When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the Fort Site established a working group that developed a graduated pandemic response plan and business continuity plans. The first protocols and actions taken were to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our employees, contractors and communities where we operate.
Early on, the Fort Site prioritized moving over 200 team members to remote working and reduced on-site staff to minimal levels. Additional measures were implemented, such as physical distancing, increased contract cleaning and sanitization of offices and common areas, and requiring the use of non-medical masks and face shields.
Additionally, the Fort Site provided a Pre-Access Site Screening (PASS) trailer to screen visitors, contractors and employees before entering the site. The PASS trailer also served as a reminder to everyone on site of the need to come to work healthy. This initiative was set up internally using our Health Services and Security groups.
The Fort Site also decided to reschedule maintenance activities to reduce the number of personnel on site. Due to the measures and protocols implemented, no COVID-19 cases were recorded on site or spread on site during the March shutdown. Overall, a total of 14 employees (both on site and working from home) contracted COVID-19 during 2020; all employees have recovered.
An external public health audit was conducted at the Fort Site. An initial focus on the showers, change rooms, and control rooms later expanded to a thorough review of all facilities with a focus on signage, seating arrangements, barriers and access to sanitization products, among other items.
A unique initiative that was conducted at the Fort Site was the purchase of hand sanitizer from a local distillery during the early stages of the pandemic. Although lack of availability of commercial products was the primary driver for seeking alternative solutions, the Fort Site chose to buy from the distillery to support a local business. The distillery was able to keep producing its products when many other businesses were forced to shut down.