What is recommended in Phase One of the federal guidance for reopening?

In the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, criteria are posed that states should meet—a downward trajectory of documented cases being one of them—before proceeding to Phase One.  For states and regions that satisfy that gating criteria for Phase One, the White House has outlined guidance for employers:

  • Encourage telework whenever feasible.
  • Return to work in phases, if possible, or consider staggering shifts.
  • Close common areas (lunch + break rooms) and enforce strict social distancing protocols.
  • Minimize non-essential travel.
  • Consider special accommodations for employees who may be at a higher risk.

Not all businesses are recommended to reopen in the first stage of the plan—places such as schools, organized youth activities, day cares, and bars are advised to stay closed. Places with larger venues like movie theaters, arenas, retail stores, and churches may open with strict distancing protocols in place. Federal guidance also suggests employers should follow recommendations to return workers to their jobs in phases.

For businesses opening their doors and resuming operations, it’s critical safety practices are put into place to provide a safe environment for employees, customers, visitors, and the community as a whole. Minimal safety precautions include providing a place for hand washing, the use of masks and/or gloves, and social distancing. For example, retail stores can keep customers at a healthy distance by installing floor marking dots at 6-foot intervals at the check-out stand. Additionally, businesses should conspicuously post warnings, hand washing guidelines, and social distances practices around the facility for both employees and visitors.

These guidelines were developed by the CDC and are not exclusive. Businesses should also defer to local and State regulators, public health officials, OSHA regulations, and other reliable sources before reopening.


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