Firm News

COVID-19: Gradual Return-to-Office Plan and Policy

May 29th, 2020

Bernard LLP is committed to the safety of its staff and to the wellbeing of the community we serve.

Our COVID-19 response plan and systems are designed to allow us to provide continuing and essential services to clients as uninterrupted as possible.  Please continue to contact the lawyers in the firm as you normally would.

As governments are now moving toward a measured re-opening, we have commenced a gradual return-to-office program but with some strict rules that must be followed.

A work schedule has been sent to all lawyers and staff setting out work-days when each person may attend in our offices.

Note that attendance in office is not mandatory on the days set out in the schedule.  Staff or lawyers may work remotely during this time if preferred.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions you must not attend in the office:

  1. Are you experiencing any of the following:
    • Severe difficulty breathing (e.g. struggling to breathe or speaking in single words)
    • Severe chest pain
    • Having a very hard time waking up
    • Feeling confused
    • Losing consciousness
  1. Are you experiencing any of the following:
    • Mild to moderate shortness of breath
    • Inability to lie down because of difficulty breathing
    • Chronic health conditions that you are having difficulty managing because of difficulty breathing
  1. Are you experiencing cold, flu or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones?  Symptoms include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite.
  2. Have you travelled to any countries outside Canada (including the United States) within the last 14 days?
  3. Did you provide care or have close contact*with a person with confirmed COVID-19?

* Close contact includes providing care, living with or otherwise having close prolonged contact (within 2 meters) while the person was ill, or contact with infectious bodily fluids (e.g. from a cough or sneeze).

There is a BC Government self-assessment tool and other useful information at:

If in doubt regarding any of these questions, err on the side of caution and work remotely, and call 8-1-1.

We know the answers to these questions can change from time to time, so you must you review these questions before any attendance in the office to make sure nothing has changed to your situation.

Importantly, if you have tested positive for Covid-19 please advise Delane Knight immediately and do not attend in our office.

When in our Granville Street office we require strict social distancing guidelines be followed.  These include:

  • Stay two metres apart from anyone else in the office.  Avoid walking hallways where assistants sit except when necessary.   Do not stand over an assistant’s workstation and talk down at an assistant.  Use the phone as your primary method of communication within the office.
  • Only one person in the kitchen at a time.  Any food containers or anything else you bring to the office, must been cleaned (top/bottom) before being placed in the fridge or elsewhere.  Do not place any bags/items you bring on kitchen counters or the kitchen table.
  • Only one person in a bathroom at a time;
  • Only one person in the photocopy room at a time;
  • No more than 4 people in the main boardroom at a time with the 4 people being at least two metres apart at all times.  No more than two people in the 12th floor boardroom at a time with the two people being at least 2 metres apart at all times.
  • Only one person in a lawyer office at a time.  If there is a need for a closed door meeting do so in the board room on 15 or the boardroom on 12.  Otherwise talk through the doorway of an office.
  • Ensure at all times you are following protocols for hand hygiene and also remember to clean your keys, cellphones, and other personal items you bring to the office.  Clean your work space frequently. This includes keyboards, mouse, phones, door-handles, etc.  Wipes, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies will be available in the office.  If there are shortages or you have a special need/request, please alert Delane.
  • Only two people should enter an elevator at a time from the lobby or from one of our floors.
  • Masks should be worn when you are out of your office or are away from your workstation and you are not able to maintain proper social distancing of 2 meters.  Masks are available upon request.
  • We strongly discourage any visitors (client/lawyer/other) to the office unless absolutely necessary. If required we ask that you obtain advance approval from a managing partner.
  • Ensure your desks are cleaned regularly and cleared of clutter for cleaning purposes.  Similarly, please ensure the floor in your work area is clear of boxes or other clutter that will otherwise prevent the cleaners from properly cleaning/vacuuming the floor in your work area or other space in the office.  Boxes not required should be sent to off-site storage.

If you have any questions please contact Delane Knight, Catherine Hofmann or Peter Swanson.

Filed Under: Announcements