HALIFAX -- New screening procedures for COVID-19 are in effect this week at the Halifax Shipyard.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is trying to bring more people back to work at the shipyard with the reality of a pandemic hanging overhead.

"We've created some of the safest possible working conditions at the shipyard so we can call our folks back," said Irving Shipbuilding president Kevin McCoy.

Starting this week, anybody entering the Halifax Shipyard and Shelburne Ship Repair will have their temperature checked.

"To allow us to continue our critical work for the navy, and also bring our people back and do the work safely so we could be quite possibly be in this posture for the rest of the year, if so, we want to get ourselves ready for that," McCoy said.

Tammy Gray is Irving Shipbuilding's health and wellness nurse.

"Anything over 38, that is national health guidelines, anything over 38 C," Gray said.

If anybody registers a number higher than that, they'll have their temperature taken again.

"We take it again, if it happens again we will take a third temperature, and if that is again high, we ask them to return home and I will follow up with them there," Gray said."We've had a couple of high temps because they have the heat on in their car, maybe they've ridden into work. It's getting nice out, so we have people who've come in on bikes actually."

McCoy says they've looked at how other companies are managing during the pandemic.

"We've actually done some benchmarking with other shipyards in North America to see how you get large groups of people into the shipyard, what is the best way to engineer the work," McCoy said.

About 650 people are working at the shipyard with another 300 employees working from home.

"That's about half of what we would normally have," McCoy said. "We are going to likely stay in this condition for several weeks. By the end of June, early July, we start ramping up again, but likely in a social distancing extreme cleaning environment."

And, while these new protocols began this week at the shipyard, all JDI Manufacturing locations in Canada and the United States will be checking the temperature of their employees for the foreseeable future.