WINNIPEG -- A new online course is aiming to reduce COVID-19 related conflicts between businesses and their customers.

Launched by the Manitoba Tourism and Education Council, the one-hour course is for frontline employees and managers tasked with educating customers on current health orders like mask-wearing and physical distancing.

“It’s empowering your staff to know what to do, how to deal with it, and to do it professionally,” said Shannon Fontaine, CEO of the Manitoba Tourism and Education Council.

Fontaine said the course is a comprehensive training program that includes different scenarios participants must work through.

“It’s how to diffuse situations, how to read the person, speak to them, explain why they should be wearing a mask,” Fontaine said.

Despite many businesses having to close their doors due health orders, others are still getting fined.

Fontaine said it’s all about keeping a business and its customers safe, while being compliant with health orders.

“Your business could get a $5,000 fine. That’s a really good incentive to make sure your staff are trained,” Fontaine said.

The course is free for businesses in the hospitality and retail sector and discounted to many others. To register, businesses must contact the council, register as an employer, and will be given access codes.

“This knowledge will carry with them far beyond COVID-19,” Fontaine said.