Using Barriers to Beat COVID-19 in the Coming Year

Using Barriers to Beat COVID-19 in the Coming Year

If you’re like us, you’re probably long past ready for COVID-19 to disappear for good. However, to get rid of COVID-19 in the coming year, we have to come together in the new year to buckle down on restrictions and safety precautions. The first step to doing that is to invest in barriers. Here’s how Varsity Tents can help.

Barriers and Masks Combined

Barriers are one of the best ways to keep COVID-19 from spreading. However, the one thing that beats barrier usage is mask usage. After all, masks are just barriers for your face. Combined, these two types of barriers are absolutely necessary for creating a safe workplace environment.

Diligent mask usage when indoors prevents infected air from being exhaled into the shared space. In fact, mask usage reduces infection rate by over 70%. Introducing environmental barriers, like tents, reduces infection rate even more. If someone who is unknowingly infected with COVID-19 goes to work, that 30% chance of spreading it through their mask drops significantly when their work space is sectioned off from that of their coworkers.

Separating Groups

In large workplaces where employees work in groups, keeping each group of people separated from the others lowers the chance of infection. If someone who is unknowingly infected comes in to work, if they somehow manage to spread infected air, that infected air will only be breathable by those in their little work bubble, meaning only a few coworkers catch COVID-19 instead of all or most coworkers.

This strategy is useful in large work environments such as factories, other types of manufacturing plants, organizations that involve group activities like sorting, inventory, and boxing, etc.

Isolating Contaminated Items

While people can spread COVID-19 through breathing space, it’s also possible to contract it through contact with contaminated items. Items are at their highest risk of contamination when reaching their shipment destination. Shipments are loaded by many different people, are touched by border officials, and make contact with people at weigh stations. You have no way of knowing how many of those people were infected with COVID.

Therefore, to be safe, it’s best to quarantine new shipments in a large tent space for 5 days before unloading and stocking shelves. This will give any COVID-19 time to die off, making contact with it harmless.

Outdoor Lunch Spaces

Finally, the most risky part of working in shared spaces right now: lunchtime. Eating requires you to remove your mask. The only safe way to eat at work is to do so outdoors. However – especially at this time of year – being outdoors means high risk of getting rained on or ending up shivering from wind chill.

To beat COVID-19 in the coming year, we need to create safe outdoor lunch spaces by putting up tents. These lunch room tent spaces can have flaps opened between lunch periods. This will allow all air to be replaced with fresh. A breeze can blow through and clear away any infected air. When lunch time comes around, the flaps can be put down to block people from wind chill and the cover can keep out rain and snow. When the weather heats up again, this also provides a shaded lunch area safe from sun.

Turning Your Holiday Spirit into a Donation Gift Drive

Turning Your Holiday Spirit into a Donation Gift Drive

The holidays are upon us, meaning a boost in our charitable spirits. Every year, a number of groups and charities put together donation gift drives. These gift drives help to provide holiday gifts, as well as everyday necessities, to children and families in need. However, this year comes with some unique challenges. Like last year, this year comes with more social distancing needs than we’re used to. Here’s how Varsity Tents can help provide coverage for a donation gift drive as well as improve COVID-19 safety.

Staying Out of the Snow

When the holiday season arrives, so does the snow. Even if things haven’t turned white just yet, the air is frigid and inhospitable. Therefore, if you’re going to stand outside to collect donations, it’s best to do so from somewhere you can make comfortable.

For large donation gift drive events with many volunteers, setting up a tent can help a lot. Volunteers can take turns outside the tent with the donation bin, while others organize things inside. If your donation gift drive offers raffle tickets, those who want to buy tickets can step into the comfort of the heated tent instead of standing around in the cold. Many donation gift drives also offer hot chocolate to bring attention to their cause. Serving warm drinks from inside a tent is much easier than doing so with thick gloves on in the snow.

A Safe Place to Collect Gifts

Because winter brings snow and/or rain, taking gift donations outside can be a disaster without coverage. While bigger organizations may be able to set up drop-off bins all over the province, smaller drives may not have the resources.

If your donation gift drive relies on volunteers accepting donations in person, having somewhere to store those gifts is a must. A small tent with some storage bins in it or a small trailer connected to it is a great way to accept and store donations until the equipment is taken down for the night. This keeps donations dry and safe from the elements.

Item Quarantine

Because of the prevalence of COVID-19 this year, we have to take a more cautious approach to taking and distributing donations. Because we can’t be positive that donations haven’t been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19, all donations should be quarantined for a week before they’re distributed to recipients.

To properly quarantine items, they should be put somewhere, protected by barriers, and left completely alone for 5-7 days. A tent makes for a great, temporary quarantine zone. Even if you have a base of operations in an actual building, setting up a tent inside the building will provide the necessary barriers for quarantining your donations.

