Considerations for Reopening Your Business During Florida’s Phase One Order
With phase one of reopening Florida underway following Gov. Ron DeSantis’s executive order signed on April 29, 2020, businesses that were shut down for two months during the COVID-19 pandemic are slowly starting to reopen.
However, business owners need to understand that reopening a business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is not the same as reopening after a weekend. There are many things to consider when reopening your Florida business during phase one order.
- Encourage sick workers to stay home (employees with coronavirus symptoms should not return to work until after their healthcare provider allows them to end their quarantine and go back to work).
- Encourage high-risk employees and workers with childcare issues to continue working from home.
- Post safety signs in the workplace to instruct employees to practice social distancing, wash their hands properly, and other steps to ensure their safety and the safety of everyone else.
- Consider temperature checks for every employee before each shift. If a worker’s temperature is above 100.4°, they should be denied access and sent home.
- Educate human resources personnel on how to isolate and remove sick employees from the workplace.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees who are routinely exposed to customers, clients, visitors, and other people who enter the building or workplace.
- Require at least 6 feet between employees or install safety barriers where social distancing is not possible.
- Hire new workers or designate staff who will clean and disinfect all common areas throughout the day.
- Place alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes throughout the workplace, especially in high-touch areas such as near or inside the elevator and in the kitchen.
- Limit deliveries and outsiders, including customers, clients, and visitors.
- Hold internal meetings via videoconferencing and discourage in-person meetings.
- Limit the number of people in the elevator to no more than two persons.
- Discourage employees from using other workers’ desks, chairs, phones, and other equipment.
- Prop open doors in the workplace to prevent employees from touching doorknobs.
- Allow your workers to eat their lunch at their desks.
- Increase ventilation in the workplace and install good air filters.
- Remove some of the chairs in the conference and break rooms to enforce social distancing.
- Create alternating workdays to reduce the total number of employees in the workplace at a given time.
Some employees may be reluctant to return to work during phase one order due to COVID-19 fears or for any other reasons. Employers should listen and have a conversation with workers who do not want or cannot return to work. Also, employees raising concerns about workplace safety must be taken seriously.