24 Mar Reopening Guide For Business Owners During Covid-19
Although states and localities largely govern how and when businesses may reopen, there are a number of practices you can adopt to facilitate a safe and practical reopening. CMDLA, an on-site medical services provider, has compiled these tips for reopening businesses safely during Covid-19 in the “New Normal.”
Reopening businesses safely: best recommended practices
Below are some highlights of recommendations from various regulatory entities designed to make workplaces a safe environment.
Understand the spread
Educate yourself and your staff about Covid-19 symptoms and how it is transmitted from person to person. Make sure staff understands that Covid-19 can be spread even if someone is not showing symptoms, and actively encourage them to self-report symptoms or exposure to someone with a confirmed case and stay home.
Anyone with symptoms or known exposure to Covid-19 should stay home at least 14 days before returning to the workplace. Symptoms include:
- Body and muscle aches, fatigue, or shortness of breath
- Cough, sore throat, runny nose, or congestion
- Loss of taste, loss of smell, or headaches
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Be prepared with a plan
One of the most important (and ultimately cost-saving) steps you can take is to develop an infectious disease preparation and response plan. Basically this means creating standard procedures surrounding all Covid-related issues. A solid plan should consider the following:
- Understand where the highest risks of exposure to Covid-19 are for your employees, especially when they may be in contact with those who have a higher risk of infection (ie healthcare, hospitality, and essential workers)
- Be aware of any staff at high risk of severe illness (including those who are pregnant, of advanced age, or have preexisting conditions) and make accommodations to offset those risks
- Develop a plan to keep business running in the event of an outbreak, and proactively promote generous leave policies surrounding self-isolation. Ensuring your policies are not punitive towards those who are sick is a vital part of preventing the spread of Covid-19 among your employees
- Enhanced and frequent sanitation, especially in areas with high risk of exposure
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, and additional sanitation and hygiene supplies to personnel and patrons
- Identify where disruptions may be caused in your supply chain and create contingency plans to follow in the event this occurs.
Increase ventilation in the workplace
Increased ventilation lessens the risk of transmission from person to person in indoor areas. Outdoor seating is an obvious way to accomplish this should you have the ability. You should take steps to make sure your ventilation system is up to date and operating properly, using MERV-13 air filtration systems when possible.
Disable demand-controlled ventilation, and run your HVAC for 2 hours before and after working hours at maximum capacity to further reduce risk. When using fans, make sure they don’t blow air onto any person – point them toward open windows when possible.
Encourage mask wearing and social distancing
Masks prevent the respiratory droplets containing the virus from becoming airborne or being inhaled through the mouth and nasal passages. This makes them a powerful tool in stopping the spread of Covid-19 in your workplace when paired with social distancing.
A properly worn mask must cover both nose and mouth to fully prevent respiratory droplets from being inhaled.
Test employees regularly to prevent outbreaks
Routinely testing staff for Covid-19 is a tool many employers are incorporating into their infectious disease preparation and response plans. Testing allows you to identify employees who have the virus before they develop symptoms (if ever) and isolate them from the rest of your employees to prevent an outbreak.
The most convenient way to do this is using an on-site medical service provider like CMDLA, as they provide all supplies, a nurse to administer tests to all personnel, and support and advice for you as an owner and any employee who tests positive. It should be noted that only medical professionals have access to the rapid antigen test, which provides results in 15 minutes. PCR swab testing is also available depending on your needs.
While federal guidelines enforce the minimum restrictions states must follow for reopening businesses safely, states have established their own guidance and practices, some of which we’ve highlighted below. Covid-related federal legislation, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, authorized governors to make various adjustments in funding, regulation, and resource allocation to help fight the pandemic, among other effects.
As of 2/23/21, 47 counties are in the most restricted reopening tier, including Los Angeles. A number of factors play into when restrictions may be downgraded, varying based on business type, the number of cases reported, and more.
Currently, businesses considered high risk (like those involving indoor seating or services) are not permitted to open. More information regarding California’s reopening strategy and status updates can be found here.
Florida remains at its least restrictive phase, allowing most businesses in the state to remain open. Some liquor sales are restricted. Indoor dining is capped at 50% capacity, and all businesses must abide by social distancing guidelines.
For further details on Florida’s recovery plan, visit Florida’s Covid-19 Response website.
New York remains in the 4th and least restrictive phase of its recovery plan, however it should be noted this includes zoned restrictions in localities with high Covid-19 positivity rates for high risk businesses.
Visit this website for more information on New York’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Choose Concierge MD for Your Employee Testing Needs
Concierge MD can help take the hassle out of employee testing. Our expert nurses will arrive at your worksite fully equipped to set up a testing station at your workplace and test your employees. Should anyone test positive, our experts are here with the advice you need to protect the rest of your staff and get operations back on track.
With our services, you can demonstrate to employees and customers that you are fully dedicated to everyone’s safety. Contact us to find out more today!