Gift Drive HQ and Organization

Not all organizations doing gift drives have a full building as their base of operations. If your organization is only active during the holiday season, setting up a sturdy HQ for that time is necessary.

With one or more of Varsity Tents’ large tents, you can set up a temporary HQ for your organization. These spacious tents are big enough to have multiple areas set up for operation. Dividing barriers or smaller tents can be added to the mix to split up the large tent into smaller spaces. This makes for a COVID-safe work space for volunteers and organization members. This design allows you to have separate spaces for donations, administrative work, food or drink preparation, lunch spaces, and, if your HQ is where you accept donations, another space for patrons. 

Many homeless shelters only allow entrance during the night. Consider renting multiple large tents. With those, you may have enough space to host a live raffle or offer temporary, daytime shelter to those without homes. This season is incredibly hard for those who have no warm home to return to. Let’s work together and do our part to improve safety and comfort for them over the holidays.

Preparing for COVID-19 Workplace Safety During Winter

Preparing for COVID-19 Workplace Safety During Winter

COVID-19 workplace safety is straightforward and easy to achieve… when it’s warm outside. Because much of COVID-19 workplace safety involves taking tasks outdoors or leaving windows open for airflow, the temperature dropping kind of puts a wrench in things. So, how do we prepare for workplace safety when it’s cold or snowing out?

HEPA Air Purifiers

The first step is considering the installation of HEPA air purifiers. HEPA filters can filter out airborne viruses. While this won’t remove the risk of catching COVID-19 entirely, it can make a significant drop in chances for spread.

Installing HEPA air purifiers in any workplace is a great idea right now, but especially in work environments with other air pollutants. Do you own a factory, construction shop, or any other manufacturing facility where particles are in the air? If so, your employees can only benefit from an air purifier. They’ll be useful even after COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

Isolated Work Areas

Next up, consider isolated work areas. While these are good year round, they’re extra necessary without the ability to leave windows open all day. Using tents to cordon off indoor work spaces is a great way to cut down on spread risk. If an employee is unknowingly infected, they’re unlikely to spread COVID-19 to peers if they’re all working in separate areas, separated by barriers. Infected particulates breathed into the air will have nowhere to go.

Consistent Mask Usage

Even easier than putting up barriers – enforce employee mask usage. Consistent and effective mask usage means:

  • Wearing a mask at all times when indoors.
  • Not touching your mask throughout the day.
  • Keeping your mask over both mouth and nose. They’re ineffective if left below the nose.
  • Keeping your mouth off your mask. While chewing or biting the seam of a mask is more common in children and teens, it’s important for anyone, regardless of age, to refrain from fidgeting with it with their mouth. Any infected particulates that were filtered out through the mask can enter your body through your mouth, completely negating the use of the mask.
  • Using masks that filter air. If you can blow out a candle through whatever is covering your face, it is not filtering air effectively. If you want to ensure employees are using appropriate masks, make a list of guidelines they must follow or offer cheap surgical masks for them to put on when arriving at work.

Regular Hand Washing

It’s easy to become more lax about hand washing after over a year of dealing with COVID-19. The immediate urgency of hand hygiene has long-since left most of us. However, continuing to wash your hands is more important than ever. Not only do we need to do so to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between work areas, our immune systems are also less effective at holding off common colds than before the coronavirus. Prevent the spread of germs by washing your hands before and after you eat, before and after starting work, and every time you use the restroom.

Sanitizing Work Areas

Finally, ensure work areas are sanitized with 70% isopropyl alcohol at least twice a day, at the beginning and end of the work day. Ideally, areas should be sanitized throughout the work day as well. This is especially necessary if working anywhere with the public, such as customer service jobs.

Top 5 Safety Precautions for Returning to Work after COVID-19

Top 5 Safety Precautions for Returning to Work after COVID-19

With people returning from remote work, safety precautions are paramount. While working in-facility comes with a lot of perks, we can’t count safety from virus spread among them. Therefore, taking the necessary steps to keep employees safe should be every company’s first priority. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Varsity Tents is here to assist with providing barriers. However, we also have a lot of knowledge on antiviral safety, due to our continued work with the public. Here are the 5 safety precautions for returning to work after COVID-19 that we want to share with you.

1. Continue Washing Your Hands

After two years of COVID-19, many people have gone lax on washing their hands. In the first months, we were all scared of the unknown. We washed our hands while out of the house, when we came back to the house, and throughout the day as well. However, as months have turned into years, many have become less concerned with hand washing.

Ensure employees are washing their hands at least every 30 minutes if they’re working with customers. This measure can prevent transfer of COVID-19 through touching one’s face.

2. Enforce Mask-Wearing from Staff and Clients

Mask mandates are frequently ignored and, in some places, are optional for those who have been vaccinated. For optimal safety, enforce mask-wearing from staff and clients regardless of vaccination status. No one is harmed by wearing a mask, so they can only help. Plus, it’s not uncommon for anti-mask customers and clients to claim vaccinated status just to get out of wearing a mask.

