The Centers for Disease Control Releases Flow Chart Guidance for the Reopening of Various Business Sectors
On May 14th, the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) released guidance in the form of flow charts for schools, workplaces, restaurants and bars, youth programs and camps, child care programs, and mass transit systems. These flow charts consist of basis checklists for businesses that are considering reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. In each of the flow charts, the CDC lists certain conditions that should be in place before the business should consider reopening.
Much of the guidance is consistent with the promotion of healthy hygiene practices, such as hand washing, wearing face masks, increased frequency and intensity of cleaning practices, social distancing, and training employees on health and safety protocols.
Additionally, the ongoing monitoring recommendations for each sector is mostly consistent, including the recommendations that businesses develop and implement procedures to check for signs and symptoms of employees and other appropriate persons daily upon arrival, encourage anyone who is sick to stay home, plan for if employees get sick, regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities and employees regarding cases, exposures, and updates to policies and procedures, monitor absences and have flexible leave policies and practices, and prepare to consult with local health authorities if there are cases in the facility or the local area.
However, the flow charts provide other sector-specific guidance that businesses in such sectors should review before deciding to reopen. Businesses must remember that these CDC guidelines serve as best practices recommendations and that they must follow the laws, procedures and sequencing for reopening or continuing operations as set forth by the State of Connecticut.
Brief summaries and links to the flow charts for each sector are included as follows:
In addition to the recommended health and safety actions and ongoing monitoring procedures set forth above, the CDC recommends screening students as well as employees upon arrival for symptoms and history of exposure.
Examples of school-specific social distancing policies include increased spacing, small groups, and limited mixing between groups. Further, the CDC recommends regularly communicating and monitoring developments with families of students regarding cases, exposures, and updated to policies and procedures.
In addition to the recommended health and safety actions and ongoing monitoring procedures set forth above, the CDC recommends that employers encourage social distancing through physical barriers, changing the layout of workspaces, encouraging telework, closing or limiting access to communal spaces, staggering shifts and breaks, and limiting large events when possible. The CDC also recommends that workplaces consider modifying travel and commuting practices, such as promoting telework for employees who do not live in the local area.
In addition to the recommended health and safety actions and ongoing monitoring procedures set forth above, the CDC recommends that restaurants and bars encourage social distancing including by encouraging drive-through delivery, curb-side pick up, spacing of tables and stools, limiting party sizes and occupancy, avoiding self-service stations, restricting employee shared spaces, and rotating or staggering shifts when possible.
In order to reopen, these organizations must consider whether the state and local climate permits reopening and, if so, whether they have the capacity to protect employees and children at high risk as well as screen those groups upon arrival to the facility.
If the organization meets the reopening criteria, it must put in place health and safety actions such as healthy hygiene practices, cleaning and disinfection, and encouraging social distancing in order to maintain a safe environment.
The organization must also maintain ongoing monitoring of employees and children. This includes checking for symptoms, communicating with local authorities, and developing enhanced screening techniques.
These organizations must meet the same criteria as youth programs and camps. Some notable differences for child care organizations include social distancing during nap times, and limiting the sharing of toys or supplies. These organizations should also develop a pool of trained replacement caregivers in the event that an infection occurs.
These guidelines apply for bus transit operations, rail transit operations, transit maintenance workers, and transit station workers. In order to increase service, transit operators must consider whether doing so will be consistent with state and local orders and whether they can protect employees at higher risk for infection.
If increasing service is permitted, then transit operators must put in place health and safety safeguards, which include healthy hygiene practices, limiting routes to high transmission areas, and encouraging social distancing on transit systems.
Ongoing monitoring is also required. Employees should be screened daily, and transit operators should have plans in place for if an employee becomes infected. Flexible leave policies are encouraged.
This guidance may influence Connecticut’s approach and decisions regarding the circumstances under which such sectors should be permitted to reopen within the state. As the CDC guidance states, it will be important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.
If you have any questions or need assistance with COVID-19-related issues, please visit our Response Team webpage, where you can find our multi-disciplinary team of attorneys.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this material is not intended to be considered legal advice and should not be acted upon as such. Because of the generality of this material, the information provided may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without legal advice based on the specific factual circumstances.