been in contact in the last 14 days with a  person under investigation or confirmed to be a case of COVID-19?

2) Maintain a log of the people attending meetings or events that includes name and  contact information. This would be used for the purposes of contact tracing should it be  needed.

When conducting meetings, please continue to follow the advice of sections 2.0 and 3.0 of this  document related to hand washing/sanitizing, maintaining physical distance of 2 metres, cleaning, and non-medical mask usage.