3. Prevent Spreading Through Air

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of an airborne virus like COVID-19 is to keep the air flowing. Keep open windows when the weather isn’t too extreme. This will allow fresh air to blow through and replace any air that might contain the virus.

If the weather doesn’t permit, or your place of work has no large windows, the best way to prevent the spread is with barriers. Using tents to isolate static work spaces is one of the best preventative measures you can use. Any job that’s done from one spot can be isolated with a tent, containing any infected air breathed out by a worker.

4. Wipe Down Surfaces

While it’s been discovered that COVID-19 is spread more through aerosolized breath, it isn’t impossible for it to spread through touch. Continue to wipe down any surfaces that are frequently touched with 70% isopropyl alcohol. This includes buttons on card readers, pens, keyboards, desks, counters, and more. 

5. Stay Vigilant About Symptoms, Testing, and Vaccination

If your place of work is crowded or has less than ideal quarters for putting up barriers, stay vigilant. In a space like this, every employee should be vaccinated before returning to work. If an employee is delayed in getting vaccinated or is medically unable to, they should be regularly tested to ensure they’re not infected. If even one employee gets infected, they put everyone else in the workplace at risk. By the time symptoms start appearing, the entire workforce could be infected. When returning to work after COVID-19, if you notice any symptoms in an employee, send them home until they can be tested. Even if they don’t have COVID-19, you’re better safe than sorry.

Take Work Outside with Help from Varsity Tents

Take Work Outside with Help from Varsity Tents

Keeping COVID-19 at bay has taken a lot of dedication from people of all walks of life. It’s been especially hard on those who need to work for a living. While many jobs can be made remote, there are many that require in-person labor. For those jobs to remain safe, a fantastic solution is to take work outside. We at Varsity Tents can help with that. Here’s how taking work outside can improve safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Allow Air Flow in Work Areas

What many people don’t know is that air flow is one of the strongest protections against the spread of COVID-19. The virus is spread through aerosolized droplets. That means, when someone who’s carrying COVID breathes, they’re ejecting tons of infected particles into the air around them. Masks prevent most of these droplets from getting out into the open air, but there are always some that escape. This is especially true when someone is doing heavy labor that increases breathing. Therefore, it’s best to take every precaution.

When you take work outside, you ensure any infected particles are blown away with the slightest breeze. This constantly refreshes the air in the work area. Even if you can’t take a specific job outdoors, keeping all windows open during working hours will allow infected air to be replaced with fresh.

Protect Equipment from the Elements

If a job requires equipment, taking that equipment outdoors comes with challenges. Lightweight equipment may be stored when work hours are over. However, heavy equipment may need to be left outside until outdoor work is no longer necessary.

Tenting can provide cover for equipment, keeping it free of rain or unnecessary heat from the sun. That makes it easy to store machinery, tools, and other such equipment outdoors, so long as no extreme weather events come to town.

Provide Comfort to Displaced Employees

Employees that have their work station moved outdoors will need protection as well. Standing for 8-12 hours of the day is taxing enough – doing so in direct sunlight when you’re not used to working outdoors would be brutal. Tenting provides safe cover for employees to escape the sun and stay dry when it’s raining.

For large tents, we also offer air conditioning and heating units for rent. Hard work is always much easier when you’re not overheating. While air conditioning is more effective for cooling, we do recommend that, when heat is not at dangerous levels, fans are used instead. Air conditioning requires a space to be closed off to work effectively. To ensure a breeze is able to pass through the work area, it’s better for tent flaps to be held open during work hours. Therefore, fans will allow cool air to flow through the space while still supporting COVID-19 airflow safety conditions.

Isolate Work Areas

Additionally, if you have many different types of work at your facility, you can isolate work areas. Teams that use different tools and equipment can be put into separate tent spaces. Even with tent flaps open, a barrier on one side vastly reduces the likelihood of infected air reaching another work unit.

Give us a call if you have questions about our rentals or how to acquire one. We’re doing everything we can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we hope we can extend that help your way.

Contact Us

Varsity Tents Inc.
Downsview Park
40 Carl Hall Rd.
Box # 5 Toronto, ON
M3K 2C1
TEL: (416) 410-7370
FAX: (416) 630-8514
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Varsity Tents: Whatever your event… We’ve got you covered!

Every event, whether it’s an intimate backyard barbecue, an elegant wedding, a corporate function or an outdoor festival, is brought to life by hard-working people who are responsible for the success of that event. These people are, if only for one day, event planners, and we treat their events just as we do those of professional planners: the stakes are high and reputations are on the line. Click here to read the rest of our manifesto and learn about our seven guiding principles.