Return to work safely article

As businesses and venues begin to re-open across the country, it is important that business owners share their new, high-level safety measures with their employees and customers. An April 2020 survey (by Enigma Research) of 2000 participants showed the majority of people are ready to return to activities, particularly those with live entertainment and events. 75% of those surveyed said safety precautions would make them more likely to return within weeks of reopening.

By following CDC and OSHA guidelines, businesses can confidently reassure employees they will be returning to work in a safe, sanitized environment. Employee safety will give them the sense of security they need to greet and care for your customers when they visit.

Next, inform your customers that your employees’ health is paramount for their own well-being, their families, and you, the customer. Reassure customers that they will be protected through multiple precautions while interacting with your employees who are taking steps to keep customers safe as well.

All hard surfaces employees and customers come in contact with should be placed under a high level of scrutiny and thoroughly cleaned throughout the day. Items that are frequently touching by customers should be removed or provided through alternative means to ensure cleanliness. For example, self-serve items such as condiments or beverages should be wiped down between uses and handed to a customer only upon request, or they should be provided in individual serving sizes where practical, or prepared by an employee instead of self-service.

The CDC recommends employees not share work items such as computers, phones, desks, cash registers, and other equipment when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect such items before and after use. Employers should provide hand sanitizer and disposable wipes for employees.

Disinfectant products like the self-sanitizing coating made by RCP America, KOC-86, works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, killing viruses and bacteria for 6 months. Using KOC-86 means employees won’t have to worry about cleaning surfaces every time they’re touched, which can seem like an impossible task while trying to conduct business.

Proper distancing is important between customers and employees. The CDC recommends avoiding groups of 10 or larger, maintaining 6 feet of distance from others, and using face coverings in public when you can’t remain 6 feet away from others. Employers should consider visible markings, signs, and reminders for employees and customers to maintain these distances, as well as frequent hand washing, as a means of preventing the spread of the virus.

Employees should be reminded to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. If they feel sick or think they may have been exposed to someone with the COVID-19 virus, they should stay home. Business owners may want to offer sick pay to employees to encourage them to stay home when ill.

In addition to the above precautions, infection prevention policies and procedures may include:

  • Deep cleaning and sanitizing of facility by a professional cleaning service/product.
  • Hand sanitizer stations at the entrance, at check-in/check-out, near all workstations, in bathrooms, etc.
  • Removal of all magazines, brochures, and reusable items such as menus.
  • Staff members screening prior to every shift.
  • Staff members wearing masks and gloves where necessary.
  • Staff members receiving regular training to stay current with all CDC guidelines and updates.
  • Where appropriate, customers/guests should be screened by temperature prior to entry.

Employee and/or customer/patient COVID-19 screening questions:

  1. Do you have a new fever?
  2. Do you have a new cough that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
  3. Do you have shortness of breath that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
  4. Do you have a new sore throat that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
  5. Do you have any new muscle aches that you cannot attribute to another health condition and were not caused by a specific activity (such as physical exercise)?
  6. Do you reside with anyone who has tested positive for and/or been hospitalized with suspicion/confirmation of COVID-19?

As we all work to protect ourselves and our community from the spread of COVID-19, be prepared to change your standard business practices to meet guidelines and challenges that arise. By staying informed on updates, keeping your employees advised on all necessary protocols, and protecting your customers while they interact with you again, we can begin to recover at a steady pace.

~ Kim