CDC Gives Guidance for Reopening Businesses
No, there is no universal lifting of restrictions, but the CDC is looking forward to a time when businesses can slowly start reopening. As the CDC explains: “It’s important to continue to follow federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local guidance for reopening America.” Its extensive guidance includes the need to develop a reopening plan:
- If your workplace, school, or business has been unoccupied for 7 days or more, it will only need your normal routine cleaning to reopen the area. This is because the virus that causes COVID-19 has not been shown to survive on surfaces longer than this time.
- Some surfaces only need to be cleaned with soap and water. For example, surfaces and objects that are not frequently touched should be cleaned and do not require additional disinfection.
- For items that do need to be cleaned, consult EPA’s list of approved products for use against COVID-19. This list will help you determine the most appropriate disinfectant for the surface or object. You can use diluted household bleach solutions if appropriate for the surface. Pay special attention to the personal protective equipment (PPE) that may be needed to safely apply the disinfectant and the manufacturer’s recommendations concerning any additional hazards.
- Continue, until further notice, rules regarding social distancing (specifically, staying 6 feet away from others when you must go into a shared space), frequent hand washing, and face coverings.
This is just a brief summary; visit the CDC site for further important details. Indeed, the Society for Human Resource Management said that it expects additional guidance that would specify how businesses should keep workstations far apart and advise that cafeterias and other gathering places remain closed.
Meanwhile, the CDC has provided a flowchart to aid in reopening decisions.
The SHRM has also listed six topics that businesses need to cover with their employees before reopening:
- Do I have to come in?
- How will you keep me safe?
- Does the company have the right to ask about my health history and take my temperature?
- Will everyone wear a mask Do I have to wear one?
- What happens if I get sick? Will I get paid for time off? What if someone in my family gets sick and I have to care for him or her?
- What if a co-worker gets sick? How will I know? Will you do tracing?
Companies should be prepared to answer these questions, which may have important legal implications.
Need HR help on reopening? Do you need assistance with updating your Employee Handbook with new COVID related policies? Our ProActive HR Consultant can review your Handbook to review your level of compliance and can build you temporary policies to manage COVID-19 related issues in the workplace (Travel, Face Coverings, Emergency Closure, Remote Work Policy, etc.).