Steps to Reopening Your Workplace

April 21 - Posted at 2:40 PM Tagged: , , ,
Yesterday, the CDC released guidance for assisting employers in making decisions to reopen (or reopen for high risk employees) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides continuing to follow recommendations issued by the state and local health departments, you can consider these 5 steps: 

  1. Preliminary Questions Before Reopening

According to the CDC guidance, you should consider three questions when deciding whether to reopen:

  • 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)?

CDC states you should only consider reopening if you can answer “yes” to all three questions.

  1. Take Recommended Safety Actions

Once you feel comfortable that your organization can satisfy the three preliminary questions, you should next adopt the CDC’s recommended safety actions. They include:

  • Promoting healthy hygiene practices;
  • Intensifying cleaning, disinfection
  • Practice Social Distancing (e.g., small static groups, no large events);
  • Canceling non-essential travel, and encouraging alternative commuting and telework;
  • Spacing out seating (more than six feet) and staggering gathering times;
  • Restricting use of any shared items (phones, tools, etc) and spaces; and
  • Training all staff in the above safety actions
  1. Implement Safeguards for Ongoing Monitoring Of Employees

Next, before reopening, you should implement safeguards for the ongoing monitoring of employees. They include:

  • Encouraging employees who are sick to stay home;
  • Establishing routine, daily employee health checks;
  • Monitoring absenteeism and having flexible time off policies;
  • Having an action plan if a staff member gets COVID-19; (we’ll have a blast next week to address this)
  • Creating and testing emergency communication channels for employees; and
  • Establishing communication with state and local health authorities.
  1. Prepare Your Physical Workspace For Reopening

The final step before you reopen your doors involves preparing your location for the reentry of workers, customers, guests, and other visitors. The CDC has released guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. Review this guidance when implementing cleaning procedures at your facilities after shelter-in-place orders are lifted. 

  1. Maintain Vigilance
Your work is not done once you open your doors and welcome back your workers. The CDC recommends that you maintain routine cleaning and disinfection procedures after reopening to reduce the potential for exposure.
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