Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island

COVID-19 Health and Safety Information for Workers

The following provides workplace health and safety information for Island workers during COVID-19. Please check here frequently for updated information.

The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) urges all workers to follow the recommendations of the PEI Chief Public Health Office during the COVID-19 crisis.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms may include:

  • new or worsening cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fever/chills
  • sore throat
  • runny nose, sneezing, congestion
  • headache
  • muscle/joint/body aches
  • felling unwell/unusual tiredness
  • acute loss of sense of smell or taste

Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea have been reported, but typically along with other COVID-19 symptoms, and may be seen more often in children.

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

  • stay home (isolate) to avoid spreading it to others
  • if you live with others, stay in a separate room or keep a 2-metre distance
  • call your family physician or nurse practitioner or go to a drop-in clinic to be tested

As a worker, what can I do to protect myself from getting COVID-19 if I have to go to work?

As a worker, you have responsibilities to protect yourself as well as others. Workers should:

  • Monitor and follow the recommendations of the Chief Public Health Office.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Adopt physical distancing techniques.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
    • Workers providing essential services, including health care, must use the appropriate personal protective equipment and protocols and take steps to minimize exposure to COVID-19 while away from work.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands.
  • Know when to stay home. Workers should follow the Chief Public Health Office recommendations for self- isolation.
  • Comply with the employer’s instructions around minimizing exposure to COVID-19.

Are masks mandatory?

Effective July 9th, it is no longer mandatory for non-medical masks to be worn in public, indoor spaces in PEI. Masking is still encouraged and PEI residents and visitors should consider their own health, vaccination status and the vaccination status of others around them, and their exposure to the public when deciding to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

Masks are recommended in indoor public settings for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated.

  • Masks are optional for children aged 2 to 12.
  • Children under 2 (and other individuals not able to remove masks on their own) should not wear masks.
  • Some people may choose to continue to wear a mask after they're fully vaccinated especially in certain situations (e.g., if they are at risk of severe disease or outcomes, when they don't know the vaccine status of others, ability to maintain physical distancing).
  • Those who serve the public (e.g., restaurant servers, retail and grocery store staff, hair stylists and barbers) should continue to wear a mask, given they are not able to determine the vaccine status of their patrons and customers.
  • Service providers, organizations and businesses do not need to request proof of vaccine from patrons who are not wearing a mask. Businesses and organizations may choose to follow their own policies and guidelines that are more strict than the provincial guidance.
  • Those who are immunocompromised should also continue to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Health care facilities and providers should continue with their masking policies until we have 80% of eligible PEI residents fully vaccinated. For example, for now there will be no changes in the mask requirements for staff, visitors and partners in care in long term care facilities.
  • All Health PEI clinic services (hospitals, clinics, testing centres, vaccination clinics) will continue to require staff, patients and visitors to wear masks until 80% of eligible Islanders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • There are no changes in the mask requirements for staff, visitors and partners in care in long term care facilities at this time.

Wearing a mask in the community is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing. It is an additional measure to protect you and those around you, even if you don’t have symptoms.

As a worker, can I refuse work due to a COVID-19 concern?

When addressing a work refusal related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to recognize that every refusal is assessed based on circumstances specific to the worker and their workplace. A worker can refuse work if a reasonable assessment of the risk suggests there is an immediate or imminent threat to their safety. A pandemic alone is not enough reason to refuse work. Further information on Refusal to Work can be found here.