Client Alert: Is Your Business Ready to Reopen?
- Be familiar with applicable legal guidelines and requirements that impact workplace safety measures related to COVID-19 (coronavirus).
- Stay updated on additional guidance from federal, state, and local agencies.
- Consult with legal advisors about any circumstances specific to your business.
As state and local governments enter phases to permit businesses to reopen, businesses need to evaluate their readiness to reopen. State and local reopening guidelines and limitations differ depending on the type of business. Although businesses with direct customer contact have different considerations than businesses that do not, all businesses have employees about whom they need to be concerned. Therefore, to be ready to reopen, all businesses need to take certain actions in advance of reopening to safeguard the workplace, including the items set out below.
- Follow all CDC and public health guidance.
- For example, Restore Illinois has guidelines1 for different types of business, including offices, retail, personal care services, and other businesses.
- CDC and OSHA have jointly issued specific guidelines2 for many industries.
- Follow all relevant OSHA guidance.
- Prepare a COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness & Response Plan tailored to the specific workplace and workspaces. Revisit it regularly and update it as appropriate.
- The Plan should include relevant elements such as preventive guidance, housekeeping practices, health screening procedures, use of protective equipment, distancing guidelines, and an exposure response plan.
- Know when you must report cases of work-related coronavirus exposures to OSHA.
- Prepare a return to work plan and communicate it to employees.
- Include requirements such as health screening, hygiene in the workplace, use of masks or face coverings, and social distancing.
- Provide essential cleaning and sanitizing materials and establish cleaning procedures.
- Determine whether to implement a phased return to work based on essential functions and staffing needs.
- Address any employee concerns or issues related to returning to work, including transit and personal/family health issues.
- Post all required governmental posters, such as the FFCRA poster (for coronavirus-related paid leave).
- Consider company procedures or practices that need to be altered, such as scheduling, staggered lunch periods, or leave policies.
- Comply with all relevant anti-discrimination laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
We Can Help You
We have been on the forefront of dealing with COVID-19 for our clients. Please contact us if you would like to discuss reopening your business, including issues related to workplace transmission of the coronavirus or other employment matters impacted by COVID-19, or if we can otherwise be of assistance in any way.
We recommend you evaluate the following pandemic-related business and legal considerations that we have been discussing with our clients: