Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

May 20, 2020

Role of Businesses and Employers in Responding to COVID-19

Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 by following the White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. Business operation decisions should be based on both the level of disease transmission in the community and the ability to protect the safety and health of employees and customers. Employers are encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials to obtain timely, accurate information to inform appropriate responses, and the CDC has created guidance for mitigation strategies based on the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.

All employers should implement a plan that is specific to their workplace, and consider taking the following actions:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks
  • Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace
  • Immediately separate employees who appear to have symptoms upon arrival or become sick during the day
  • Have a procedure in place for the safe transport of an employee who becomes sick while at work
  • Take action if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection
  • Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations
  • Educate employees on steps they can take to protect themselves at work and home
  • Incentivize employees to use transportation that minimizes close contact with others, and allow them to shift their hours so they can commute during less busy times
  • Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact on the workplace
  • Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices
  • Protect employees at higher risk for severe illness through supportive policies and practices
  • Communicate supportive workplace policies clearly, frequently, and via multiple methods
  • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products
  • Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees
  • Establish policies and practices forsocial distancing 
  • Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system
  • Ensure the safety of your building water system and devices after a prolonged shutdown
  • Give employees, customers, and visitors the essentials needed to clean their hands and cover their coughs and sneezes
  • Perform routine cleaning based on CDC Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting, with enhanced procedures if a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 has been in the building
  • Limit travel and advise employees if they must travel to take additional precautions and preparations
  • Minimize risk to employees when planning meetings and gatherings

For more detailed guidance, please refer to the CDC Guidelines for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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