Reopening Guidance: What Health and Safety Measures to Have in Place
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States all across the country are starting to introduce return-to-work plans, which means you’re likely looking for reopening guidance. There are a number of things to take into consideration before welcoming back your staff and customers—no matter what industry you’re in. However, the most important one is the need for new health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within your facility.
Like most business owners and managers, you’re probably unsure about…
- What protocols to follow
- What plans to develop
- What tools to use
That’s why we wanted to offer some recommendations based on CDC guidelines, best practices, and the precautions we’re taking here at Erie Custom Signs.
Because when it comes down to it, ensuring the health and safety of those in your facility should be your top priority.
The Importance of Protecting Your Staff and Customers
Given how challenging the last few months have been, especially for nonessential businesses, many people are relieved that states are starting to lift restrictions. Chances are you’re also eager to get back to work and open your doors to customers.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that it won’t be business as usual. In fact, the way you do business for the rest of the year (and beyond) will look very different from what you’re used to. That’s because we’re all having to adapt to the “new normal.”
For starters, COVID-19 is still an issue. Until the threat of this virus is gone, you need to do your part to reduce the risk of exposure within your facility. This will likely mean…
- Restricting nonessential business travel
- Reopening at reduced capacity
- Taking the appropriate health and safety measures
Additionally, COVID-19 will no doubt have a lasting impact on the public. Even when the worst is behind us, people may still be worried about visiting your facility and doing business with you. To address these fears, you should avoid abandoning the precautions you’re taking now and instead adopt them as permanent policies.
If there’s one piece of reopening guidance you take away, it’s this: You need to go the extra mile to make sure your staff and customers feel safe.
What Health and Safety Measures Should You Put in Place?
It should be noted that specific reopening guidance may vary according to your industry and location. Before you move forward with reopening your business, it’s crucial that you check government websites for your city and state, as well as resources that have been released for businesses in your industry.
Further, you should also review the national plan, which features guidelines for employers to follow.
With that said, there are some general health and safety measures that you should implement at your facility.
Let’s dive in…
According to the CDC, normal routine cleaning can lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection. This is something you likely do already, but now is the time to develop a more comprehensive plan for carrying out your cleaning regimen.
What does this look like?
- Designating cleaning duties to staff members
- Marking down what time each space was cleaned
- Ensuring that frequently touched surfaces are disinfected immediately (including tactile signage)
- Providing staff with the proper cleaning supplies
- Making sure to dispose of trash and used cleaning supplies correctly
- Following handwashing procedures before and after cleaning
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Although PPE is typically used by those in certain industries, such as health care, more and more businesses are being encouraged to utilize it as well. There are several types of PPE, which means you’ll need to select the right ones for your needs. However, here are some recommendations…
Gloves – As mentioned previously, your staff members should have the proper supplies to carry out your cleaning regimen, and this includes gloves. Make sure that you have enough available so that they’re not being reused. Additionally, remind employees to avoid touching their faces when wearing gloves.
Face masks – Depending on where your facility is located, face masks may already be a requirement for all front-facing employees. If not, it’s still a new policy worth adopting at your own facility. Consider equipping your staff members with face coverings and providing them with instructions on proper usage.
Face shields – Although face masks keep the nose and mouth covered, they leave the eyes vulnerable. That’s why face shields are useful as an additional layer of face/eye protection. To keep those in your facility safe, it may be a good idea to purchase face shields for your staff.
Safety barriers – By installing safety barriers, you can prevent the exchange of respiratory droplets between staff members and customers. These are especially useful for areas of your facility where contact is likely to occur, such as front desks and checkouts.
Even with restrictions being lifted and businesses reopening, it’s important to limit face-to-face contact with others in your facility. This means keeping space between staff members and customers whenever possible.
Additionally, you should make it easy to enforce social distancing by…
- Reminding customers to stay 6 feet apart via signage or intercom announcements
- Placing stickers on the floor of your facility to direct traffic
- Rearranging the interior of your facility to make it easy to navigate
- Staggering staff lunch breaks to avoid congregations of large groups
Exposure Control Plan
While the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, it’s vital that you implement an exposure control plan as one of your health and safety measures. Doing so can help you limit additional risk to your staff and customers.
What does this look like?
- Encouraging employees to stay home if they’re sick
- Recommending testing if symptoms present
- Requiring infected staff members to self-quarantine
- Conducting a contact tracing assessment in your facility
- Reporting confirmed cases of COVID-19
Although you may be eager to get back to work, it’s essential that you follow the reopening guidance provided here, as well as specific guidelines for your location and industry. That way, you can put the proper health and safety measures in place to protect your staff, customers, and business.
If you need additional help to ensure you’re equipped to reopen, your friends at Erie Custom Signs are here for you! To view our selection of PPE, including safety barriers and face shields, visit our online store HERE.
For additional information about the virus and ways to stay safe, visit the CDC’s coronavirus page.