As the curve continues to flatten, workplaces all around the world are slowly reopening their on-site operations after months of remote working and shutdowns. Of course, the essential businesses remained open and fully operational throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. Healthcare facilities, grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, and banks, along with delivery services, continued their operations. These businesses provide excellent guidelines for the workplaces in different sectors that are reopening. This article will highlight how & what businesses should do to keep employees safe.
L.A. County Roadmap to Recovery
As per the L.A. County website, the business reopening will take place in stages. It will require observation of infection control and physical distancing practices. Although the curve continues to flatten, the risk of COVID-19 is still a threat. The virus can still cause damage, therefore following the safety standard operating procedures or SOPs should be the utmost priority. As L.A. County enters the first phase of recovery, the business owners, employees, and the general public must adhere to the safety practices and guidelines.
The residents of L.A. County need to come together and play their part in combating the spread of the virus. You can check the L.A. County website for details if you want to learn more about workplace-specific guidelines. The LA County website recommends that you observe the following guidelines to stay safe:
- Cover your face with a mask when leaving home.
- Thoroughly wash your hands during the day.
- Maintain a distance of six feet from people you don’t live with.
Now that the L.A. County administration has signaled the reopening of businesses, these practices are well worth considering to assure the safety of customers and employees. Although these guidelines are L.A. county-specific, other areas of the country may follow the same parameters. Different workplace environments have different levels of risk. Some are easier to control as compared to others, notably, in the instances where workers are in close proximity for extended periods and interact with each other, as well as the number of people they typically encounter in a day. Therefore, each management team has to make adjustments to safety measures to fit their specific operational environments.
Practices to Follow for Reopening Businesses in L.A. County
These safety measures are similar to the ones essential businesses had already implemented. These recommendations are a result of extensive studies and researches conducted by various companies. These practices will help the owners and managers in L.A. County to ensure safety as establishments reopen.
Before the businesses reopen their doors, management teams should educate their workers on the new safety practices, identify any at-risk individuals, and ensure that this transition goes safely.
- Shifting to Remote Operations
Remote operations greatly minimize the risk and thus should be adopted if possible. Making the services contactless, like the service introduced by some grocery stores for contactless pick-up. Leverage the available resources to switch to work modes that do not necessarily require on-site presence.
- On-Site Testing and Symptoms Assessment
Testing employees on site is a great way to ensure their safety, especially in areas where virus testing is available. In the regions where tests were not readily available, companies can use different types of symptom evaluations to screen potentially high-risk workers, to prohibit them from coming to work.
- Training the Employees
This practice is also necessary based on the success of essential businesses’ use of education and training to impart new habits among the workers and customers. These softer safety practices are critical for familiarizing the returning employees with the measures to ensure a safe workplace.
- Commuting to and from Workplace
Another aspect to take into consideration for employers is how their workers travel to and from work. New safety measures need to be introduced for access to and departure from the workplace. Some essential businesses are using organized transportation for their workers, as well as adjusting the working days to reduce their travel during peak hours.
- Temperature Checks
Many reopened workplaces are performing temperature checks for all workers and customers at the entrances. Some are posting staff at the entry to check temperatures with contactless infrared thermometers, while others have implemented automated temperature inspections.
- Avoid Crowding at Entry/Exit Points
Allowing staff and customers to enter and exit in waves reduces the overcrowding at the entrance and exit points. Companies have adopted this practice across China, as well as marts and markets in the United States. They have also placed decals to help customers stay six feet apart from each other, along with limiting the total number of people allowed inside an establishment.
- Sanitization Protocols
New sanitization protocols are necessary for business, like making disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers available for the customers at the entrance.
- Protective Equipment
Reopening business will also have to enforce the recommended personal protective measures strictly. Both employees and customers must adhere to the guidelines provided by the CDC and wear face masks.
As establishments gear to reopen their operations in L.A. County, priority should be given to ensuring the health and safety of workers and customers. Therefore, the recommended safety measures must be adhered to in spirit.