President Trump released Opening Up America Again, a framework to help states ease lockdown restrictions.
WH coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx unveiled a three-phase plan where “all vulnerable individuals” stay home and employees return to work gradually. To enter each phase, states have to meet "gating" thresholds that may be declining documented cases or a decreasing percentage of positive tests.
Public health officials, lawmakers, and business leaders are concerned the U.S. can’t test people at the scale necessary to responsibly send us back to work.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
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This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The outbreak first started in China, but the virus continues to spread internationally and in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as additional information becomes available.
The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.
To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19 infection. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed coronavirus infection. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. Updates are available on CDC’s web page.
Preparing Workplaces for a COVID-19 Outbreak
Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most American workers will likely experience low (caution) or medium exposure risk levels at their job or place of employment (see OSHA guidance for employers for more information about job risk classifications).
Businesses are strongly encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. CDC has guidance for mitigation strategies according to the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.
All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:
Reduce Transmission Among Employees
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work:
Separate sick employees:
Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19:
Maintain Healthy Business Operations
Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.
Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.
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, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from childcare programs and K-12 schools.
Consider establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Social distancing should be implemented if recommended by state and local health authorities. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (e.g., break-rooms and cafeterias).
Strategies that business could use include:
Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions.
Maintain a healthy work environment
Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include some or all of the following activities:
Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers, and worksite visitors:
Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection:
Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility:
Advise employees before traveling to take additional preparations:
Take care when attending meetings and gatherings:
Resources for more information:
Other Federal Agencies and Partners