CDC Guidance on Reopening Businesses

 |  CDC Guidelines, Coronavirus, COVID-19

Currently, there are no universal lifting of restrictions, but the CDC is looking forward to 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 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 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 manufacturer’s recommendations concerning any additional hazards.
  • Continue, until further notice, rules regarding social distancing. Specifically, stay 6 feet away from others when you must go into a shared space, frequently wash your hands, and wear face coverings.

This is a brief summary and more information can be found on the CDC’s website. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it expects additional guidance will specify how businesses should keep workstations far apart and advised cafeterias and other gathering places remain closed.
Meanwhile, the CDC has provided a flowchart to aid in reopening decisions.
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. We recommend you contact legal counsel for additional guidance.

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