As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many organizations are thinking about their reopening plan, so they can be ready to start that process when it’s safe to do so. There are many different things that need to be considered as apart of your opening plan. In this blog post, we will share some important factors that your organization should evaluate before you reopen!
One of the biggest questions that has been asked since this pandemic started is “When will we be back to normal?” And unfortunately, no one can answer that question. Organizations that are deemed “life-sustaining” such as hospitals, pharmacies and grocery stores have remained open, but other organizations such as childcare facilities, schools, churches, etc. have closed their doors due to COVID-19.
Before you reopen, consider these factors:
- The guidance from state and local governments – The coronavirus is affecting different regions in different ways. Some areas will be able to safely open before others. Be sure to check with local government to see when your organization has permission to reopen.
- Understand the risk – When the government decides that it is safe to reopen, that doesn’t guarantee that the coronavirus threat will be completely gone. Some organizations have greater exposure than others, so make sure you check the guidelines from OHSA and the CDC to ensure that you have the proper safety measures in place.
Once you get the “Okay” to open:
When your state and local government give you permission to reopen, you can begin to move forward with your reopening plan. This plan should include a number if things from anticipated return to work date for your staff, to employee safety training, and everything in between.
- Anticipated return to work date – Try to give your employees and staff at least a few days’ notice for when they need to be back at work. This allows them some time to arrange childcare and be fully prepared to be back at work. Also, be flexible with your dates! Everyone’s situation is different and it’s important to recognize that.
- Disinfecting and cleaning – You want you staff to feel safe coming back to work. It’s been found that COVID-19 can live on surfaces long after they have been touched, so doing a really good deep clean before employees return is a great way to give them peace of mind! Click here to read some cleaning and disinfecting tips for businesses.
- Social distancing measures – Some states are taking a gradual approach to reopening. This means that when your business can reopen, you still need to be cautious and operate more carefully. Some examples of how to be socially distant in the workplace include: not having more than 10 people gather together, keep employees at least 6 feet apart at all times, make use of virtual meetings if you can, discourage staff from making contact with others such as handshakes.
- Screening – Consider implementing a screening process for employees before they enter your building. This helps identify sick individuals before they expose their coworkers. The EEOC has given employers the right to take their employees’ temperatures before they enter the building. This should be done on a non-discriminatory basis and all information collected during this screening should remain confidential. Also, make sure you notify your staff that you will be conducting this screening.
- Safety training – As your team members return to work, it’s a good idea to go over some “best practices” to keep everyone healthy in the workplace! Items you can train them on include respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene, personal protective equipment (if applicable), and staying home when you are sick.
- Mental health – This pandemic has increased stress levels for people all over the world. Make sure you reopening plan includes considerations for your employee’s mental health concerns.
- Individual requests – Employees will be returning to work dealing with a variety of different circumstances at home. A return to work process that works for one employee may not work for another. Being accommodating to individual needs during this time will be greatly appreciated by your staff!
Your reopening plan isn’t going to come together overnight, so now is the time to start considering the items we went over in this blog post! That way, once you get the “Okay” from your state and local government to reopen, you have your plan ready to go. Remember that he most important thing during your reopening process is the safety of your staff, partners, clients, and customers! Keeping that the priority, will help you through this unique reopening process.
Disclaimer: This information is to be used simply as a guide and should not be taken as legal advice.
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