The City of Langford will be instating a new bylaw calling for mandatory measures at local businesses to decrease the chance of exposure to COVID-19. While the bylaw is not set to be adopted until April 20, city officials are asking businesses to begin complying voluntarily beforehand.
While it won’t be mandatory, staff at all businesses are also being asked to wear non-medical-grade face masks and face shields, especially those who handle and process food and groceries. The City of Langford will supply masks and face shields to businesses at cost.
“We’re just ramping it up a little faster because we can, now that we’ve been told masks can help,” explained Langford Mayor Stew Young. “We’ve order 40,000 non-medical grade masks and 6,000 face shields, so we’ve given them to our people to distribute to businesses at cost, which is around $1.50 per mask.”
All medical-grade masks have already been donated to hospitals, as have 10,000 of the non-medical grade ones in case staff run out, Young said.
As of April 20, the following will be requirements: store entrances and checkout lineups are to be marked with tape or cones spaced in two-metre increments; additionally, arrow floor markings in aisles should indicate which direction people are to travel to encourage physical distancing.
Plexiglass or plastic barriers are to be installed at all checkouts to separate cashiers and customers, and where there are multiple checkouts, a distance of at least two metres must separate the customer at one checkout and the cashier at the nearest checkout.
Signage must be posted indicating the maximum number of customers allowed in a business at a time, with a limit of one person per 16 square meters.
Customers are also prohibited from using reusable bags, boxes or containers, and bulk items must be handled appropriately.
“We’re a younger community, we’re younger families who could be carriers and affect grandparents,” Young said. “It’s a proactive approach to keep everyone healthy.”
Young added that since becoming the Mayor of Langford 28 years ago he’s never been so concerned for his community.
“I can’t sleep at night unless I know we’re doing everything we can to keep Langford residents safe.”
Business owners who fail to comply with these measurements as of April 20 are eligible to be fined up to $500 per infraction.
To help support businesses with these bylaw changes, the City of Langford has ordered a supply of floor decals including one-way arrows and physical distancing markers that will be made available at no cost.
The City can also direct businesses to an installer of Plexiglass shields, if necessary.
Businesses with feedback on these measures are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org by April 20.