As the country moves forward with reopening various businesses and easing restrictions on gatherings of all types, it is important to remember that the COVID-19 virus is still a very real threat. Employers have a very real responsibility to minimize the risks that their employees are exposed to when they return to the workplace.
The specific requirements that a given employer will have to follow will depend largely on the state and local guidelines that have been issued in their area. In some places where there are a higher number of people had the virus, the restrictions will remain stricter for a longer time than in places where the numbers remained low the entire time.
General Guidelines for the Workplace
- Social Distancing – Keeping people at least six feet apart is still the most frequently recommended precaution that employers can take. This often requires employers to adjust the working schedules, work locations, and other factors in the workplace. When it is not possible to be separated by six feet, employers can put up physical barriers made of plexiglass or other solid materials to keep employees safer.
- Face Masks – When working in a public area it is recommended that those who can wear face masks do so. These face coverings can help limit the spread of the virus in the particles emitted from coughing, sneezing, talking, or even just breathing.
- Frequent Cleaning – Cleaning the workplace more frequently than normal is another important safety precaution. This especially includes areas that are touched on a regular basis such as doorknobs, vending machines, railings, and more.
There is currently no timeframe on how long these types of precautions are likely to last. The medical experts are still working on coming up with the best treatment options, potential vaccines, learning how the virus will react to warmer summer temperatures, and much more. As experts learn more, they will continue to update employers about how to best protect their employees and customers.
- What are social distancing guidelines?
- What is the social distancing strategy?
- What are some basic protective measures against the new coronavirus?
- What policies can employers implement to enforce social distancing?
- What can I tell my employees about reducing the spread of COVID-19 at work?
- What do workplaces need to know about the Opening Up America Again Plan?
- How should workplaces implement exposure controls?
- What workplace safety concerns need to be addressed as employees return to work?