Has issued a significant amount of guidance on how businesses and employers should respond to the pandemic. Recently, the CDC issued guidance to assist employers in making decisions regarding reopening their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key takeaways from the CDC guidelines are as follows:
Employers should consider three key questions when determining whether to reopen. The CDC recommends employers only consider reopening if they can answer, “yes” to each of the following:
- Are you in a community no longer requiring significant mitigation?
- Will you be able to limit non-essential employees to those from the local geographic area?
- Do you have protective measures for employees at higher risk (e.g. teleworking, tasks that minimize contact)?
Once an employer confirms that it satisfies these three preliminary questions, the employer should consider certain safety actions, including:
- Promoting healthy hygiene practices;
- Intensifying cleaning and disinfection;
- Canceling non-essential travel and encouraging alternative commuting and telework
- Spacing out seating (more than six feet) and staggering gathering times;
- Restricting the use of any shared items and spaces; and Training staff on the above safety actions.
Next, employers should consider implanting safeguards to assist the continued monitoring of employees, including:
Encouraging workers who are sick to stay home (see our previous post on what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19);
- Establishing a routine;
- Daily employee health checks;
- Monitoring absenteeism and having a flexible time of policies;
- Having an action plan if a staff member gets COVID-19;
- Creating and testing emergency communication channels for employees; and
- Establishing communication with state, and local health authorities.
The final step before reopening involves preparing the physical workspace for the reentry of workers, vendors, customers, and visitors. This step is addressed in the CDC’s guidance regarding cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, schools, and businesses (discussed further below). Once employers’ doors are open again, the CDC recommends routine cleaning and disinfectant procedures, along with continuous monitoring of COVID-19 in the area to ensure that businesses are prepared for the potential of additional closures if another outbreak occurs.