On May 14, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) released a modified version of its previously withheld guidance on re-opening workplaces, schools, restaurants and bars, camps, child care programs, and mass transit systems during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC guidance appears in the form of checklists that serve as decision-making tools for businesses, school administrators, and others. In addition to the CDC’s guidance, it is important to check with state and local health officials to determine the most appropriate actions in your local community. Our previous alert describing an unpublished, comprehensive version of the CDC guidance can be found here.

Guidance for Workplaces

Before workplaces consider re-opening, they should ensure that:

  • Re-opening would be consistent with applicable state and local orders; and
  • The employer is ready to protect employees at higher risk for severe illness.

Next, workplaces should ensure that all of the following recommended health and safety actions are in place:

  • Promote healthy hygiene practices, such as hand washing and employees wearing a cloth face covering, where feasible;
  • Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation;
  • Encourage social distancing and enhance spacing between employees, including through physical barriers, changing the layout of workspaces, encouraging teleworking, closing or limiting access to communal spaces, staggering shifts and breaks, and limiting large events, when and where feasible;
  • Consider modifying travel and commuting practices. Promote telework for employees who do not live in the local area, if feasible; and
  • Train all employees on health and safety protocols.

If all recommended health and safety actions are in place, workplaces should then ensure that all of the following ongoing monitoring safeguards are in place:

  • Develop and implement procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees daily upon arrival, where feasible;
  • Encourage anyone who is sick to stay home;
  • Develop a plan in the event an employee becomes sick from the virus or is exhibiting symptoms;
  • Regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities and employees;
  • Monitor employee absences and have flexible leave policies and practices; and
  • Be ready to consult with the local health authorities if there are any cases in the facility or an increase in cases in the local area.

Once all recommended health and safety actions and all monitoring safeguards are in place, workplaces may re-open but should continue to monitor according to the established safeguards.

Summary of Guidance for Workplaces

Preliminary Considerations Health and Safety Actions

Monitoring Safeguards

·  Re-opening is consistent with state and local orders.

·  Ability to protect higher risk employees.

·  Promote healthy hygiene practices.

·  Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation.

·  Encourage social distancing and enhance spacing between employees.

·  Consider modifying travel/commuting; promote telework.

·  Train all employees on health and safety protocols.

·  Develop and implement screening procedures.

·  Encourage sick employees to stay home.

·  Develop a plan for employees who become sick.

·  Regularly communicate and monitor developments.

·  Monitor employee absences; have flexible leave policies.

·  Consult with local health authorities concerning COVID-19 cases

Guidance for K-12 Schools

Before schools consider re-opening, they should ensure that:

  • Re-opening would be consistent with applicable state and local orders;
  • The school is ready to protect children and employees at higher risk for severe illness; and
  • The school is able to screen students and employees upon arrival for symptoms and history of exposure.

Next, schools should ensure that all of the following recommended health and safety actions are in place:

  • Promote healthy hygiene practices, such as hand washing and employees wearing a cloth face covering, where feasible;
  • Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation;
  • Encourage social distancing through increased spacing, small groups, and limited mixing between groups, if feasible; and
  • Train all employees on health and safety protocols.

If all recommended health and safety actions are in place, schools should then ensure that all of the following ongoing monitoring safeguards are in place:

  • Develop and implement procedures to check for signs and symptoms of students and employees daily upon arrival, where feasible;
  • Encourage anyone who is sick to stay home;
  • Develop a plan in the event a student or employee becomes sick from the virus or is exhibiting symptoms;
  • Regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities, employees and families regarding cases, exposures, and updates to policies and procedures;
  • Monitor student and employee absences and have flexible leave policies and practices; and
  • Be ready to consult with the local health authorities if there are any cases in the facility or an increase in cases in the local area.

Once all recommended health and safety actions and all monitoring safeguards are in place, schools may re-open but should continue to monitor according to the established safeguards.

 

Summary of Guidance for Schools

Preliminary Considerations Health and Safety Actions

Monitoring Safeguards

·  Re-opening is consistent with state and local orders.

·  Ability to protect children and higher risk employees.

·  Ability to screen students and employees.

·  Promote healthy hygiene practices.

·  Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation.

·  Encourage social distancing

·  Train all employees on health and safety protocols.

·  Develop and implement screening procedures.

·  Encourage sick children and employees to stay home.

·  Develop a plan for children and employees who become sick.

·  Regularly communicate and monitor developments.

·  Monitor student and employee absences; have flexible leave policies.

·  Consult with local health authorities concerning COVID-19 cases

 

Guidance for Restaurants and Bars

Before restaurants and bars consider re-opening, they should ensure that:

  • Re-opening would be consistent with applicable state and local orders; and
  • They are ready to protect employees at higher risk for severe illness.

Next, restaurants and bars should ensure that all of the following recommended health and safety actions are in place:

  • Promote healthy hygiene practices, such as hand washing and employees wearing a cloth face covering, where feasible;
  • Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation;
  • Encourage social distancing and enhance spacing at establishments, including by encouraging drive-through, delivery, curb-side pickup, spacing of tables and stools, limiting party sizes and occupancy, avoiding self-serve stations, restricting employee shared spaces, and rotating or staggering shifts, if feasible; and
  • Train all employees on health and safety protocols.

If all recommended health and safety actions are in place, restaurants and bars should then ensure that all of the following ongoing monitoring safeguards are in place:

  • Develop and implement procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees daily upon arrival, where feasible;
  • Encourage anyone who is sick to stay home;
  • Develop a plan in the event an employee becomes sick from the virus or is exhibiting symptoms;
  • Regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities and employees;
  • Monitor employee absences and have flexible leave policies and practices; and
  • Be ready to consult with the local health authorities if there are any cases in the facility or an increase in cases in the local area.

Once all recommended health and safety actions and all monitoring safeguards are in place, restaurants and bars may re-open but should continue to monitor according to the established safeguards.

Summary of Guidance for Restaurants and Bars

Preliminary Considerations Health and Safety Actions

Monitoring Safeguards

·  Re-opening is consistent with state and local orders.

·  Ability to protect higher risk employees.

·  Promote healthy hygiene practices.

·  Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation.

·  Encourage social distancing and spacing at establishments

·  Consider modifying travel/commuting; promote telework.

·  Train all employees on health and safety protocols.

·  Develop and implement screening procedures.

·  Encourage sick employees to stay home.

·  Develop a plan for employees who become sick.

·  Regularly communicate and monitor developments.

·  Monitor employee absences; have flexible leave policies.

·  Consult with local health authorities concerning COVID-19 cases

Guidance for Other Institutions

The CDC provides similar guidance for re-opening camps, child care programs, and mass transit systems amid the pandemic. They also consist of: (1) considerations before re-opening; (2) recommended health and safety actions; and (3) ongoing monitoring safeguards.

 

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If you have any questions regarding this alert, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP