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  • Writer's pictureRachelle Smerhy

How to Automate Your COVID-19 Workplace Screening

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Ontario, Premier Ford has confirmed we are in the second wave of the virus. The government has responded to wave two with a new rule for Ontario businesses.

The new regulation requires workplaces to screen employees and essential visitors for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Screening Tools for Workplaces sets out 3 questions you must ask to determine risk of exposure. Anyone responding with a yes answer to any of the questions must NOT enter the workplace.

Many businesses already had measures in place to screen workers and/or visitors. But while it was part of the recommended COVID-19 preventative steps, it was not required.

As of September 28th 2020, the new regulations are mandatory all across Ontario.

Who You Must Screen


  • All workers, both full and part-time.

  • Students and/or interns.

  • Contractors.

  • Volunteers.

In short, anyone who carries out business-related activities in the workplace. Essential Visitors:

  • Delivery service workers.

  • Maintenance providers.

  • Contract workers.

Any visitors to the premises who provide a service to the business but are not staff or patrons.

Who You May Exclude from Screening:

  • Customers.

  • Patients.

  • Emergency service workers/first responders.

Anyone entering the premises for emergencies is not required for screening.

Note: Although businesses are not required to screen patients or customers, you may do so. Asking customers to answer the screening questions can help keep your staff safe.

Required Screening Questions

The required screening questions are:

1. Do you have any of the following new or worsening symptoms or signs? Symptoms should not be chronic or related to other known causes or conditions.

  • Fever or chills

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Cough

  • Sore throat, trouble swallowing

  • Runny nose/stuffy nose or nasal congestion

  • Decrease or loss of smell or taste

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain

  • Not feeling well, extreme tiredness, sore muscles

2. Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?

3. Have you had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19?

Anyone answering 'yes' to any of the screening questions must NOT enter the workplace. This applies to all workplaces, including those that are either fully or partially outdoors.

As a business owner or manager, you should tell anyone who responds with a 'yes' answer to go home and self isolate. Advise them to contact their healthcare provider or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) for further guidance.

How to Automate Your Screening

There is no required format for conducting the screening. Workplaces are free to choose a format that works best for their structure and daily routine.

Yet while you can opt to screen employees at the door, automating the process is more efficient for everyone.

So what's a quick and convenient way to get set up?

You can send out a recurring email that links to a simple Google form. Employees can receive the email, click the link to the form and fill out their information.

That way you've got everything in one place, and set up is fast and easy.

Step One: Recurring Emails

Setting up recurring emails is super simple; it's a beautiful solution that's quick and easy. Scheduling recurring emails means no manual sending and no fuss; just set it up and go.

A couple of options we like for recurring emails are Mail Boss and Boomerang.

Both are reliable, low-to-no cost solutions that let you schedule emails fast.

Mail Boss is a free Chrome plugin that allows you to send scheduled emails from any email client.

And best of all, it's free.

Boomerang lets you schedule recurring emails in Gmail and gives you lots of control over the process. It can also remind you about people you haven't heard back from.

Boomerang also has a free plan, which includes 10 message credits per month, which will not be enough to cover all your employee emails. Chances are you'll need to go paid, which gives you unlimited messages.

But the good news is that they have a great $5/month tier.

Google Forms

Linking to your screening questions in Google Forms makes answering convenient for everyone. It also makes it easy to access and view your responses.

How do you do it?

A simple form with 4 fields is perfect; we suggest setting up your form as follows:

Field 1: Full Employee Name Fields 2-4: Screening questions set to 'Yes' or 'No' answers.

Once your employees receive their pre-shift email, they can access the questions and complete their answers within minutes.

Note: It's important to remember to include your employees' names as a text field so you know who is responding.

And as always, remember to check in often to be sure you're up on new requirements for COVID-19. You are responsible for understanding and adhering to COVID-19 precautions in order to keep your staff and your patients safe.

If you're in Ontario, you can stay on top of that here.

For pharmacies outside of Ontario, remember to check your provincial government's website to ensure you're staying current with regulations.

Have questions or comments? We'd love to hear them!


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