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Reopening After COVID-19: Is Your Business Ready?

September 10, 2020 | By Ken Wetzel

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These days, many companies are doing their best to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers from the consequences of COVID-19. And let’s face it – this is a fight. During the pandemic, America’s businesses have taken a beating, and every time it seems the country is turning the corner, reopening after COVID-19 changes the story.

How will the business landscape change? No one is certain. But moving forward, each business must adapt to the consequences of COVID-19 while preparing for a time when they can reopen offices and welcome employees (and customers) back. That’s why it’s a good move to prepare a solid back-to-work strategy. These steps, based upon recommendations by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), will help your business ramp up for reopening after COVID-19.

Know the Law

When reopening after COVID-19, businesses must ensure that every possible step is taken to keep the employees and the public safe. To that end, every company must be fully compliant with state and local mandates that discuss not only reopening a business but what to do should new cases be identified in the workplace. Keep in mind: local health officers may have further guidelines, so it’s essential to be aware of those.

Build a Checklist

Before opening your doors, it’s crucial to have a plan in place that addresses the challenges of a COVID-19 world. Consider these steps as a good starting point:

  • Perform a risk assessment
  • Create a site-specific COVID-19 prevention plan
  • Educate employees on the correct way to limit the spread of the coronavirus
  • Put screenings and individual control measures and disinfectant protocols in place
  • Establish and communicate physical distance guidelines
  • Ensure face cover requirements

Again, mandates can change by industry and state, so make sure to follow the appropriate guidelines.

Prepare for an On-Site Case of COVID-19

Being proactive is critical to ensure a single case of the coronavirus doesn’t lead to an outbreak. Local Health Services (LHD) can assist and help coordinate a response that’s appropriate to the workplace. Still, in the meantime, employers in California should be prepared to take the following steps:

  • Ensure each employee knows what to do should they show symptoms
  • Immediately reach out to the LHD
  • Abide by reporting requirements for Cal/OSHA
  • Begin workplace testing and contact tracing
  • Review “close contact” and worker confidentiality with employees
  • Clean and disinfect workspaces
  • Evaluate return-to-work plans – when is returning safe/appropriate
  • Review the workplace plan to avoid additional outbreaks

Understand Reporting and Sick Leave Requirements

If a COVID-19 case is work-related, make sure everyone understands the criteria for reporting it and how it impacts sick leave. Again, the LHD has specific guidelines for isolation and quarantine, as well as when it’s appropriate for the employee to return to work. Also, some employees may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, but again this is dependent upon state and local guidelines.

No one really knows when we’ll be past the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s never too early to prepare customers and employees for an eventual back-to-work scenario. For more information on reopening after COVID-19, check out Accurate’s dedicated COVID-19 resource center that provides tools, guidance, and resources for hiring and thriving.

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