The lifting of stay-at-home requirements and business shutdowns process is underway. Currently, it’s a patchwork quilt of openings, limited openings, and states still under stay-at-home rulings. Many governors have used the analogy that reopening will be more like a dimmer switch with gradations than an on/off switch. Most states are operating in phases, with business classes opening in stages.
This is new territory – we have never been here before so there are no explicit guidelines for employers or industry classes. Familiarize yourself and comply with your state and local guidelines for reopening businesses. Each state will vary, and in some cases, there will be different requirements even within the same state. There are numerous calculations and issues that each business will have to make and a variety of important issues to address. Is your business ready to open? Do you need to make physical modifications to keep staff and customers safe and to adhere to social distancing guidelines? Do you have safety and infection control measures and practices in place that will make your employees feel safe?
Your employees will require frequent communications and updates. Do you have an employee communication and notification plan in place? Will you bring all employees back to the workplace or will some continue working remotely? If the latter, how will you design a fair plan? How will you address their anxieties and fears? Will you check temperatures or conduct tests? What if an employee refuses to come back to work? Questions abound.
To help guide your planning and find answers to your questions, we’ve compiled resources and tools to help employers get the information they need with advice from experts on legal compliance, health, safety, and workforce management, along with resources to find state and federal regulations, tools, and guidance.
State resources on business openings
- US Chamber of Commerce: State-by-State Business Reopening Guidance find guidelines, timelines and other reopening information for employers.
- CDC: Links to State Departments of Health
- CNN: Complete list of every state health department’s coronavirus website
- HR Daily Advisor: COVID-19 Map and Resources for HR Professionals – interactive map updates current number of cases by state
- CNBC: Reopening America: A state-by-state breakdown of the status of coronavirus restrictions, – state-by-state listing, which will be periodically updated
- Employment Law firm Littler – a variety of resources on reopening, These state guides are updated frequently – check each post for the date of the most recent update.
- Employment Law firm Ogletree Deakins – a variety or invaluable and frequently updated resources, including:
- Husch Blackwell: A State-by-State COVID-19 Resource – COVID-19 rules, restrictions, orders and guidance that affect how and when businesses across the country can reopen their workplaces to employees, clients and customers.
Preparing to reopen
- Johns Hopkins – Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19 – The 3 parts of the Operational Toolkit include:1) An Instruction Manual – Instructions that explain how to complete the 4-stage Business Risk Worksheet and Assessment Calculator. 2) A Business Risk Worksheet – A 4-stage step-by-step worksheet for you to report and understand your business’s overall risk of spreading COVID-19 and how your business operations can be made safer. and 2) An Assessment Calculator – An Excel spreadsheet you will fill out to receive a calculated risk score and a modification score.
- Littler: COVID-19 Return to Work Initiative Return to Work Resources, Return to Work News & Analysis. in addition, on request, Littler offers upon request a suite of documents, guides, and charts, including: Return to work state requirements; Guidance on considerations for return to work conditions; Temperature screening toolkit; Sample hiring and recall information.
- Fisher Philips: 5 Steps To Reopen Your Workplace, According To CDC’s Latest Guidance – summary of CDC guidance covering: Preliminary questions to consider before reopening; Recommended safety actions; Safeguards for the ongoing monitoring of employees; Preparing your physical workspace for reopening; Maintaining vigilance
- Fisher Philips: BEYOND THE CURVE: Post-Pandemic Back-To-Business FAQs For Employers – This includes assessing business operations, bringing employees back to work, and ensuring a safe workplace. Even if these steps are further in the future for some employers than others, the time to begin thinking about these issues is now, because with these next steps comes a whole new set of labor and employment challenges.
- Husch Blackwell: Ten Initial Considerations for Businesses Returning to Work employers and businesses evaluating a return to work will face a complex patchwork of legal requirements and tricky practical considerations. In response, Husch Blackwell is launching a new series of Return-to-Work (RTW) articles that frame and present the key issues and explore the emerging best practices. True to our industry focus, many will be targeted to specific industries. This initial document gives all employers an overview of key issues at their broadest scope.
- Goodwin Law: Preparing For Re-Entry: Key Considerations For Returning Employees To The Workplace Amid The COVID-19 Crisis
- American Society of Safety Professionals – COVID-19: CDC Guidance on Returning to Work
- National Safety Council: Guidance for Employers: COVID-19 and the Workplace
- CDC/White House Guidelines for Opening up America Again – 20 page outline of steps for states, individuals and employers to take over three phases
- CDC: COVID-19 Businesses and Workplaces
- CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020 – Includes updated strategies and recommendations for employers responding to COVID-19, including those seeking to resume normal or phased business operations:Conducting daily health checks; Conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace; Encouraging employees to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace, if appropriate; Implementing policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace; Improving the building ventilation system; table outlining the engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that employers may use to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
- OSHA: 2019 Novel Coronavirus – Guidance for specific industries, control and prevention, medical information, hazards and more.
- OSHA: Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus
- EEOC: Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act
- EEOC: What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and the Coronavirus
- Littler: The Next Normal: A Littler Insight on Returning to Work – Recalling Furloughed Employees and the Rehire Proces
- Law.com: Reopening Checklist for Employers—The Fight for Survival
- Kaiser Health News: Looking For A Path To Reopen, Employers Weigh COVID Testing Of Workers
- Fisher Phillips: 4-Step Plan For Handling Confirmed COVID-19 Cases When Your Business Reopens
- Foley & Lardner:Best Practices When Implementing a Program for Taking Employee Temperatures During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- BenefitsPro: CFOs share top concerns about going back to “business as usual”
- Inc: The Reopening Challenge: 5 Tips for Getting Back to Business
- Risk Management: Lessons from China’s COVID-19 Recovery
- Compliance Week: Ten steps your business can take to mitigate coronavirus risks
Ongoing news, updates & resources
- US Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Live Blog– important news and updates related to the coronavirus outbreak for the business community.
- LexBlog: Coronavirus Legal Daily -Drawing on LexBlog’s more than 23,000 blogging lawyers and 1,000-plus publications, we curate and aggregate more than 50 posts each day.
- BenefitsPro: How the Coronavirus Affects HR, Benefits, and Retirement Professionals
- Coronavirus Law Blog – employment law attorney has expanded/converted his Ohis Employer’s Law Blog to employer updates on laws related to Coronavirus
- US Chamber of Commerce: Combating the Coronavirus – Resources, guides and webinars for small businesses.
- SHRM: Coronavirus Resources
- World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic